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Monday, August 11, 2014

I am Vinayak Surve, a Veterinarian from Mumbai. My childhood and teenage life is spent in Sahyadri, Konkan region, Ratnagiri District of Maharashtra. Naturally, I have some experience of crossing hills, rivers, forest and different challenging trails.
10511224_10152300048143806_1838582536680786333_nPreparations:
Thought about going to Kaurava Kunda trek was exciting to me because it was my first trek with experienced trekking group where I was supposed to meet new friends with great interest in trekking. I received an email from Patrick (organizer) and rushed to buy trekking tools and gears like wind jacket, sleeping bag, torch, snacks, etc. Sharing this pre-trekking excitement was great fun with friends, family, colleagues and everyone whom I met during that week.

Monday, June 30, 2014



Not sure how many leeches have bitten me and not sure where and all it attacked. Certainly it was one of my most difficult monsoon treks as of now. The rain, wind, steep ascend and the leeches made it tough, for all my buddies. Did many treks earlier in monsoon, however this was the one where I got leech bites all over my body. You might be thinking introduction itself is started from leeches! Of course during the course of the two days, everyone was more concerned about the leeches.
Nishani Motte / Betta is relatively unknown peak in the range of Bhagamandala (Talacauvery) range, Coorg. The trek distance from the base point Talacauvery is around 14 to 15 kilometers. We can enjoy the 360 degree panorama view, which is wonderful and most beautiful. Layers of the hills covered with clouds and mist is awesome. We can spot the villages, across the Kerala border, if the view is clear.

Our planned trek route was:
1st Day: Talacauvery to Nishani Motte (Betta) – Night Camp at APC
2nd Day: APC – Kurudi – Bhagamandala

27.06.2014
We started our journey with 21trek friends, at 10.45pm from Shanthala Silks, in a mini bus. Many known faces and few were new. This was my first trek with Vinay who organized this event. The journey was pleasant and reached the Bhagamandala around 6 am.

28.06.2014
Before this, I had been at Bhagamandala, thrice. Each time the weather was pleasant, greenery everywhere and had seen the entire range flooded with small falls. The Triveni Sangama was in full flow each time. Unfortunately, this time I was disappointed; understood from a local that, since a week, there was no rain in this range. 
2_Sangama
After getting freshened up in the morning, took Sri Bhagandeshwara Swamy darshanam and headed to have breakfast at a nearby hotel. Packed pulav for lunch and had idly-vada for breakfast. Meantime Vinay purchased the grocery items, for the preparation of the day’s dinner and the next day’s breakfast. Our guide Jayaprakash & his colleague (another forest official) joined us and we finished the necessary formalities for the trek, at the Bhagamandala Forest Office.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

1 It was my first trek with Bangalore ASCENDers (BASC), I was so excited about the event and I called Vinay many times to know the details about the trek. Common meeting point was at Jayanagar 4th block near Jain Temple, we gathered at 7.30 PM but started journey by 8.30 PM. 
IMG_8254-SMILESince we all were hungry we decided to have food on the way, so we went to Kamath hotel and finished food and started journey by 10.30 PM.
There were 3 cars, I was in Promod’s car, Kunal and Sathish were accompanying along with me and we started our journey towards Kabbal-durga. It was a great journey, in-between Pramod was cracking nice jokes.

Monday, April 21, 2014

BASC completed its first cleanup drive in Kumaraparvatha (KP) on the occasion of its 5th B'Day. A big THANKS to all the participants (Satya, Sandeep, Anitha, Vinuthna, Ramkumar, Govind, Ram roop, Sreedhar, Srikanth, Kamal & Skanda) for the hard work done in collecting garbage and taking it back to Kukke. Team work made BASC's first clean-up drive a successful event. Also thanks to driver, Chetan & his friend Lokesh for joining us in cleanup drive. We collected 22 bags of garbage!!! And same we took back to Bangalore and dumped in plastic recycle plant near Nayandahalli. Thanks to plant owner Selva who waited for us till 11:15PM.

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Write-up from Sandeep Kulkarni:

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Let me breakdown my post event write up into two parts.

1. One about the cleanup drive and creating awareness

2. General Event write up.

1. Cleanup drive and creating awareness.

I never imagined a cleanup drive would be so much fun. As a team we got to undo at least some of the mess, which some people had left behind. We could not completely wipe out the man made hazardous materials, but it was a great attempt though.

If more and more individuals come together and work together we not only can make Kumaraparvata litter free but also create a basic awareness amongst all those nature lovers who come to Kumaraparvata, to be more responsible. (Applies to other places too). A big round of thanks to the entire team who stood united during the whole event. Also a special thanks to our driver Chetan and spotter Lokesh, who voluntarily participated in the cleanup event and also helped us to bring back the wastage to Bangalore.

Thanks to Ambareesh Karanth for short listing me for this event.

2. General Event write up

No sooner I saw the registrations open for BASC Kumaraparvata clean up drive, event. I registered. I was looking forward for the clean up activity but prior to the trek my main motivation was to reach the peak. (Nothing to hide though). We did not reach the peak, but in the end and I came out as a proud and happy man after making some contribution during this event.

It all started on a Friday late evening 18th April at 10PM where we assembled for our pickup. Amongst the whole team, I only knew Ram Roop as I had met him during the Hampi photography event. Around 10:20PM odd, our vehicle arrived. Surprisingly we could see a driver and along side him was another person, you can call him navigator/spotter/cleaner. Let me tell you these two people not only accompanied us to Kukke but also till Bhattara Mane, involving in the cleanup activity all the way. It was like having two extra pair of hands and indeed a pleasant surprise. Believe me it helped a lot too!

Others in the group comprised of Ram Kumar, Govind, Ambareesh, Satya, Skanda, Kamal, Dr Srikant, Sridhar, Anita and Vinutna. Chetan was the driver and Lokesh was his friend accompanying him. It was a regular drive on Mangalore highway where heavy rains greeted us after Kunigal. For few minutes it was rain, rain and more rain. Eventually, after around 25-30 minutes of time, it stopped to rain. We had couple of breaks during the journey, one initially, just after the 60 kilometer toll road ends and the other one somewhere near Sakaleshpura. We made it to Kukke around 4 20 AM. The van was parked next to the Kumaradhara river. We got freshened up in a while and around 6 10 AM we started towards Kukke. We had breakfast at the hotel opposite to Neo Mysore Cafe. We filled our water bottles were about to start for the trek.

There was a change in plan. Initially we thought, all would go to the peak and camp. But since it was raining in Kukke since 4 days, we thought of reaching the peak and coming back to Bhattaramane. Chetan and Lokesh told, they would accompany us along the trek. Ambareesh split the entire team of 12 + 2 into two.

1_Start

First Team which would trek fast and reach the peak and start cleaning from the Kumaraparvata peak. 

Second Team which would start cleanup activity right from ground zero, I mean from the (main road) entrance till Bhattaramane.

2_StrategyIt was 7 AM i think when we started. Being part of the first team, I felt good, I thought I could trek fast and cover good distance and start cleanup at the peak. The team comprised of Govind, Ram Kumar, Ram Roop, Satya, Skanda, myself and Sridhar. We stayed together at a good speed till Bheemana Bande after which Sridhar and myself were behind by 5 minutes than the rest of the team. We did not do any cleanup on the way and our only intention was to reach Bhattaramane quick. Then dump extra luggage and start cleaning from over there. The first team (except me and Sridhar) reached Bhattaramane around 8 40AM. I was behind by 10-12 minutes owing to my cramps and Sridhar was behind me by 3 minutes or so. But the good thing was I walked alone. So much serenity, so much silence, nature at its best, cannot ask for more. The humidity was there, but that was sidelined. When I reached Bhattaramane, Ram and others were ready to make a move. I too immediately reduced my baggage weight by unloading some of the stuffs at Bhattaramane. Meanwhile Sridhar too came. All of us then made a move towards the forest check post, and Sridhar caught up with us over there.  5_CleanupThis was the first time, I was making a move from Bhattaramane this early and that too without lunch. For a minute I was wondering whether, not having food would make a difference. But it did not. It indeed was a time saver. We reached the first view point and started picking litter over there. Then towards second view point and slowly we gathered litter all along the way till Kallu Mantap water source. It was 11 45 AM I guess. We had covered whole lot of ground and also reached Mantap pretty quick.   6_CleanupRam and Govind decided we would finish snacks/food and then start once again with the cleanup. So we took a break near the Kallu mantap water source and after 20 minutes we were back again. Dividing ourselves into different teams, we scouted the area around the water source for 1.5 hours more. We ended up with 4 full bags of waste. Govind's bag was a huge one more than 7 kilos. While me and Sridhar took a break near the water source, Ram, Govind and others made a move to the Kallu mantap, to put up banners asking nature lovers to keep KP clean.7_Cleanup

4_KalluMantapAt 1 40PM, we took a call, not to move towards the peak, due to many reasons. One being time constraint. It would be difficult to reach peak, do a cleanup and then bring back waste, before it turns dark. And we did not have torches too.

Second being chances of rain. If it rains, its really difficult to manage, since few of us were carrying lot of luggage. So we headed right back to Bhattaramane. Initially I was disappointed that, I could not reach the peak. But, yeah, reaching peak was never the event's priority. It was cleanup. 6_LuggageGetting down was a bit tough, the way was packed with stones. Ram, Govind, Satya, Sridhar each carried one fully loaded bag containing plastic waste. Me and Skanda initially managed to share the load by carrying the bag using a stick, with each one holding one end. But it was difficult and needed synchronization. The moment Skanda took the bag by himself, he rocketed. Meanwhile Ram and Govind too were ahead of us. So it was 4 of us behind, Ram, Satya, Sridhar and me. After certain distance, Ram took up Satya’s bag and me took Sridhar's bag. We finally made it to forest check post at around 4 50 PM or something.

Ambareesh and others were about to enter the forest, looking out for us, if we needed any help to get the waste bags back. Now the whole team came back to Bhattaramane. We freshened up and it was a pleasant surprise to see, lunch was still available. Food felt really good after this cleanup exercise. Ate till my stomach was full and took couple of minutes to rest. 1_View1Ram Roop went towards view point 1 to take some pictures and rest of the crew headed to a nearby view point. Evening dinner was served at 8PM. Then it was sleep time. We woke up early. Everyone was now focused on how to get the bags down and also collect the waste bags which had been gathered by Team 2 along the way. Yes Team 2 had worked pretty hard to gather stuffs along the way to Bhattaramane. In the process they had accumulated the litter at certain points, which needed to be picked up along the way down.

9_GroupPic

1_PlacardStarted early, Satya, took one waste gunny bag and headed first then, Ram Kumar and Ram Roop headed with their gunny bags too followed by Govind and Ambareesh. Skanda managed to take Govind's backpack along with his and Kamal took Ram Kumar's and one more backpack with him . Vinuthna took Satya's backpack along with hers, I had my backpack and one gunny bag with me. Anita, Vinuthna , Dr Srikant, Sridhar, Chetan and Lokesh were the one's who were looking out for waste and litter along the way. Rest of them, had loaded and sealed bags, hence proceeded right with the descent.

As usual, I was the slowest during the descent, but right after Bhattaramane, where we encounter a major dustbin, Govind, Ambareesh, Anita, Sridhar, Dr Srikant, stayed back segregating the waste from the dustbin and picking plastic ones. Now I got a chance to move ahead. Meanwhile Skanda too started looking out for litter along the way. On the way, I then caught up with Ram Kumar and Kamal who were taking a breather. Then I caught up with Vinuthna, Lokesh and Chetan. Their tally of bags had almost doubled. Together between them they now had 6 plastic bags hanging by a big wooden stick plus their backpacks. Later I took a break when some of the guys moved ahead. Meanwhile, Ram Roop and Satya had made it to the main road ,and Satya was back again, to take few more bags. Eventually the whole team was back to the entrance by 10 15 AM.

Ram Kumar, Chetan and Lokesh went ahead to bring the vehicle near the entrance so that we could load the bags right up over here. A family who noticed and appreciated what we were doing, agreed to drop Ram Kumar, Chetan and Lokesh to the place where our TT was parked. Indeed thanks to them. One more team from Mangalore comprising of 4-5 guys lent us their entire nylon thread which we used to tie up few bags. Thanks to you too guys. But we could only load few of the bags since there was a electric wire, which would come in contact with the bags. So with few bags loaded we headed towards Kumaradhara river where we found shelter under a tree and loads of time to tie up the bags on top of the van. All the huge bags were now bundled into medium size gunny bags and the total tally went up to 22 bags. Chetan and Govind did a tremendous job in loading the bags on the van and later all of us made it to the Kumaradhara river to take a dip. The water was warm and it felt good. The cleanup activity was a success. We felt refreshed and then we moved to the same hotel where we had our breakfast.

9_wastes

8_Wastes

Completed our lunch and were off by 3 30 PM. With couple of breaks in between we made it to Nelamangala by 9 30 PM. We could make it to Nayandahalli by 11 PM after dropping few of them at Shantala Silks. I got down at Nayandahalli, where the van proceeded to a recycler.

So two days of sheer fun & hard work came to a close. 

Things to take away.

> Loads of time spent amidst nature.

> Tremendous team work.

> Doing our bit, in keeping KP clean.

> Meeting interesting & like-minded people.

> Dip in Kumaradhara

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Write-up from Ram Roop

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On the weekend before Earth Day ( 22nd April ) 12 enthusiastic members from BASC embarked on an ambitious and noble cause of removing the non bio-degradable waste ( plastics bottles , covers etc ) from the beautiful Kumara Parvatha .

We arrived at Kukke at 4:30 AM on Saturday 19/April/2014 and after having a heavy breakfast we split-up into two teams comprising of 7 members. I was part of the team comprising of Ramkumar , Govind , Skanda , Satya, Srikanth and Sandeep and our task was to clean up the region starting from Bhattru Mane to the peak.

We started our trek at 7:00AM and our staggering pace ensured that we reached Bhattru Mane at 8:40 AM .  From Bhattru Mane we went to the office of the forest guard. The officer there was pleased to hear about the brilliant initiative by Bangalore Ascenders and even offered to help us by requesting his sub-ordinate to assist us with disposing the garbage.

3_Cleanup

As we trekked towards the Kallu Mantapa it was clear that we will have an extremely difficult task of clearing the massive garbage left behind. After filling multiple bags of garbage it was clear that it would not be feasible to trek beyond Kallu Mantapa and go towards the peak owing to time constraints.

After collecting all the garbage around Kallu Mantapa we headed back to Bhatru Mane . A few of us felt adventurous and slept at the breathtaking view point - “Raja Seat” . Even though most of us had sleeping bags we were forced to use a tarpaulin sheet as a bed sheet owing to the intermittent rain fall.

The next day ( Sunday 20/April/2014 ) we left Bhattru Mane at 8:10Am as we knew that our descend will be extremely slow as each of us had to carry a garbage bag in addition to our trekking bag. After reaching the base of the mountain we tied the garbage bags to the top of our Tempo Traveller and cooled ourselves in a nearby lake. Next we ate a sumptuous lunch and headed back to Bangalore.

1_Garbage

Wanna know about the trash we found at KP? … keep reading ( order - most expected to the least expected )

·         Cigarette packets

·         Potato chips packets / Chocolate wrappers

·         Water bottles

·         Alcohol bottles

·         Shoes

·         A dominos pizza box + the seasoning, etc.

Each of us had a great experience at KP and we are happy that we removed as much garbage as possible from the beautiful peak .

The task of having a clean and green Kumara Parvatha will be tough and each of us realize that this initiative should be repeated multiple times to achieve that goal , but “ A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step “ , and I am glad that Bangalore Ascenders ( special thanks to Ambareesh for organizing the event ) have taken the initiative to kick start “project KP” ( taking the liberty to give the initiative a name ).

I would like to thank Ambareesh Karanth for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a great initiative and I would also like to thank all the participants for having made this a memorable experience.Until next time , Happy trekking

Join Bangalore ASCENDers @ CLICK HERE

Date: 19 & 20 April 2014

Composed by: Sandeep Kulkarni

Event organized by: Ambareesh Karanth

Image Gallery:

Dr Srikanth, Sandeep Kulkarni, Ram Roop

The team : Ambareesh Karanth, Govind Gorur, RamKumar UN, Satya Prakash Panigrahi, Ram Roop, Skanda S, Anitha MS, Vinuthna, Dr Srikanth K, Sridhar Thyagarajan, Sandeep Srinivas Kulkarni, Chetan, Lokesh

Sunday, April 20, 2014

All right! Here goes my first write-up for Bangalore Ascenders. It had been a while since I did a night trek, so even a short one of a couple of hours held the excitement in me. Darkness has it’s own light: something which many people forget! But the more important excuse was it was the birthday of BASC.

So the evening of 19th April found a group of “not-complete-strangers” and “we-all-love-BASC” standing outside the KSRTC Mysore Satellite Bus Stand. Once we all had gathered, we started out for the trek without much ado. Midway, we decided to grab a bite and we stopped at the way-side restaurant. After much discussion over the dinner (read: I was discussing with my tummy whether a south meal or a north meal would be right), I chose the wrong one: the north meal, and realized this, the moment the south meals were served. Well no harm done. They say hunger is the best sauce, and it always is true.

Once the dinner was done, and I had tucked away my usual “Orbit – Lime flavored” strip in my arm pouch we were raring to go. In our car (piloted by Ravindra), we had a good time, discussing wildlife, cycling and Bangalore roads! And soon we had reached the village from where our trek was supposed to start.

After a couple and a bit more kilometers in the dark, a few wrong turns, and spotting black scorpions (the poisonous kind) we were on the right trail. For both me and Ravindra, the steep initial climb meant that we had to put our cameras back in our back packs. Then once the initial trail was covered, me and Akshatha fell behind, to stay a bit farther away from the torch lights. I tell you, darkness has its own light. The hills and the valleys in between looked so beautifully still in the light of the night. The sky was cloudy, hence all the stars were hidden above their generous cover. Slowly we climbed the trail, me making sure that I sweep the group (it was then that I realized that I take lead only when it is a completely unknown trail, the joy of finding untouched and un-trodden paths are a sheer joy).3_CampFire
Collecting some twigs for the fire, we started climbing up slowly. By the time we reached to the top, the folks had already settled down and were getting ready for the camp fire! And it was the sight at the top that always takes your breath away. On one side, were the city lights, and on the other, was the mask of perpetual darkness. Far on the eastern side, we could see small lights on the hills: signs of civilization. And on the west was the shades of dark. And amongst us were friends who shared the

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bangalore ASCENDers (BASC) completed 5th year on 17th April 2014. We like to thank all 30+ Organisers and 4850+ members for their support in BASC success.

In 5th year BASC completed 103 (10%) events organised by 26 (18%) Organisers taking 1478 (7%) members. Also 1264 (6%) members joined last year. And you guys won’t believe, total expenditure from all 103 events is Rs.21,98,283! yes 22 lakh rupees!!!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

This was my 7th Bangalore ASCENDers (BASC) trek and I have met Patrick in 4 out of those 7 treks. This was my first difficult trek but being with Patrick I was chilled out about it.
2For me the trek really started when I was woken out of my sleep at 5AM in KSRTC bus. Within few minutes we were off the bus and marching in dark terrain guided by Patrick's GPS and our torch lights. It seemed as if a bison or elephant might be lurking at any corner to pounce upon us. That set the theme for rest of the trek.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Confusion, commotion, sense of urgency filled the air at Bangalore railway station.. It was 9.00PM. All excited I was rushing towards platform no 9, under bridge, to meet fellow BASC members to embark on our two day trek to Koosali Falls.
A few familiar faces & lot many faces yet to be familiarized, it was to be a really exciting trek. As the Customary “HI, hello, what’s your name “were exchanged we waited for the train to arrive .We had a loooonnnngggg train journey to make           (11 hr’s)!!!
Somehow the 11 hrs.’ journey didn’t seem as bad as it sounded the previous night, all thanks to the BASC community, it’s never a dull moment in this high-spirited group :)
10005899_10152282466361291_1805150945_oIt was 11 AM the next day and the train came to halt at Mookambika station, the place where we were supposed to get off the train. This was the time when we actually got to see the entire group.

IMG_9715