The privilege to get drenched in the first rain of the year at the beautiful backdrop of the waterfall is something you will cherish for your life............not to mention the thrill of diving into crystal clear pools......all this and more at the onset of Summer, woah, what a life!!!!!....
Day 1--The onset:
All set for the Friday 25th night with 20 wandering souls to hit a few waterfalls in the western Ghats. All were in by 10:40 pm, including the bus!!!!!. It was a 21 seater and thanks to the organizers, it had ample amount of leg room, and I am 5' 10" tall, hence I know the value of it :) Started off with a bang and in no time team slipped into deep sleep with a few sudden wake ups due to bad stretches on the Mangalore Highway. No movies no music though, but the team had high spirits. We reached Donigal by 5:00 am where we had a coffee break for a few mins. The cab driver made us reach the start point exactly at 6:15 am. All geared up for the conquer walk to Kannikai waterfall.
Pit Stop 1:
We started off by 6:45 am, and an hour plus of walking, we spotted our first pit stop. Time to freshen up buddies!!! and of course the time for the morning divine tasks. Tantalizing clear water could not stop me and another fellow (kanta) to take a dip also before having hot cup noodles and bread jam for the breakfast. We spent around one a half hour eating and chatting.
Pit Stop 2:
When we started off ba ck it was 9:30 am. Again its a walk which is blessed with greenery around, empty and partially filled water streams along the way until we reached the second pit stop where we are privileged to play in water for more than an hour as the target to reach the falls was to be by 2 pm. The view of shallow water bodies with water slowly flowing through, morning sun rays and surrounding greenery was just mesmerizing. We spent around one and a half hour playing around in water, a few people preferred to sit and enjoy flowing stream, and others clicking photographs. Few guys had the so called 'stream massage'!!!!. We had our lunch here itself.
Back on track by 12:30 pm, headed to Kannikai Waterfall, our final destination. We were welcomed with route where we had trees fallen across, detours due to blockage etc, all was just a part of the trek as usual, however, the landscape was changing its colors from green to brown to ashes and again to green depending on the kind of vegetation and probable forest fire. We reached the Waterfall point after a brief steep decent by 1:15 pm. A few clicks, screams and a brief discussion on the camping, its time to get our souls wet in the pool formed by the waterfall!!!. This is the first time in my life that I dared to get into unknown waters, thanks to Prabhakar and Kanta who always been supportive promising to save me if i drown ;) I could swim comfortably across the pool multiple times!!!!!. A few guys namely Reddy, Prabha, Girish tried to do dives, got too close to the falls and stuff, hardcore swimming stuff you know :).....even Sandeep tried to swim with lifejacket on, that's the spirit!!!. The roar of the fall was the best luluby for us to fall asleep for a while before starting off all over again!!!. Till 5:30pm, it was all swimming, diving and photography sessions. There was another team of trekkers who took 11 hours to reach the falls following the stream literally!!!!. They also decided to camp with us.
An evening to remember:
We had nice soup (I had soup with noodles, remixing things is in my blood :), and it works all the time) courtesy Girish/Prabha/Kanta/Sandeep, and that too two servings for the lucky ones at around 6:30 pm and it started to get darker. We had our camp fire up and water was ready to heat up MTRs again.
The First Rain:
We finished our dinner by 8:00 pm. Just before we could say its time to sleep off, someone pointed that there was a lightening, then it all started. In no time, all of us were under our sleeping mats holding onto our bags and it rained for almost 45 mins heavily. Thanks to the souring heat in the noon that the rocks were literally steaming after the rain and the water got dried off real quick. Most of the people now had wet sleeping bags, wet bags/jackets/pants/tees/socks and a few were just drenched. Somehow, we could gather the things up to sleep, however, the rain god threatened us for a min or so but no harm done, thank GOD!!!!. All went down by 9:30 pm, and after a few hours, it was spine chilling cold that forced me to get into my sleeping bag to get a few hours of good sleep. The same thing with a few others too who were precautious. A few people got up in the wee hours to set the camp fire up again and kept it alive till morning too. Thanks to all the team members who did that.
Day 2-- The morning:
It was 5:30 am when I dared to check the time but all were just down!!!. One shout that its 5:30, good morning wishes were exchanged in no time!!. All packed up in no time and we started off by 6:45 am. Its Sunday, after the first rain of the year, a wakeup to see mist at the faraway mountain wishing us good morning!!! Today it was told to be a quick paced trek and the target was to reach the main road by 9:30. However, we had to take a break at the second pit stop to have breakfast and a dip again :), and with all that, it was 10:15 am when we reached the start point.
We started off to the second waterfall - Ermayee Falls. Since all were tired and hugry and the clock was ticking fast, we thought it would be good to have lunch before we hit the second waterfall ( Ermayee waterfall). Ujire was the stop and Hotel Kamadhenu was the place, for 20 bucks , it was a brief meal and Sanjeera, a special sweet which resembles our Kai Holige ( a sweet made up of maida and coconut powder with sugar/jaggery) was quickly gulped by the team and we were off to Ermayee waterfall route. It is hardly 12 kms from Ujire. We had to get assistance of locals to figure out the route. We reached Kaajooru by 1 pm. There went a discussion on whether to hit the falls or to avoid any further complications as we were not sure of the distance from the start point to the falls, but the team spirit overcame all that and a few guys including me started off after getting a few hints from the locals. It was really a short walk crossing a stream and a short forest trail of around 2 kms to reach the falls and let me tell you its worth each breath you took to reach there!!!!. The view was just mind boggling. The fall is a typical two storeyed one with a big pond at the first step which is a rock pond and second one at the base level. I dared again to swim to the bottom of the waterfall and I will be thankful for the people who have taken the snaps of we 5 guys ( me, prabha, reddy, girish and kanta) having gala time at the waterfall base!!!!. It will be too difficult to reach this point in rainy season as you will have to cross a roaring stream, a small stream as well as a steep decent to reach the fall, probably may have to walk along the stream for a while too :) .
Home sweet Home:
We started off back to Bangalore by 2:45 pm. A few team members who were exploring the capabilit ies of their mobiles for accurate GPS navigation kept the environment alive. We had a coffee break at Donigal and reached Bangalore by 10:00 pm. The only sad part of the trek was Mudassar not keeping well and frequently vomiting whatever he drank / ate. It continued for both the days. Hope he gets well soon. No causalities whatsoever and it was a perfect trek to rejoice!!!!.