A secret place, hidden from Google maps,
A damned terrain filled with unknown traps.
Trudging along, pushing our luck,
Hitching a ride along the highway truck,
To conquer a territory unknown, by walk or crawl,
Just to be in lap of nature’s shrouded falls….
Well, these lines were just a trailer of this wonderful expedition trek.
Full picture…here we go —
Day one -
We were all supposed to assemble at Majestic KSRTC bus stand platform number 2..for the Belgaum-bound bus at 7:30. Blame my over enthusiasm or the wonderfully traffic free Friday evening roads, I reached the aforementioned place at….6:20!!So for this trek I had earned the sobriquet, ’six twenty’!!!By 8 all of us had arrived(yes, I had spent around 1 and a half hours by swatting flies, staring at my watch, munching junk and reading paper!). A round of informal intros later we found ourselves in the Belgaum bound bus. Some of us had packed idlis and tomato rice bath. While chomping and chit chatting, the bus steadily made its way out the hustling city traffic, to the quiet emptiness of the national highways, and after 6 hours of wandering off into la-la land later, we had reached Belgaum. After freshening up in the morning, we hopped onto the Tata Ace to reach the start point. I sat in the driver’s seat along with Kamlesh to soak in the experience of chit-chatting with the driver in my broken Marathi :P.The road was very smooth, pot hole free one with landscapes alternating between grassland types to marshy, to dense forests. On the way we stopped at a petrol bunk to buy a litre of petrol which will be useful for the campfire and to prevent animal attacks. We saw the river Mahadayi on the way.The road had become little steep and the Ace was grunting and sputtering to carry the weight of 10 trekkers and the driver, not to mention our huge bags. Along the way we had breakfast of idlis which were pre-packed. Anyways, we reached the intended destination after 70 km and 1 and half hour of scenic ride. No sooner than we reached the resort, out came Patrick’s trusty GPS device and we started our trek. The owners of the resort, resisted our entry, terming it as private property and citing security concerns. So we had to return and start from another alternate route.
The forest was quite dense from the start itself, it was so quiet that you could hear the far-away falls gurgling combined with sound of flies, crickets and vipers….yes viper!!!.A baby viper was nonchalantly slithering its way up a nearby bush. Out came Satya and Selvi’s snappers. The viper now aware of our presence was visibly disturbed as was just about to strike. If it wasn’t for Patrick’s timely warning the viper probably would have had its way :P. After this minor adventure we continued ploughing our way into the dense forest, using ‘aruvals’(scythe), fortunately, there weren’t any leeches on our body till now, though there were plenty on the bushes…may be they had a ‘bad blood’ with us(pun intented)!!. The weather was extremely hot and humid, rapidly sapping our energy. After clambering down innumerous boulders, a brief encounter with another black and white snake, walking along the stream banks, we reached the base of the Viridi falls at around 1 PM. Left our bags there and marched on towards the falls. Approach path to the falls was a bit tricky. Streams of water along flanked by marshy banks and a dense forest and boulders to boot! Steadily we made our way to the falls, out came the snappers again to capture its beauty. A magnificent 3 tiered falls with a lazy pool formation at the second tier.The beauty of the water fall was stunning.Its a 200 meter water fall. It was surely a sight to behold. We weren’t allowed to have a dip in the falls as it could have been risky. Made our way back and had the prepacked lunch of delicious poha..yeah anything will taste like heaven when you are tired and as ravenous as a Wolverine…:P. After a well-deserved, rest we continued our way top. The forest was getting very dense, our clothes and bags were at the mercy of thorns and the elements. Sunlight was hardly reaching the ground and as time passed by, it was getting more and more dark. We had to stop every 5 metres to chop the foliage, vines and literally had to create a path. After almost 2 hours of pointless struggle and no clear flat surface in sight, we decided to retreat. By this time Patricks bag was in shreds because of the arwals and thorns, not to mention all of us were looking like beggars at the mercy of the mighty forest! An imp note here,….never ask Patrick ‘how much far’ and all.He gets all livid and will either confuse you with his curt actions or stun you with gems like, ’I do not have 10 ears to listen to all of you at once and 10 mouths to answer you all :P’. We found a very good camping spot. Before settling down, we had a nice dip in the pool formed at the base of the falls, mentioned earlier. Bathing under the moonlight in chilly waters is an experience which cannot be penned down…After the tent was put up and, we had sumptuous meal consisting of ready to eat MTR pav bhaji, bisibelebath, dry maggin cup noodles, bhel, kachori and my personal favourite..chips!!. After the luxurious meal, we set up a campfire and went to sleep.Patrik, Selvi, Kamlesh and Satya had us in splits recounting their previous trekking experiences. Someone kicked me in the night, I screamed something at that person, which was responded by fits of laughter: P. Blabbering, cursing, much to others amusement I fell asleep.Day 2-
Woke up to a lovely morning with paralysed legs and an aching body!! No breakfast here, as we had to cover 2 more falls and make up for the time wasted yesterday. We followed the stream, through very slippery paths only to be greeted by a small lovely falls, it was as if the stream was a carpet laid out to us and falls were welcoming us J.After the photo session, we had to climb vertically using rock pieces as footholds. We had a sumptuous breakfast in between here and filled up our water bottles and continued towards the main road. After few hours we hit the main road .Expressions of passer-by’s were priceless, gawking at us, as if we are from some other planet! Here we hitched a 3 km ride in a lorry and asked him to stop in between. The ride was simply god sent, the frugality of the forest makes us appreciate the things in life which we take for granted. A quick leech check on the lorry revealed, leeches in some of our socks making merry sucking blood. Around noon time we started out for our final destination of our trek, the Sakhala falls which comes under southern part of Maharashtra! The terrain here was pretty much uniform. An easy trek along the grasslands which were taller than us and plenty of streams and about 2 hours later, we reached the top of Sakhala falls! This was a two tiered beauty, gushing its way along the mountains. We returned along the same path and had snacks in between beside a small pool. Some of had our bath here and swam to heart’s content.Continuing we reached the road again, but slightly off the track and jumped 10 feet onto the road at 4 :30.
The group pic taken here was a hilarious one, all looking like homeless hippies with our shoes and bags strewn over the ground. Again here I emptied my snack bag, to lessen my burden!Yup, in treks, sharing your snack lessens your burden..literally! Some of us posed as ‘Kempe Gowda’s’ silhouette with the sun providing a perfect backdrop. Due to unavoidable circumstances Tata Ace arrived late at around 7:30. We scrambled onto the ACE, reached bus stop around 9, had dinner here.The bus had a flat tyre here, so the departure was delayed till 10. We reached Bengalooru at around 8. Suddenly, the hustle bustle of city life seemed alien….
All through the trek, Megadeth’s instrumental version of ‘A Secret Place’ was playing in an endless loop as if egging me on, enticing me to explore more.The trek had all kinds of terrains, many many small falls apart from the one described…this trek with BASC was, in short, a nature lover’s paradise, hard-core trekker’s home, a lazy bum’s challenge, an exploratory person’s dream, a fitness freak’s test and a writer’s muse!!!Thanks for being with me all through this write up, hope I have succeeded in luring to visit this nature’s untouched beauty, if not, the pics will do the rest JVisit our Group @ CLICK HERE
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Written by:SAURAB RAO
Crew:Saurab Rao,Satya Prakash Panigrahi,Arjun Arul,Kamlesh Karwande,Madhu Paranjothi,kondur chiranjeevi,patrick,prashant,Krushi Deep M,Selvi Eswaran
Event organized by:PATRICK SAMUEL Image Gallery: SATYA PRAKASH