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Monday, January 20, 2014

Get Set Trek!
So, finally I got to meet Bangalore Ascenders! It was so exciting to see my name get shortlisted. Thanks a lot to Rajesh for expanding the team size and accommodating all of us :) I started rehearsing for the trek as the day drew closer, thinking about the things to carry, people I'm going to meet, how to introduce myself and how to get over the initial nervous feeling and start socializing!
1549533_805232806160588_277954243_nThe day of Saturday, 18th Jan 2014, we were off for a night trek to Makalidurga hilltop Shiva temple, lead by Major Rajesh :) The schedule was to assemble in Majestic railway station at 5.30 pm and take the Hindupur bound train at 6.00. I had planned to start from home in Bommanahalli at 3.30 but as usual, got delayed and started at 4.15. I had considering to take my bike but was not sure of the overnight parking facility in Majestic railway station and how safe it was. So decided on taking a bus. But  I hadn't anticipated the route the bus would took - via Shanthi nagar and Double road, looked like a round about way and with inching traffic on a Saturday evening in Bangalore, I barely managed to reach Platform no.8 (Thanks to the SMS from Rajesh) at 5.55 after one hour-and-a-half long journey counting every minute :| 
 
DSC00001 (4) There was a twist in the tale as we were greeted by DK (Ravi Kiran), upcoming Rock star, since Rajesh was going to join us shortly later.
So, after scaling platform No. 8, I joined the team and relaxed a bit. I got to meet other team members Rohit, Anil, Shamanth, Shalini, Chandru and felt myself relaxing, despite my earlier nervousness. Thanks to the warm welcome from BASC friends :)
We were around 18 people, since a few other friends had missed the train, credit to Bangalore traffic that they had to join us later by taking a bus. As the train started from Majestic, we started interacting and found a Visual Design engineer among us, Anil Reddy, with an Oscar for Life of Pi and a passion towards Photography. DSC00033And the Famous five Bengali friends working in Wipro. No sooner that the train crossed Malleswaram station, Shalini did a roll call and brought out snacks from the back-packs, and soon DK initiated dumb-charades the ever-green ice-breaker idea, and the fun started.. With Hindi and English and you-know-what all movie names from Shalini, we had loads of fun and had to be reminded by Rajesh that we have reached the destination!
We reached Maakalidurga station at 8.00, walked out of the station and found the dhaba where we decided to have dinner. We were joined by four other ascenders, who had taken the bus route. Food was delicious, and now we were a team of 25. We had the introduction session, with many first-time-trekkers on the call! With a good mix of members with no-treks to 25+ treks, we started ascending with the full moon accompanying us. I got to befriend Dhamodar, an avid trekker and an Art-of-living enthusiast. Also had a good time with Bhaskar, who just got into his first job at HP and long weekends which came along! We trekked for around one and half hours and reached the plain. We continued chatting, joking and daring the chilling winds. Also, We started collecting fire wood for the camp fire.
DSC00039 We resumed trekking and reached the destination, passing the ruined fort entrance and the small Shiva temple and settled on the tarpaulin sheet brought in by our leader.
We again went on a prowl to collect more fire wood. We had to look out for dry sticks and carry it back to our destination. Camp fire was set alight at 2.00 AM, effort lead by DK, experienced camp firer :) The wind was blowing and the camp fire kept us warm but the smoke kept us busy rubbing our eyes and adjusting ourselves. Channa came up with his packed pulav and offered a bite to all (must have taken all his will power to do this brave act considering the no. of people around :D) The pulav tasted delicious and we had to fight our basic instincts to grab and gorge.
DSC00057 It was 3 AM and the blowing wind got the better of me and I found shelter inside the temple, where few others were already in, Found it amazingly calm and serene, almost heaven like when compared to outside. Many other brave hearts fought the weather and stayed  outside; This includes some of the girls too!
1016336_805233692827166_68952136_n Soon came the wake up call from leader, asking us to packup and get going. Though we pretended not to hear, we had no other option but to wake up. We started our descent by 5.30 AM. It was still dark and no signs of the early morning sun. We got a silhouette of the lake view and the hill ranges ahead of us. I'd have loved to stay back and enjoy the sights. We came across another team climbing up, all set to reach the peak and watch the sunrise.
We reached downhill and walked along the railway tracks with the sun rising on one side and moon setting on the other side at the same time :) Back in station by 7.15, we had a group photo session, with DK climbing on to top of the station board. We had some snacks and fresh vegetables, thanks to Chandru and other team mates. It was settlement time and the trip expense was announced as Rs.35 per head, breaking the previous record of Rs. 40. Kudos to the spirit of BASC!
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We boarded the train at 8.00 AM and after some leg pulling of cool headed Shalini by Shamanth, Sharan, DK, et al, we reached Bangalore Central at 9.35 AM and it was good-bye until next time. Overall a fantastic experience guys :) More than the trek, the fun part was the team!
Few tips:
1. Be better prepared for the cold weather: Carry warm woolen sweaters/jackers with hood, socks, gloves, shoes, etc.
- During the climb, I felt I was over prepared since I started sweating and had to remove all the extra covers and carry it. But, believe me, the same proved insufficient to keep away the blowing wind and chill in the open areas on hilltop :|
2. Be better prepared to sleep in any condition - Sleeping bags/ rubber mats/ bedsheets will be of great of use.
- It is worth the extra weight to carry uphill if you would expect to get atleast a few hours of sleep.
3. Be better prepared to restore energy: Carry extra water, food / biscuit packs / potatoes (serves veg & Non veg alike :) for barbeque / maggie packs with a vessel, etc
- This is one easy way to win hearts :)
Join Bangalore ASCENDers @ CLICK HERE
Written by: Alagappan Thiagarajan
Date: January 18th
Composed by: Swetha Padakandla 
Event organized by: Rajesh
Total Cost Incurred {per head}: Rs. 35 (To and Fro) + Rs. 50 (Approx cost of dinner at the dhaba)
The Crew: Prabhakar G, Damodaran, Manjunath, Ayan Majumder, Shalini Batra, Shamanth Kumar, sagnik Khan, Rama Mendigeri, Abhirup Ghosh, Souveek Roy, Gourab Mitra, Sharana Basavaraj M, Rohit Vardhan, Ashok G, Ravikiran ( DK ), Channappa Sajjanar, Anil Reddy CH, Pradeep R, Alagappan, Chandru, Prakash M, Sunayana H, Twinkle Hazarika, Rajesh, Bhavana

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