Treks are addictive. They make you give up your inhibitions and your fears, shuts up your doubts and confusions and pushes you towards the road less travelled. And you come back feeling better than ever, feeling the joy of experiencing the unseen, of exploring the unknown, of realising that you have it in you to do the un-doable!!
Treks are also the best place to meet awesome people, people you wish to hang out with even after the trip is over, people you want to be friends with for a long time to come. Most people you meet on treks are down to earth and humble and if you like that kind, you should definitely try and trek!
By the time I finished Kodachadri, I realized how much more there is to do when it comes to building my endurance, to become stronger mentally and physically. So far, none of my treks demanded so much out of me as much as Kodachadri did. But, I loved it. I loved every bit of pain in my body, loved every step taken towards a new experience.
Nagara Fort, the first pit stop at the break of dawn was a treat to the eyes. A quick route to the top gives you a panoramic view of the landscape which looks picture perfect from every angle. Cultivated land, a house in between, a river flowing in the background with multiple bridges, trees all around and the fort itself adding to its beauty. Nagara Fort is a must see place on the way to Kodachadri.
Nittur fed us with some delicious South Indian breakfast and soon, we were ready to start hiking. From the Main Road, we entered this small opening and hence started the 2 day long, almost 30 km hike, trek, exploration. After walking through a jeep trail for an hour or so, we entered through the fields and forests to reach Hidlumane Falls. The water here was freezing and everyone played in the falls. No leech bites so far 🙂
From here we started the almost 4 to 5 hours of steep uphill climb to reach Kodachadri peak with not many breaks. This was my first 2 day 1 night trek – Which meant heavy backpack with sleeping bag, poncho, extra water bottles, food, clothes etc. The bag was heavy, the mountain steep and end was nowhere in sight. So we kept hiking, chit chatting when we could gasp a breath, pushing ourselves to greater heights.. literally!
Very close to the peak, there were vendors selling, cucumber, watermelon, churmuri, groundnuts. We gobbled them all :). As we reached the Kodachadri peak, we saw co-trekkers, sitting at cliffs and waiting for the much spoken about sunset. The sun threw different colours on the mountains giving us the much-needed relief after a hard day’s trek! The moon on the other side looked gorgeous on an almost full moon night giving us enough light to walk up to our camping spot.
On reaching a small plateau, we started the big task of setting up a community tent. I call it that coz 12-13 people slept inside this one tent. Organizers had carried ropes and tarpaulins and with the help of the entire group, a tent was built. And before I knew, majority of them were inside and ready to sleep. And it was only 8 PM. Rest of us, sitting outside definitely did not want to sleep this early and hence started playing Mafia, a game well explained by Girish and played even better by the rest of us. The game requires you to be sly, strategic and manipulative and we tried our best to be all of that. Most of us failed and some did phenomenally well!
The night was bad for me. It was very windy, tent loud because of the wind and very little place to sleep. I am not sure how long I slept for but I definitely woke up 5 to 6 times with an imagination of some animal or worse, some stranger at our camp site.
Morning started at 5:30 with Patrick’s voice waking all of us up. We quickly packed our sleeping bags, rolled up the tarpaulins and ropes and walked towards another mountain for the sunrise. The view was beautiful and I will let these pictures do the talking.
We soon started our descend and headed towards Batrumane where a few of us stopped for tea. You would expect longer breaks on a trek this long, but no they were really short ones. The descend took us about 2 hours. We stopped at Santosh Hotel where we had our breakfast and packed Lemon Rice for lunch.
From here started the exploration of Arshingundi Falls. Patrick, our organizer has a GPS device which guided us till a certain point I’m guessing but after that a lot was dependent on their sense of direction. So initially we ended up at a stream leading to a certain falls. There was absolutely no trail through the forests and we had to slide, slip, run, jump, grab trees and roots to move forward. All this while trying not to get bitten by leeches. After some more climb and descend we reached an unknown falls but a beautiful one.
Guys played in the falls and I sat with my feet in the water getting a natural foot massage. Lunch followed and without too much rest, we started the ascend. There were 2 options. One was to head towards Kollur and the other to go back to where we started from. I’m again guessing we couldn’t figure out the route to Kollur and hence walked back the same way we came.
While descending, I kept hoping we won’t have to climb back the same way as the route is very steep but god definitely was not listening. Everytime I looked up, I couldn’t see the sky, which meant we were still in dense forests. I am not sure how long we climbed for or the distance we covered, but it sure felt never-ending. And not taking enough breaks did not help either.
I wonder what I would have done if not for the trees. They supported us in every way possible. I held on to them to pull myself up, hugged them to make sure I did not fall, leaned on them when I could not carry my weight anymore, grabbed their roots when I couldn’t find anything else to hold onto. It’s ironic, even a tree which probably is very young and looks strength-less could help us in so many ways. New found respect for Nature God.
We finally made it to the top from where it was another 4-5km walk but on flat surface. After walking till the main road, we spotted our matador, where we dumped our bags, and headed straight to the stream to freshen up. It felt good to be clean again 🙂
You would expect a bunch of totally drained human beings at the end of such an ordeal but this group was crazy. We danced in a moving matador for over an hour and played antakshari for 2 hours after that. But a sumptuous dinner at Shimoga is all it took to shut us up and open our eyes only to see Bangalore flyovers and morning traffic.
One of the toughest treks I have done so far but a must do.
Things I loved:
- The gang of guys I hung out with. Tulu(My mother tongue) jokes were hilarious and definitely reduced the extertion.
- The sunrise was beautiful
- Landscape unmatched. I have dreamed of being amidst such mountains for really long
- Mafia game was super fun. Thanks Girish
- I have more or less overcome my fear of leeches
Things that could have been better:
- More breaks during trek would have been most appreciated
- A visit to Kollour Mookambika temple would have been great
- More time to click pictures.
- Day 0
- We left Bangalore by 11:00 PM.
- Day 1
- Reached Nagada Fort on the way by 730AM. Spent an hour exploring the fort
- Reached Nittur by 9:30AM and started hiking from here after breakfast
- Reached Hidlumane falls around 12:00 PM
- Continued hiking from 12:30 PM. Stopped for a really short lunch break around 1:15 PM
- Started hiking again around 1:40 PM
- Reached Kodachadri peak by 5:00 PM
- Watched the sunset and headed towards our camping site by 6:45 PM
- Started building our tent by 7:00 PM
- Completed tent building by 8:00 PM
- Played Mafia for the next few hours and called it a day by 10:30 PM
- Day 2
- Started next morning at 5:30 AM
- Headed to a nearby hill to watch sunrise. Reached by 6:30 AM
- Started hiking again at 7:30 AM
- Reached Batrumane at 8:00 AM and stopped for a cup of Chai
- Reached Santosh Hotel at 9:00 AM. Had breakfast
- Started Arshingundi Falls Exploration. Ended up at a different spot of the same stream and continued the hike
- Reached an unknown falls around 1:00 PM. Had lunch here and headed back by 1:30 PM
- Reached a plateau by 4:00 PM
- Reached our bus by 5:00 PM
- Washed up at a near-by stream. Headed back to Bangalore at 6:30 PM
- Dinner at 9:30 PM at Shimoga
- Day 3
- Reached Bangalore by 4:30 AM