“Every mountain top is within your reach if you just start climbing”– Barry Finlay
You will not know how easy or difficult it is till you do it. People can tell you all they want but what they are saying is based on their endurance. What takes me 5 hours might take you 3 or 7. I may struggle with the climb and you may find descend harder. Frankly it is all about how strong is your willpower, how excited is your heart about doing this and how much your body can take. The third one is a subset of the first and second!
It had been a long week with crazy number of projects, multiple days of driving through traffic jams and other irritants. It was Friday evening when I called Shreya, my bestie and cribbed and cribbed. Go hug a mountain she said, you badly need your dose of nature. Life is amazing when you know who or where to go to find solace and peace. My who was Shreya and my where was Kumara Parvata. When you go to the mountains in search of some quiet, it does some magic to your soul and sends you back as good as new.
Kumara Parvata is famous among trekkers in Karnataka. Known as one of the harder treks, it will surely test your endurance but what it offers in terms of beauty is worth the pain. We, a group of 8 boys and 3 girls, hiked up from Somwarpet and descended towards Kukke. The more famous route is to climb from Kukke and descend towards Kukke. That makes it 14+14 kms. We chose 10+14 kms mainly because we did not want to repeat the route.
The climb in itself was exciting. Most of it is through forests with patches of rocks to climb and some grassland walk. I don’t remember thinking the climb was too difficult. Within the first hour of our climb, we found a stream to cross which offered us the purest Forest Water to drink. Raj said water found in forests are the best because they have the goodness of so many roots in them. Around the last 30 minutes of our climb, we spotted a few more hikers on another mountain at a distance. You remember how we would wave at strangers as kids? We did the same!
Around 5:30 PM, we reached the peak of Pushpagiri and the view this mountain offered us through the evening, night and the next morning was breath-taking. Without lazing around too much, each one started off with a task – 1. Set up the tents. 2 – Collect firewood. 3 – Get drinking water from a source nearby. Raj, DK and Anvesh have done enough treks to know how things should be done. They are experts when it comes to surviving the mountains. I am in awe of the simple tricks they have picked up over the years and proud to have such amazing trekking buddies.
Our perfect camp site
As the sun went down, we were ready to have a beautiful evening. All the sweatshirts and skullcaps came out to ensure the weather did not wear us down. By now it was pitch dark and we switched off all the lights we had –tent light, torch lights and light emitting from our phones. This was my favourite moment of the trip. The sky was full of stars, glittering at a distance in lacs or more than that. I have never seen so many stars in the sky, ever. For about 30 seconds there was silence. At the risk of being infamous I asked everyone to keep quiet for some time and it worked for 30 seconds. But I loved those 30 seconds as I felt one with nature. This was my ‘hug the mountain’ moment, as I lay there on the peak, staring at the sky with no human noises.
It was 2-3 days post full moon and I was very sure we would have enough moon light but the moon took really long to show up but when he did, oh what a sight it was. It was like a moonrise, if you know what I mean. He came up through the clouds in all its glory to add more beauty to the already spectacular sky.
It was getting colder and hence time for some camp fire. The stronger logs formed the cone exterior for the camp fire to work while the weaker ones were used to make fire happen. DK made building a camp fire look like a child’s play and he did this repeatedly through the night. We even tried to cook but our burning place did not hold up the vessel. Raj opened his surprise box full of dinner for the entire group. God bless his mom 🙂
It was a peaceful evening. Pleasant breeze, great spot and after some talking, we all got into our tents and called it a day but around 1AM we started experiencing strong winds. Our tents would have flown if our collective weight was not holding them down. But when we woke up the next morning, we realised what was happening through the night – The clouds were flowing from down under the valley at great speed and going over us. What a sight it was.
We walked up to a spot which Raj knew offered a great view and spent our morning there. The beauty of this place is here for you to see.
Our breakfast was bread and jam and peanut butter with a promise of Maggi sometime later. We left the peak the way we found it. Not a single piece of trash. I am so proud of this group. First pit stop was the point where we would fill our bottles with Forest Water (I love saying that :)). The next stop was in the middle of the forest, where we built fire and cooked Maggi. Maggi is back in our lives and how 🙂
After this started the grueling descend. The thing is, when you look at these mountains from a distance, it looks like a range that’s covered with a smooth green carpet and you think, it’s so beautiful I can just roll all over it but ITS NOT. The walk down is treacherous with a path full of rocks. The amount of stress you put not just on your knees but you heels, toes, other parts of your feet, rest of your body is tremendous. And that bag on your back full of those warm clothes and whatever else you carried doesn’t make it any easier. We stopped at Bhattru Mane for lunch before we continued our descend. Around 5:30 PM, we stopped at another stream to give some relief to our legs. The only thing I was thinking after this was, I want to reach the base before its dark as I cannot handle another layer of difficulty. So I walked as fast as I could matching Raj’s speed, trying my best to avoid torch-light for as long as I could and pressurizing my eyes to do better.
The first sign that we were close to the base was some light coming from a house, then it was music being played at a distance. When we did make it to the base, and saw a road, we just dropped our bags and sat ON the road and chose not to walk anymore. We called our TT guy to drive to us and pick us up. We sat there under a street light and rested with a feeling of accomplishment in our hearts.
“Because in the end you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing the lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain” – Jack Kerouac
Place: Kumara Parvata, Sakleshpur
Date: Nov 28,29 2015
Organizers: Us 🙂
Cost: Rs. 2000/head