Thursday, July 22, 2010

Kurinjal gudda and Gangatikal gudda-Part 1

After planning for many treks ,we finally zeroed in on Kudremukha range.I had good memories of my trek to the Kudremukha peak a few years ago with my good friend Gopalakrishna

So the two of us finally decided to embark on this trek.We took the Rajahamsa bus got down at Kalasa and from there we hitchhiked a tea lorry to take us towards Kudremukha.The distance between kalasa and kudremukha is 20 kms.As we enjoyed the early morning ,the lorry stopped with a glitch.

Above : The tent at the Bhagavati nature camp

The lorry driver took about 10minutes to restart the lorry ,we soon stopped at a tea garden-a new ganesha devasthana was built there and the lorry driver wanted to check it out.Soon we were on our way towards Kudremukha.We thanked the lorry driver for dropping us at Kudremukha.

We saw employees of KIOCL some of them rushing,some walking towards their office.We went to the forest office .There was a person who told us that the concerned person would come only at 8:45am.The procedure was to obtain the trek permission and they would assign us a guide for the same.

After having a quick breakfast,we could still spot employees getting into the campus ,a good one hour after the siren had rang.Finally we headed towards Bhagavati Guest house.One has to walk a good one kilometer from the gate to the place where the actual tents is there.

Above: The walk from the entrance to the nature camp

After freshening up ,we relaxed a bit as i dozed of a bit in the room.I was woken up by Gopal who had finished his bath and breakfast and was ready to leave.I quickly gobbled up the delicious Chitranna and we headed for the day 1 trek to Kurinjal Gudda

Above: Stream beside the Bhagavati Nature camp

Our guide for the day was Raghavendra ,who was quite friendly.It hadnt rained for 2 days -a very strange thing since it was peak monsoon season.We took a bus -the start point for the trek is about 4 kms off the highway.As we boarded the bus ,it was simply a treat to watch the green coloured mountains on either side of the highway.

Soon the bus stopped at a small temple of the highway,the bus conductor offered some fresh flowers to the Lord Ganesha.The interesting thing was that he picked up vermillon on the way back gave it to all the bus commuters ,this is something very unique that i have seen.We soon got down at the starting point of the trek just of the highway.

As you walk along the grassland one soon hits the bhadra river flowing,there is a old bridge here ,we spent some time filling our water bottles since there is no other water source on this route.

Above: Bhadra river

The route to Kurinjal peak is actually a jeep track which has been abandoned for more than 5 years and hence there is pretty much no route visible.As we walked along ,we did come across some amazing grassland views.

Above :Sambhar -rapt attention

We soon came across a bunch of sambhars,it was indeed a delight to watch the sambhars-they gave a loud grunt before they scurried into the thick shola forest cover nearby.As we moved on from the grasslands ,we hit the leach terriotory -thick giant tress raising in excess of 400 feet ,dense jungles with only the abandoned jeep track to walk.

Since the jeep track has been abandoned ,the forest has started taking over the jeep track :).There are fallen trees all over the place and plants growing all over - a good sign that the forest is wresting its full might post the human onslaught.After a 2 hour leach soaked trek we finally hit a grassland patch.From here on can view the amazing thick forests and grasslands till far of places.We rested for a while getting rid of the leaches at this point.

Above: Kurinjal Peak

From here it is about 10 minutes walk to the abandoned station of the erstwhile KIOCL.It is very slippery from here on and one has to be really careful .Finally we made it ,we decided not to climb on the boulders from the station since it was really slippery and it had started raining steadily by now.We rested for a while at the station and then started back ,the return was uneventful,peppered with some very heavy rain.We walked back from the road to the bhagavathi nature camp.I decided to take a bath and relax.We had a early dinner which consisted of yummy rasam,chapathi,beans palya and hit the bed by 7:45pm.

To be continued.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Moorkannu Gudda

After reaching Vikram's place ,we quickly got ready to start our journey.It was raining heavily by now.

Basavaraj and Mallesh accompanied us to the Gudda.We walked along some pretty densly leach infested area ,making slowly progress.The journey was uneventful.Enroute we spotted the wild goat.

landscape is quite mesmerizing with rain adding fizz to the amazing hills and mountains.The clouds and the mist just clear for a moment ,just enough for us to catch a glimpse of the mountains.One has to be careful while treading in this area since there are small gorges and landslides.The climb was a bit challenging with the rain lashing all through.

As we approached Moorkannugudda ,we were in for some surprise .Very heavy winds and rain made our ascent to the peak slightly tough.Finally we made it in one piece.The peak was covered fully with mist .Me and Manju clicked away some snaps and relaxed a bit.We decided to get back through the slopes behind the Gudda ,which was really tricky.Thick grass ,very slippery terrain.

For a while we were lost.One has to be careful in these ranges since with rain and fog there is very little you can make out in terms of direction and routes.It is better to take a local guide however good you are ,since even local people with years of experience are known to get lost in these ranges.

some careful rework of the strategy ,Basavaraj figured out the route but that meant we had to pass through 3 thick shola forests.This journey was very challenging with slippery terrain.I was vary of snakes since it was virgin forests,almost no route ,we literally made the route.

Each shola forest was full of thorns and plants ,we had to cut through the thick undergrowth.On the penulimate shola forest ,we encountered a small falls -its almost the birth of river is what i heard-we rested for a while tasting the sweet water here.In these ranges ,about 4 rivers take birth.

We came out of the 3rd and the final shola forest ,the weather cleared a bit,giving us a good glimpse of the landscapes.We slowed down a bit after the rapid progress we made in the last hour.

We reached a small check dam and took a few snaps before it started raining very heavily,we made back in one piece to Vikrams place.

Moorkannu gudda can be reached by Kadumane estate

Some of the photos belong to my friend Manju