Wild Wonderful Karnataka
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FEAT AT UNKNOWN HEIGHTS ...


Achievers: Karthik Madhu Sharath Supreeth
Height: Height of Narasimha Parvatha
Version: Authorized
Authorization by: Supreeth
Date: 07-10-2003
Commentators: Karthik, Sharath, Madhu
Author: Supreeth


   Day 1, Oct 1st:


   Our journey began on the afternoon of 1st Oct from Shimoga. Myself, Karthik and Madhu had reached there by bus that day morning from Blore and Sharath had come there from Hyd. We took a bus from Shimoga to Agumbe. The entire bus journey was very scenic and for people like us who spend most of the time in concrete jungles, the sight of the thick forests was in itself something very soothing to the eyes.



   The drive was very good, we passed through Sakre Bailur of which we had fond memories from some previous trip. It's a place where they domesticate wild elephants. The total distance is around 90 kms and we reach Thirthalli after 60 kms. The forests are very thick along the way and near villages you find lush green fields, something which is very common in these parts of the world.


   We reached Agumbe by 5 30 in the evening. We had to meet Mr.Raghavendra Pai, a syndicate bank employee in Agumbe and to our surprise the first person I enquired was indeed Mr. Pai himself. After quick tiffin in which we ate a lot of GolBajjis and Dosas we started our walk towards the famous Agumbe viewpoint. The distance between the town and the viewpoint is arnd 5 kms. And the walk takes arnd 30 mins. By the time we reached there, there was nothing much to view but Sharath even in the darkness had a lot of enthusiasm in clicking snaps of a few passing vehicles, their headlights, a turning vehicle, the penetrating light .. what not ..everything looked great to him through his new Olympus camera. We comeback to the town to realize that the phones are disconnected as it had started raining. So after dinner me and sharath take an auto to go back to the view point because that is the only place around where we get a mobile signal. I get out of the auto in heavy rain with lots of hope of catching a signal, which could not be found.


   We slept in front of Pai's father in laws house (called "doddamane" in agumbe), actually in the "jagali"(a sort of verandah but very much open) of their house, dreaming about a great trek which was waiting for us the next day.


   Day 2,Oct 2nd:


   Malandur is close to Agumbe and is a small village. There are 3 people in Malandur who can guide you across the forests till the foothills of Narasimha Parvatha. They Mr. M R Krishnappa his brother Mr.Thimappa and one more person Mr.Govindappa. Since the former two were unavailable to guide us along , we began our trek with our new found guide Govindappa at 9 45 in the morning . Having had a heavy breakfast we had also packed a few more of the kotte kadabus, buns which were really tasty (wonder why we don't find them in hotels here).

   We started in the Southeast direction into thick jungles chatting all the way through amongst ourselves or with the guide. The route is just amazing. There is a path only for some distance and then it is the guide's intuition and his experience that takes u along. All the way you keep finding small streams which not only provide drinking water, but also add to the calm of the forest. There were tons of leeches. Every step you would find a leech (jigane). First few minutes we were conscious about the leech bite but as the trek proceeded leeches seemed to be a part of our trek. No worry about leech bites or bleeds anymore, though that did not stop us from spraying deodorant on our smelly shoes. Stop wondering it was only to prevent leeches from climbing on, but that did not help. I did spot a small snake, but other than that and leeches we could not see any animals in those forests. np


   After 3 hrs we found a stream where we took bath had a tindi-lunch and started with still more enthu towards the peak in the Southwest direction. Our guide wanted to return back home so after we could get in sight of the peak he left us on our own.


   We reached the peak by 5 30. But as soon as we made it to the peak the entire atmosphere got covered with mist and fog. Then began the actual feat, after a quick food break (we ate chaklis, kobri mittai, badushah) we began to search for a place where we can put up our tents. Sharath was shivering so much that we decided we would return back if things get a little better also. There is a small canopy of trees in the south direction form the peak, we decided to put up our tents there as the trees could give us protection from the cold winds from atleast one side. After a lot of thought and trials finally the tent was put up, madhu was unhappy as he felt that the tent he had used earlier was more stable and better. The rains began to lash and so we had a quick dinner, put up all our back packs into another unprepared tent .We entered tent to spend what was the longest 12 fully conscious hours of our lives. The time was I believe 6 00 / 6 15, since it was raining heavily none of us were carrying watches/mobiles. It poured, poured and poured,,,, the thunder storms and the lightning made us feel more and more impatient and anxious . We began to speak about all sort of

np things, which had even the slightest interest, ate apples very slowly so that it could also be a tp. We finally slept say after around 2 hours of tp. The tent can just fit in 4 people in such a way that the four people can't move. With some cramps and muscle aches we managed to sleep for some more time before taking turns to sit up while the other 3 could sleep, but except me none of the others seemed to have slept. The sound of raindrops falling out along with the sound of the cold wind was worth hearing to but is certainly not something that should be tried again. Now water started flowing within the tent close to the sides. Most of our clothes were wet, the bed sheets that we had brought in to keep us warm was also wet, the tent entrance was not proper so water was pouring in from there too.
After a few more hours the pour got heavy, the water flow inside the tent was also very much. Our legs were immersed in water and the fear of hypothermia started creeping into our minds. We all sat in the center of the tent hugging each other and trying to keep ourselves warm. This worked out well and we caught up with some sleep. It was finally 6 15 in the morning when we realized that our nightmare was over.


   Day 3, Oct 3rd:


   The sun coming out itself was a real feel good factor and I had never waited for the sunlight so keenly ever in my life. Narasimha Parvatha is at a very high altitude and you get a very good view of a lot of mountain ranges from there. The sunrise was just too good and we felt that the struggle for the last 12 hours was made worthwhile by just a glimpse of the sunrise. The cloud formation around the mountains added to the scenic glory, which made Sharath and Madhu click their cameras in every possible direction. We also found a small house like structure in the east direction, which later turned out to be a place for the labor workers who were in the forest to build ponds for the wild animals. We met a person from that camp Girish from whom we came to know that on a clear day you could even have a look at the sea from the top in the Southwest
direction. He also gave us a very interesting info that there were 7-8 tigers in those jungles. The place where we had camped was also the place from where the bison enters the peak J. After some more minutes of chatting about the DFO of that region, about manika betta , about naxalites in Kudremukh forests we started our journey back to Kigga through one more path which was around 8 kms and took us some where around 3 hours. With leech bites all around our legs and a heavy backpacks (which had also got wet along with its contents the previous night) , we reached Kigga by 12 noon and jumped into the muddy river Nandini which flows there .After a refreshing bath we left to sringeri and then reached Shimoga to leave to Blore that night.
np



   Feat: The feat was not about reaching the top or trekking through the forest but surviving the longest night of our lives.


   Time Sense and Distance Sense:

   The people in Agumbe and surrounding areas have a very strange time and distance sense.
Instance 1-> Mr.Pai says that the peak (way up) is around 25 kms and it is not more than 17-18 kms. Instance 1b-> Hameed a guy who dropped us in a trax to Malandur from Agumbe said that the distance was 12 kms when it actually was 4-5 kms!!! Instance 2-> Girish says that the path back is 45 mins and in worst case it is 1hr 15 mins and we end up walking for 3 hours!!!!!!! Instance 3-> Initially while inquiring about the peak in and around Agumbe we asked a few people and had to come to a conclusion that the trek was for 40 kms but it was actually some 25 kms in all.
So be careful when someone says its just 10mins away , yu could end up walking for an hour!!!!!!!


   Learnings:

1. Don't trek during monsoon season to NP , best would be Jan- Feb and even if u trek during monsoon season don't stay up there .
2. Guide is a must. I had a compass but it didn't help even to the slightest extent. Do not trek without a guide.
3. Don't carry excess baggage ( learning not just from this trekJ)

ps1: Contact Number of the forest officials: 561041/42 - range officers office Kudremukh forest range



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