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Venka writes from"somewhere in Coorg..."

  Narayan our Admin guy had all the enthusiasm in the world to arrange for a trek to some place in Coorg. I only knew that we would be going for the trek to some place near Madikeri and did not know about the actual place. Its not that I was not interested in knowing, but thoght let it be a surprise :-) That's an excuse for my laziness:) 10 of us from Ishoni finally decided that we are going for the trek this Friday. ( Narayan, myself, Rohit, Satish, Hari , Harisha , Rags, Gaurav, Ashoke, Debashish). Couple of them backed out at the last minute for some reasons which I will not dweleve over here. Harisha had almost decided not to do it becos of fever. But the enthusiast in him made him decide that he is not going to miss trek. Narayan had arranged for a van. We left Bangalore on Friday night at 11:00PM for Madikeri. Narayan told the driver that we have to be a Madikeri by 6:00a in the morning and he can take rest whenever he felt like on the way. On the way, some of us had a wonderful chai at a roadside chai shop. Having chai at roadside is an amazing experience.. The same chai if you have in the city mite not taste that good.. But on a roadside in the middle of the nite makes it taste wonderful.. I dont know about others but thats what I felt. After a small break we continued our journey towars Madikeri. The winding turns on the way would wake me up and would spend some time watching outside the forest, trees and some vehicles pass by. All of the gang were having a good sleep, with the next day being a hectic one..

  We reached Madikeri at around 4:00am in the morning and we have to spent time till 6:00am in the morning, when we were supposed to meet Rajshekhar from the Youth Hostel who would be taking care of the arrangements for the trek. So we parked on the side of the road and everyone had a good second round of sleep here. It was 6:00am in the morning and we went to the place where we were supposed to meet RajShekahar. RajShekhar met Narayan and Yeshwant came along with us. Yeshwant was to be our guide fro the trek. He took us to a Youth Hostel base camp near Madikeri( 5minutes drive from the town). VTRAK is the organisation affiliated to Youth Hostel and these guys arrange for the treks in the Coorg Area. We finished our morning chores and were ready for the breakfast. Yeshwant took us to a nearby hotel where we had good Idli/vada for the breakfast. We also got our packed lunch here. We were ready for the trek.


  We had drive to a place called shiranghalli which is around 30 minutes from Madikeri with all the winding roads. From there our trek started. Narayan went along with the van to the campsite. He decided that his legs would not be able to handle the vigours of the trek. So Yeshwant and the gang of 9 started our trek for KoteBetta. I had asked Yeshwant about the name of the trek at the base camp in the morning. So finally I knew about the place we were going to trek. It had a well laid out trail and we started our trek. It was a first trek for quiet a few in our group. But all of them were enthusiastic and that helped to beat the sun. By the time we started the trek the Sun was shining in all its glory and we have to have a lotz of water to keep our thirst quenched. There were quiet a few good views around of the mountains and the grasslands. We took some pictures for memories sake. I always believed in where the trail ends the memory begin. So I was eagerly looking for a glimpse of the mountain which we were to climb. After a trek of half an hour Yeshwant showed us the peak which we were supposed to climb that day. Its always a great feeling to see what you are going to climb. The trail went through some patches of forest and the grasslands. After a while the trail was not very clear but Yeshwant was there for us. All along the route we were taking time to enjoy the views , took some pictures for later time sake and generally enjoyed the serene surroundings. The Sun was hiding behind the clouds for sometime and I was wishing it rained for a while so that we could have experienced all the there.. Sun, cloud and the rain. But it was not to be. After three hours of trek we reached a temple, which is just before the peak. By this time the sun was at its hottest and everyone was eagerly waiting for some rest and lunch. Yeshwant told that we were going to have the lunch at the peak. By 1pm we had reached the peak. There is nothing specific at the peak, but the feeling of u having made it to the peak which u saw from down makes u feel good. You always try to find out from where we came once you reach the peek. I dont know why. But it gives u a perspective of your achievement or whatever you may call it. We had our packed lunch and drank the buttermilk which we had brought. Relaxed at the peak, enjoyed the beautiful views around and enjoyed some of the nicest breeze there. Yeshwant showed us the place where had to descent to find the campsite for the nite. If you look towards the west from the peak you see a paddy field and a house. The Campsite is very close to it.

  We started our descent at around 2:00pm. The descent was quiet steep and every one had fun in doing so. Some of them used only two legs and managed, some of them two legs, two hands and some of them used their hands, legs and bums to get stability while climbing down. Each one had their own ways of climbing down, but everyone was doing it fine. At some point the descent was almost 90 degrees. Once we finished the steepest descent, looking back at that gave me a sense of having DONE it. The trail is not clear at all the places. We have to keep a sense of the direction where our campsite was and go towards it. The trail is winding around the smaller peaks. At around 4:00 PM we finally saw a motorable road and yeshwant told us that we are 5 minutes away from the campsite. We started walking along the road and we saw our van parked there. There was no sign of Narayan there, but the driver was there. We collected some of the stuff which we had left in the van for the nite. Yeshwant said that the campsite is around 5 minutes from there. We started our descent again and this one was also quiet steep but not as much. Some of them ran down and some of them applied lot of brakes to go at a slow speed. Hari twisted his ankle slightly and he was in some pain. But it was okay.

  We reached the camp site and we saw Narayan waiting there with the welcome drink. The campsite is near the village Mukkodlu. Everyone just dumped their backpacks and grabbed the drink. The drink was soothing after all the exhaustion. After the drinks we were all ready for a dip and play in the river Kote Abbe nearby. We played Frisbee and generally had fun playing in the water. These are simple pleasures of a trek which you cherish the most. The swimmers had a gr8 time swimming and the non-swimmers had their own gr8 time by playing in the water which was not neck deep. Ashoke did not get into the water since he felt that he kite catch a flue. Oh well I can only say that he missed some gr8 fun. But he had gr8 fun watching us having fun in side the water.

  After having a dip/play in the river we came out and relaxed at the camp site with general chatting and some leg pulling. We just took a walk around the campsite and generally had a reflection of the trekking in general , life of the ppl in the villages in the mountains. Along the way we got some wood for the camfire. The Cook had finished the dinner by now and we were all ready for the dinner. What a dinner! It was simple and gr8. Rice, Sambar and Brinjal vegetable. We had our stomachs full and some more. We lit the campfire and everyone had a wonderful time by general chatting, jokes and sharing some of the earlier experiences. Every was tired and were ready for a sleep by 10:00pm. The blankets and all were provided by the Youth Hostel and we shared the two tents amongst us. I had a sound sleep and everyone said that they had one too the next morning.

  I was the last one to wake up( as usual :)) at 7:30am the next morning. We finished our morning chores, had upma for the breakfast and were ready for a trek to the Kote Abbe falls. The Kote Abbe falls is around 40 minutes trek from the campsite. The trail goes through coffee estates and Satish in particular enjoyed this part of trek since he loves walking through greenery. We reached the falls and WOW what a falls it was. The water was like inviting us to come and play with it. We all had fun playing the water. The water was quiet deep and only the swimmers could reach under the actual waterfall. The non-swimmers could only play in the water. At that point I realised what I was missing and made it a point that I would learn swimming. As part of 'Aaj kare to abhi' thing I learnt floating then and there itself. Had a good time in the water. It was time to head back to the camsite fro lunch. Came back to the campsite and devoured our lunch. I decided to a go to the rock and take a short nap before we left. What a place to have a nap.. rock near the river, a tree providing the shade, cool breeze and melodious sound ofthe water making its way through the rocks! AT 2:00 clock, Narayan finally said that its time to leave and we reluctantly packed our bags and started our way back up to the van. How I wished that the time would be still and I could enjoy the serene for ever. Oh well.... We started at 3:00 clock from Mukkodlu through the winding roads, went to Abbey falls on our way back and dropped Yeshwant at Madikeri. What a wonderful trek had come to an end! We all decided that we should do this more often and this is the feeling one always gets after a wonderful trek. We started towards Bangalore, had dinner at a Dhaba near Mandya and reached BLR at 11:00pm in the nite.

You should know by now why I titled it as trek to Unknown:-)

Venkatesh TD.  
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