What's in a Trek? Maybe Everything!!

11th Oct 2019

Enter, The Real Jungle

Photo of What's in a Trek? Maybe Everything!! by Spirited Soul
Day 1

On a lazy Sunday evening, sipping tea with friends and talking about our fast paced lives, we decided to give our normal routine a break and spend some quality time in nature. Suddenly a friend said, let's go trekking in the Himalayas, and all of us were like " Bro, No more Leaves" . Some intense brainstorming over some more tea and we decided a trek in the western ghats will solve our purpose and won't demand the same amount of time as the previous option of Himalayan treks.

It was supposed to be a light and chill affair, just going there and chilling with friends. We were supposed to go there in August, but then a landslide happened and the trip was postponed indefinitely. Finally in the 2nd week of October , we decided to continue the plan and get our chill scenes sorted. We confirmed the dates to our trek organizer and the wait started..

The Plan is in Place....

On Friday night, in the middle of the office meetings and commotion, I was mentally preparing and planning the next 2 days ahead of me. My Go pro charged, power bank set, all my go to songs loaded in the phone, headsets ready and every stuff packed. All of us left the office real early to get ready and pack some essentials for the trip. The bus was supposed to leave Bangalore at around 10 pm. We rushed to the boarding point, and reached just in time.

The first leg of the journey is a bus ride to a village in the Chikmagalur district, from where we take the 4X4 jeeps to base camp. Within minutes, we made friends with others on the trek. Pretty quick transition from multiple groups to ONE unit. Although, the bus was divided in the sleeping lot and non sleeping one, playing dumb charades, narrating horror stories, and telling our life stories, it just started with a bang.

We reached Chikmagalur early morning, with drizzles and a cold breeze to welcome us. Within 5 minutes, we were in the Jeeps, which took us to our base camp. The base camp is actually a homestay with some basic facilities. An important point to note is that they have a limit to the number of people who can trek on any day, and it is generally reserved on a first come first serve basis. So in case you don't trek on the first day, you will have to trek the next day and use the first day for seeing the local places nearby. The entire program gets delayed by around 8 hours. But luckily, there was a group of rangers going for the trek on the same day and the authorities were lenient enough to allow a dozen more people for the trek. So, we had to get ready real quick, have our breakfasts and we were up to speed.

The trek started once everyone was comfortable. We packed our lunches in our bags, and reached the check post. We are not allowed to carry any packaged food inside plastic wrappers, so take them out in a box if you intend to carry it. Also, other things not allowed are Bluetooth speakers and plastic carry bags. ( Much needed rules, everywhere ). The start of the trek is pretty simple, a plain terrain with no slopes. The path keeps winding across lush green Shola grasslands. Once we reached the 3-4 kms mark, the terrain started changing and the jungles became denser and greener with heavy foliage. Crossing streams and the marshy patches of forests, I not for once, used my headphones. Who needs one?? When you can hear the nature around you. It is kind of therapeutic, engrossing and mysterious at the same time. But all these sights and sounds keeps you engaged. I didn't feel like using any gadget that i so enthusiastically packed for the trip :P

Once we reached the 6 kms mark, the surroundings were different, we were deep inside the jungle, traversing the innumerable small ranges and the sights were amazing enough to lift our spirits further high. We kept moving, waiting sometimes for others in the group, drinking directly from the streams, talking, singing and just embracing all that nature around us. As soon as we reached the 8=9 kms mark, the Kudremukh peak was visible. From this point it is a steep ascent and the terrain gets rocky. At this point, many of our friends started feeling a little exhausted and drained, but surprisingly, everyone was pumped enough to reach the peak. I reached the peak, took a few deep breaths and just absorbed all of it. I have a habit of closing my eyes and soak that surrounding, take the most of it within. The most amazing meal at that time, not because of the taste but because of that need, that desire to have something. It was a fuel for the starving body ,the only source of energy for us, apart from the clear waters from the streams. After our lunch the food, we just spent some time there, some clicking photos, some sleeping, some meditating, and I recording all of it in my go pro and my eyes.

While returning back, the descent was quite steep, and some patches were quite slippery. Somehow, talking about random things, repeating those lame jokes, we kept our minds busy. It started raining as well, and the trek route seemed totally different while returning. With all the leeches and swampy marshy patches, the trek back to the base was tougher. We kept talking though, engaging in good conversations and taking pauses at regular intervals to just keep a check on our pals.

Photo of Chikmagalur, Karnataka, India by Spirited Soul

We returned in the evening at around 7:30, by then it is almost dark. The trek organizers arrange for the dinner, which in our case was simple Chapathi, a veg curry, chicken and some salad. One tip: Do carry your snacks as well, you will be monstrously hungry after coming back, and will need more of food. After dinner, had some amazing games with the group. It didn't seem that this same group has covered so much ground on foot in a single day.

Day 2

The next day, you are supposed to wake up early, grab a quick breakfast and then see the local areas. All of us went to a small waterfall nearby. The views are amazing, and that gushing water over you acts like a natural massage. After this much needed relaxation session, we directly headed to our place, picked up our stuff and left to the place where we had the buses waiting. The return journey takes about 6-7 hours and we reached Bangalore by around 9 pm at night. You make a connection on the trek, strong enough to make you feel a little sad, when everyone says goodbye!! Sometimes 2 days spent together , without distractions and the noise are more equal than any other normal 2 days.

Sights and Sounds WE experienced!!

The one trek I will never ever forget. Sometimes you learn so much in such a little time.

Also, when people around you are so positive, amiable, cheerful and beautiful, the journey is indeed the best part.

From the start of the trek till the end, there were ravishing sights, amazing conversations and connections, beautiful and genuine.

Deep inside the forests, drinking directly from the streams and without an iota of network or connectivity, it creates an illusion that time has slowed down. Also, in the Western ghats; Grass is always greener on the other side.