Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Kemmangundi - The trip that was

One of those posts.
You decide to write about a trip. You open a gvim file. And start adding sentences.
Next thing you know it is seven pages long, filled with details that you can't yourself read again.
Even to try to condense it into some manageable length.
You give up.
And forget about it.
Then one day, you have a mail that says: Alert: UNIX Home Directory is 85% full.
You start to delete useless documents occupying precious space in your home area.
Then accidentally chance upon the once concocted drivel.
Decide to start typing directly into the 'New Post' window in the blog.
Without looking at the gvim file.
About the Kemmangundi trip.
Directly from memory.
Heavily condensed. Repetitive.
Using mostly phrases for sentences.
So that - if not for anything else -  waking up at 4:30 AM on a Saturday morning on the 8th of September, 2012 gets recorded.

Yup. This is one of those posts.

Here we go.
The top points of the top points of the trip.

Mullayanagiri, the highest peak in Karnataka, was reached first.
Stone steps were climbed. 
Through the clouds.
Through horizontal rain.
Through gales of wind.
To the temple on the top.
It was cold. It was wet. It was great. 
There was amateur spelunking involved.
Discarded chips packets and old water bottles were discovered in the caves.
There was amateur photography too. As shown here.

Z Point, Kemmangundi was reached the day after.
The mud was verified to be red.
Red mud paths  were trod upon.
Through small leeches.
Through greenery.
Through Shanti falls:

Till a certain height was crossed when Nature changed.
Red mud tracks were now trod upon:
Through the clouds.
Through horizontal rain.
Through gales of wind.
To the Z point.
It was cold. It was wet. It was better than great.
Bread was had. So were biscuits. Not sure about the biscuits though.
Nature was wonderfully furious.

(Be warned: The Z point picture above captures none of Nature's fury)

Hebbe falls was the last place to be visited before heading back.
Badly kept roads were traveled on worse kept jeeps.
Longer distances were trekked as usual routes were blocked.
By gatekeepers of the coffee plantations.
Through the forest estates.
Through the realm of leeches.
Through streams along the path.
To the breath-taking falls.
The water was too cold to breathe in.
All of twenty minutes were spent in the water.
Before making the trek back.
Through the realm of leeches.
Through the streams along the path.
Through the forest estates.
In the opposite direction.
Uphill this time.
And without drinking water.

The sight of the jeep at the top provided the same amount of excitement as the falls at the bottom did.
The sight of the punctured wheel took some of that excitement away.
The dysfunctional jack did nothing to help.
Quick trial and error process indicated that six people were necessary and sufficient to tilt a jeep to its side while a seventh quickly changed the tire.
The new old tire held till we were back to Kanthi Nivas.
Lunch was had. Rest. And a second round of cleanup.
There were group photographs.
And the satisfied trip back home.

Shououts/Takeaways/Post scripts:

  • Shoutout to Gaanja’s bag which took a dive along with its owner into the water, breaking the fall, saving its owner and the assorted electronics and wallets inside it.
  • Fatigue and tiredness makes everyday food taste so much better. Does nothing at all to mushroom curry though. That remains bad as ever.
  • The three animals - the deer, the jackal and the same jackal again probably – giving the only indication that there’s some wildlife in the Bhadra reserve.
  • Single room accommodation, washroom time-tables and running tap water. 
  • Life to death conversion and wanted outlaws.
  • The leeches. The damn leeches.
  • The anti leech ammunition.
  • The leech bite on my left foot, which when healing got infected with an Amoxicillin resistant strain of Stephylococcus aureus, giving the first years in  MS Ramiah teaching hospital a fine experiment to conduct - an incision draining procedure, also at the same time providing a topic of conversation and free lifts on the road from random people.

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