It started as a highly spirited trek. The photos from other blogs added a lot of excitement to the already excited mind. So thus started the trip to Kemmanagundi, with most of them belonging to the usual gang(Nilamagal Kadhalargal) and without few. We started off in Shimoga Express that starts from Bangalore at 11.30PM. Reached Tarikere at around 5.45 since the train was late by around 1.15 hours. From Tarikere took a bus to Lingdahalli, from where we paid 500 to a mini vegetable van to take us to Kemmanagundi. The driver chose the shortest route, but it has to be the worst one i guess. With 11 packed inside it a little difficult one. Anyway thats the only option left to you since the first Bus to KG is only around 9.30AM. We started the much awaited trek after refreshment at Traveller's Bungalow.
The weather at KG was unbeatable. Neither too cold, nor too hot. With the mists, caressing the grasses at will, it was a wonderful sight. And the mountains covered with green lush grasses, i am seeing it for the first time. Occasional drizzling, ran out of words to explain. Now the excitement level crossed 100% with ease. Finally the trek started. The tall grasses and the drizzling raised some suspicion about leeches, the tiny insects we dread the most. But we didn't find any then, so the trip started with a lot of enthusiasm. First point of confusion came, when paths(looked like) diverged towards left and right. We took the right one and thats where it was not right. Little did we know we are invading the leech territory and there are millions of armed warriors waiting for the taste of blood. Worst part was we were unarmed, or not prepared. Worstest part was two of the gang were not wearing shoes :) Courage disappeared, panic stroked, in the rush of adrenalin think we reached the top in few minutes :) Thanks to the leeches!!!
Two in the gang, Mani and Peter were the feast for the leeches. I suffered a small one, where a determined leech has started sucking blood through my socks. But it was nowhere when compared to the attacks Mani, Peter and Pramod has suffered. Next hour wasted in cleaning the leeches, soaking the socks in dettol, applying tobacco mixed in castor oil to the legs etc etc. Make it a point to remember that, tobacco mixed with castor oil when applied prevents leech attack to an extent. Good that leeches have not caused much damage. Bad that this was enough for the courage in people to disappear. Adding to all these, there was a small forest cover to cross. Done. Few wanted to take the risk, few did not. Taking the risk and safety, the end of group discussion saw us retreating with the trek put on hold and with plans of continuing it next day from a different location.
The best part of the trek was the lunch. We had burnt some energy, and even bread and pickle were delicious. We were left with just few bread packets.
Next plan was to go to Gallikere by bus. Went to the bus stop to find that there are just two buses to KG one at morning 10.15AM and another one at 4.15PM. With nowhere to go, decided to stay in KG and started setting up our tents. To our dismay, one of our tent was in a very bad shape. This time we had tried renting out tents from "Adventure Era" or something and we had to pay the price. We setup two tents and decided to just sleep inside sleeping bags with the tent just spread out. Luckily we rented out a room in the dormitory available there and the night went without further troubles.
The next day, woke up early and started to Hebbe falls. Adding to our woes, wheel of a jeep we went got punctured. But that gave opportunity to trek for two KMs to few of us. We had to walk few more kilometers, crossing three small streams and tackling the leeches to reach the falls. Bath in the falls was awesome anyway. Managed to catch the 10.15AM bus from KG, reached Lingdahalli, caught bus to Chickmagalur, finishing the lunc there and started the trip back to Bangalore.
Bababudangiri, Mulainagiri remains unexplored. Few misses, few hurdles, but the trip was great and enjoyable one. What matters the most is the crowd with which you go. We have a great gang which rocks everywhere. Blog cant end without mention of the the people involved, it was Prabhu, Pramod, DP (Deepy), Thirukumaran Annas and Mani, Musi, Praveen, Bharathi, Peter, myself and our Captain, Muthukumar.
KG offers a great scope for photography, since you get a glimpse of virgin nature in purest form at few spots. So every photo looks beautiful without special efforts. Check out mine at http://picasaweb.google.com/sens2003/KemmanagundiTrip#.
Waiting for the next trip/trek.