After two year, around the same time, we were there again with the same goal, to complete the Mullayanagiri - Bababudangiri - Kemmangundi trek. Started the planning with 6 people and the count suddenly soar to 17 in the middle with Eric anna and his old HCL team pitching in, finally we were 15. Tickets booked, tents arranged from BMC, foods stuffed in backpacks we were ready on friday night. Weather report said, 30% chance of storm on friday, saturday and Sunday, we decided to try our luck on the remaining 70% - optimism :-) Few stuffs like Western ghats, south west monsoon, windward side, lee ward side which i had learnt in geography lingered in my mind for a while, but the trip was on.
Reached chickmagalur @ 4.45AM, checked into a small hotel (selection lodge), paid 850 for two rooms and we were ready for the trek at around 7.30AM. Booked a jeep for 700Rs to drop us @ Sarpadhari, the starting point of the trek. Additional Info: there is also private bus available next to chickmagalur bus stand, and it starts at 8.00AM.
Start of the trek: After around an hour journey reached Sarpadhari and around 8.30AM. As we had expected, he was waiting for us. The moment we stepped out of the jeep, it rained :-) Undetterred we started the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari (sarpa - snake, dhari - path). The rain was brief but enough to make the path slippery. The ascent turned out to be pretty tough and drained a lot of energy. Remember the sleeping bags, tents and food items which added to the weight. Thanks to the rain, We were soon engulfed in mist. Beautiful green grass, misty white backgroun, cool breeze and soft drizzle. What else do you need. It was fantastic. Better felt, than explained.
Anyway the trek to the Mullayanagiri peak sucked a lot of time. Fortunate we didn't have leeches to suck blood too. Atleast we didn't care about them. At around 11.45 to 12.00AM we reached the peak. Explored the two caves a bit, recharged with a bit of snacks and started the next part. The walk to BSNL tower.
The Confusion: From mullayanagir, finding the path that would lead to BB Hills became a tough task. Tried my phone GPS, explored a few paths it didn't help. Map reader, Sai tried with his compass and map, but we were stuck for a while. Discussions started, should we continue was the question ? It just reminded me about the last trip to Kemmangundi, where we climbed a peak, and when the discussion started and the trek was aborted. Thanks to Mani(HCL), he found a path and started exploring. I ran behind him. We explored for a while, and walked a few KMs and found there does exist a neat and clean path. Met a few BMC guys, who were stuck too. Told them about the path and came back to our gang. And the trek started again.
The Trek Continues: So we started the trek again at around 12.55PM. We started walking towards Attigundi. The path was neat and clean, and the trek was not at all difficult, when compared to the Mullayanagiri ascent from Sarpadhari. Enchanting views through out the path. The path continued to play hide and seek with the help of mist, but it was not tough to stay on the path. Around 1.30PM we were reminded about the Sun, and that gave us the opportunity to see the beautiful ridge in the front. The ridge is the next part to be covered to reach BB Hills. After around 30 minutes we reached the police checkpost, ending the first part of trek and the ridge in the front to be covered after lunch. Time was around 2.20PM
The Interruption: We were having lunch, when a forest officer met us with a smile. We had met him at Mullayanagiri peak, where he had given us some suggestions. Interacting we came to know that, we still have around 4hrs to cover (if we walked fast). And if it rains we would be stranded in the ridge, where we cannot camp too. So he suggested going to BB hills and camping there or booking a room there. With that he left, and rain arrived. So we decided to try our luck at BB hills. With the help of few forest gaurds, booked a jeep to BB hills. The forest gaurds were very very helpful. The jeep journey was fun, as i got an opportunity to travel, standing on the jeep steps and hanging to the back of the jeep. A wise decision, as the torrential rain would have wrecked havoc, if we had continued with the trek.
End of Trek: When we reached BB Hills, it was raining cats and dogs. The option of camping out, was ruled out. After some heavy lunch at a local hotel, looked for a room. Rooms were horrible. So decided to get back to chickmagalur to decide. Going back to Kemmangundi again next day, didn't sound like a good option, so booked KSRTC tickets to bangalore. It was at chickmagalur i discovered a leech has managed to suck good amount of my blood. Can only wonder at the way they manage to suck blood without pain.
Though the trek ended, it was satisfactory when compared to the previous one. But still the place continues to amaze me. Should plan for the next trek to this place soon after the monsoon ends.