Sunday, January 25, 2009

Kemmanagundi – Red soil, leeches, dogs and lots of fun

Friday nights always bring out the best in me. Kemmanagundi was one such idea born on a Diwali eve.
The raw material: 2 Cars, 6 guys and 2 days to spare.
The output: Total Fun.

Kemmanagundi is situated about 250 K.M from Bangalore in the Chickmagaloor district.
Route: Bangalore->Tumkur->Arisikere->Kadur->Birur->Lingadahalli->Kemmanagundi.

Thus on Saturday morning (25 October 2008) we found ourselves on the Tumkur road with Anand and Rajeesh at the wheel. The road was terrific and we made good progress, till we reached about 20 K.M from Tiptur where Anand had this bright idea of climbing a hill which was being demolished by a quarry team. “The next time we come over, this hill might not be there at all” was his reasoning. Everyone agreed. After some chit chat with the laborers who were surprised to see us climbing, just for the sake of climbing, we reached the top and were pleasantly surprised to find a temple and associated paraphernalia.

Lunch and beer as is our custom was at a roadside Dhaba which had surprisingly good food. The road between Tumkur and Lingadahalli is an absolute treat to ride on. It is a normal state highway, but with no potholes and near zero traffic. The road from Lingadahalli to Tumkur is really bad, but fortunately it is only 20 Kilometers. We reached by 4:30 P.M which meant that trekking to Hebbe falls, the main point in the itinerary was out of the q.

We booked a four-bed room at Kemmanagundi for just 850 Rupees. This was a steal deal and meant that the trip expenses remained well within limits (If only we had some cheap fuel too!). The Govt. guest house has a well maintained botanical garden but we decided to give it a miss. Instead, we went to a small 10-foot falls about 2 K.M from camp on the way to Z point.

Immediately on starting we saw people returning from the falls. Everyone warned us about leeches on the way. But since we had nothing better to do, we went forward anyways. A scrawny looking dog started following us. It seemed harmless, so we didn’t chase it away (good idea!). The view was amazing and the weather perfect, but we couldn’t care less. Everyone was obsessed with their shoes and the number of leeches that had hitch-hiked on. These little beings pack a fair amount of spook value!

The 10 foot “falls” were rather un-impressive, but unknown to us, the most interesting part of the trip was silently unraveling. I noticed a small forest path ahead of the falls, most probably, the path to z point. We took it and immediately found ourselves at the foot of a very steep climb. The soil was slippery, the climb was tough but somehow we managed to reach the top. From then on, it was an easy path through flowing grass meadows, alongside a cliff overlooking some very beautiful forest area in the valleys beyond.

Even the steep side of the cliff was covered with grass, with a single tree in the distance. A photographer’s paradise! We climbed leisurely to “peak” only to find that the actual peak was about 100 meters ahead. We reached this second peak to find that the “actual” peak was again 100 meters ahead and so it went. Unfortunately, the pinthiris (read sane people) in the group pointed out the lack of light (it was about 6:20 P.M) and forced us to come down.

As is normal in these areas, darkness fell with surprising suddenness and we found ourselves doing a night trek, totally un-prepared. Moral of the story -> The light of a mobile is simply not enough! On the way back we lost our way (Big surprise!). We didn’t panic, but the tension was palpable. The path was slippery and we kept falling. Finally, one genius (also known as author!) in the group found out that walking on the grass was less slippery than the path. That was a good decision, people stopped falling for a change and were just worried of breaking their legs in some pot hole in the grass. Thankfully that didn't happen!

Finally, with some luck we got back on the right path. Enter the drama queen, err sorry dog!.... (thought it was a side kick with no role in the story, huh??) The dog, which was quietly following us till then, with not so much as a woof for miles and miles, suddenly moved to the front and started barking at top volume at something ahead of us in the dark. Fear as they say, is about the unknown, if it had barked at us, we would know what we were facing, we would be scared alright, but in a decent scare-able manner. But it was not barking at us, it was barking at something in the dark just ahead of us.

The phrase “Scared shitless” assumed realistic proportions. Was it an elephant? A tiger/leopard? Or a snake? Theories flew thick and fast, but after about a minute, the dog stopped barking as suddenly as it started. We stayed rooted to the spot for another 10 minutes though. Gathering courage is a slow process...:) Finally, we continued on with the last part which was filled with leeches. This time, nobody was bothered, since you couldn’t see a damn thing anyway. All the effort was on getting back alive, funny, how priorities change so fast! In the mean time, Deepu almost managed to kill himself, when he misjudged and nearly fell into the cliff side. Sadly, that was not to happen!

Back at the room it looked like a war scene right out of Hollywood, once we removed our shoes. Blood everywhere and people leaking it like water! The only solace was the food in the canteen. We ate like crazy and gave some for the faithful dog too. We even named it Tony (a take on Pullachen…:D) (I hope it was not insulted by the insinuation!)

Mokri agreed to set the alarm for the next day when we would be trekking to Hebbe falls about 13 Kilometers from Kemmanagundi. Turns out that the mobile did not go off due to some weekend-alarm-off setting and we wake up 2 hours late. Since nobody wanted to trek all 26 K.M’s on the same day, we hired a jeep which would take us to 5 K.M from the falls and a guide who would take us through the shortcut. This trek was beautiful, we had to cross small brooks everywhere and re-cross them before reaching the foot of the falls.

Hebbe falls is simply majestic at 150 feet. The water is crystal clear and unlike so many waterfalls in south India, there was no plastic or other waste. Best of all, there was nobody at the falls, except us. We had reached the falls at perfect timing. It was early and the crowds had not yet started to come in.

The only problem was that it was horridly cold. The water seemed to have just melted from ice and it pained us to stand in it for any long time. I and Anand swam up to the base of the falls and sat below it. I tried climbing up the rock face of the falls and when about 10 feet up, the force of the water suddenly increased! For a second there, vivid images of my leg in a cast flashed all across Grey matter land. I had some really tense moments before making it safely back to ground (water) 0.

The trek back was tiring since we had to climb back all the way. But finally we made it back safely and started our drive back to Bangalore. This time we did not make any stops till Bangalore and fortunately there was hardly any traffic on the roads. We reached about 1 hour ahead of expectations. One of the better trips, I had had in a long time!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Wayanad, waterfalls, angels in black പിന്നെ സ്വല്പം കണ്ജാവും*

1) 5-April-2008 1:30 A.M we start from our home to Pullachen’s home at Bellandur
2) The buggers at Bellandur think that we will not reach on time as usual. We reach 10 minutes early, donate our blood to the mosquitoes of Bellandur, curse Pullachen and co.
3) 2:20 A.M we start for the ultra mega trip of the century (yeah I am exaggerating it...:D)
4) 8:00 A.M we reach our hotel, freshen up and by 10 A.M leave for the first destination, Edakkal caves.
5) The climb to the cave itself is only reasonably tough. The place is infested by people from Bangalore.
6) We reach the caves only to hear that the peak is actually 1000ft higher than the cave..:( It is just not that the climb is steep and tough, but you got these very narrow paths and people coming up and down. Traffic blocks in Wayanad!!!! Half the time you feel like you will end up at the bottom.

7) I and Pullachen are the first on the peak. Rest of the gang take photos and come up in their own time.
8) In the meantime, I befriend a girl from Fidelity Bangalore. She shows interest in talking with us poor sods, looks quite attractive and even laughed at my seriously hopeless numbers. The dawn of a new era? I asked myself. Well hardly so, half an hour later I learn that she is married and hubby is quite nearby. I made myself scarce.
9) On the way back we come upon a shop which sells the best snacks ever... salted mango, salted pineapple, morum vellam, the works!! The salted mangoes were divine!!! I am salivating right now just thinking of em....:(
10) Seriously tired by now, we ask a local guide the "next best place". As it turns out, it is a waterfall called suchi para vellachattam(needle rock waterfalls).
11) We hit suchi para by 4 P.M in the afternoon. The falls don’t look so attractive. Should we jump in or just take some quick snaps of the bathing beauties is the million dollar question.
12) All of us jump in. We take prime time positions at the bottom of the fall. Absolutely kidilam experience... The water hitting your body feels like it is going to rip you apart... Such force!!!
13) Anand climbs half way up the falls and urinates!!! Bloody dirty mallus.... and to think that I bathed there!!

14) A group of Manglorean students(doctors) come to bathe. The lady doctors are beauuuuuutiful! This angel in a black dress and a falling neck line sits just in front me... and as she moves hither and thither, the force of the water whipping her clothes in all possible directions.... I catch glimpses of utopia...:D
15) We lean on this huge boulder as the lady doctors bathe in front of us... Akbar comes to mind..."if there is a heaven on earth… it is this, it is this, it is this!"
16) Trust Shyam to break the spell! He dishes out comments like "ho evidae ittu avalae rape cheyyan thonnunnu" "da, njan avalae kettikottae.. pleeese" etc only to learn that most of the male doctors bathing with the ladies are good old mallus!!! Later Vali is missing, we find him behind the falls, sitting like a f**** yogi farting to his hearts content.
17) We buy cake for Shyam and print on it "happy 50th birthday", give him a card with absolutely funny lines penned by lolan. His jaw drops in surprise. Somebody pushes a piece of cake into that dropped jaw. Everyone is happy.
18) Search for a decent Kallu shape(Toddy shop) at night ends in failure. We are disheartened and make do with some boring food from Aryaas.
19) Totally tired by now, the first day ends with us slumbering into a coma.
20) Day 2 dawns and to nobody's surprise we get up an hour late. We check out from hotel, have an excellent breakfast from udupi restaurant and are on our way to a jungle safari.
21) When on tour don’t be late is the moral of the story. Safari is over by the time we reach..:(
22) Plan B is Kuruva dweep and believes me, plan B in a place like Wayanad is better than plan A in most places.
23) Kuruva dweep is a series of small islands, with Cauvery water flowing all around. A beautiful place!!
24) We order lunch and plunge in to the water. It is a photographer’s paradise.

25) The best part of Kuruva dweep is that it is not very crowded. We find an isolated spot, take out some ganja and fix two joints. Photos of Shyam smoking his joint...well he looks a pucca addict!

26) Pullachen goes bonkers after his puff. Falling here and there and everywhere. Fortunately he doesn’t break anything. We find a quiet spot for bathing, turns out that it is not so quiet… a girl, her boyfriend and two more guys walk in on our privacy...:( The girl is beautiful so we don’t mind them.
27) All treks I am part of, has this part.... losing our way!!! We wander for two kilometers without a man is sight. This was the "best part of our trip" I, Shyam, pakkan and Aneesh Rajan fall behind... we are high on ganja and walking slow. Shyam starts humming a tune (ee mizhi pozhkayil).... it was FANTASTIC, the tune, our slow easy steps, the rhythm in the song.... we felt completely in "tune" with the surroundings... nirvana!!
29) We take the boat back but Aneesh rajan and Shyam swim across the river at its widest point. Crocodiles in the river were fasting… they reach safely.
30) Absolutely good food when we get back.... with some naadan kozhi kari (chicken curry) thrown in. Again no kallu...:( next time, I am packing toddy from Bangalore!
31) Driver irritates an elephant herd with persistent honking in Nagarhole and waits. An Indica comes behind us and the bull elephant sensing a smaller prey charges it. The madammas in the car are petrified. Fortunately their driver steps on the accelerator and everybody is safe.

32) Stop for beer and food on the Bangalore-Mysore highway. Good beer ok food. Reach back in Bangalore by 11 P.M. Total cost Rs.1050 per head including food**. The experience… priceless!

*Don't try this at home!
*That was because Mohana Kris dished out 100 dollars into the fun account.....:D

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Bicycle diaries

I wasn’t born in the sixties, so I couldn’t take part in India’s Green Revolution. Not one to be left behind, I did my bit for the green stuff this past week by buying a bicycle. “India’s oil import bill will be smaller this year”, I proudly told myself as I pedaled home in my Hercules Turbo Drive 6 gear “mean-machine”.

I don’t know why my tragedies involve Shyam as a rule (maybe he is the tragedy!), anyways this time was no different. Our initial plan was that I would ride up to Nandi Hills and he would ride back since we had only one cycle. Shyam, however vetoed this idea and insisted that we rent a cycle.

(Un-)Fortunately the dealer from whom I got the cycle (R.R cycles, Madivala) generously agreed to rent us a 21 gear cycle and that too free of cost! We started on the morning of Sunday 15 June 2008 at 5:45. The initial part of the ride was terrific, the cold morning air and the free roads were perfect condition for a ride. We made good progress during this time and reached M.G Road (10 K.M from our place) in about half an hour.

Suddenly, our target of reaching Nandi Hills seemed so easy, a mere 50 kilometers more. Both of us were new to gear cycles and the only stops we took were when the chain came off due to our vigorous gear changing. 7:15 A.M, saw us famished and on the brink of cannibalism when we spotted a run down roadside restaurant near Yelahanka. The food however was good and I was glad that I didn’t eat Shyam (Would’ve given me indigestion, no doubt!) By 8:30 A.M we were near the new airport at Devanahalli. Slowly, but surely we were getting tired. We had covered about 50 kilometers by now. This was the high point of our trip.

Our feet started aching like hell. My “thunder thighs” seemed to have lost all their thunder. So, we decided to rest. Which was a good idea, but what we did next was not! We called up every Tom, Dick and Harry to announce that we were just 10 kilometers away from the foot of Nandi Hills and that they were all bike loving, petrol splurging un-patriotic Pakistani spies who should be hanged!

Shyam had this sudden urge to drink a popular apple drink “Appy Fizz” which saw us searching high and low, but to no avail. Finally, when we found the shop that sold it, the bottle had an expiry date on it which was sometime last year!

On this last leg of the “march to Nandi”, we had to stop many times as our tiredness had just shifted gears to exhaustion! One would expect that when somebody reaches a long sought after goal, there would be woops of joy and bursts of cracker or at least a general ululation to the skies. But since we were mature adults, we rode in like zombies. Dog tired zombies!

The time was 11 A.M. By then, Shyam and I were seriously thinking about putting our cycles in the bus and riding back till Hebbal. But as we were seriously discussing about this America-Iraq like problem with ramifications that included starting the third world war, the bus quietly left.

With our bridges burnt, there was no choice but to pedal our way to glory. Steel entered our hearts and we didn’t stop for the next 10 kilometers.
Shyam’s list of woes ran thus
1) A painful (possibly arthritic) knee
2) Shoulder muscles that could be used as jelly
3) A lower back that looked like it never gonna be straight again

But none of the above discouraged him. What however did discourage him was the friction… between his bottom and the cycle seat. The seat was rubbing away at what little he had and this was upsetting him no end. His solution to the problem however showed all the ingenuity of an engineering mind. He filled our small bag with grass, tied the bag on the seat and used it as cushion! The grass was the first martyr of our little green revolution.

My list of woes was plain old leg ache and a thigh that felt like a hundred little men chipping away at it.

Learning1: Heart of steel and legs of water are incompatible.

The last straw on our feeble backs was the wind. It blew as if in the Alchemist and even on downward slopes we had to pedal hard. Finally, after about 10 more grueling kilometers I flopped down on a small road side barrier. This was a terrific co-incidence, coz the last time when we both had tried to walk till Nandi Hills* it was on the opposite side of the road at the very same place that we had flopped down like this!

We swallowed our pride and dialed out to Rajeesh and others to come pick us up. The very same guys whom we had abused on our way here! Yes, God works in strange ways!

Learining2: A tired body has no ego.

Finally it was Kamal who attended our rescue call. But it would take him another hour to reach. During this time we dragged ourselves to the nearest hotel and had our afternoon meal… at 3 P.M. We had cycled 80 kilometers by then, far short of the 120 we planned.

Kamal came in his Maruti Swift, (it has good mileage, else one can only wonder about India’s oil bill!) We had a tough time packing both the cycles into Kamal’s car. Unfortunately, there was no room for us! We had to take a bus back. It turned out to be three busses and an hour and a half journey (No comments about the oil bill)

But our ordeal hadn’t ended, the cycles were taken to Pullachens place in Bellandur and we had to ride back to home from there a good 8 kilometers. We only took the rented cycle back leaving mine at his place. I pedaled half and Shyam pedaled half, with Pullachen kind enough to drop us each on his bike (Oil bills come and oil bills go! Haven’t we in India seen all this, eh?) to our respective destinations.

Finally we made it home and were given a heroes welcome, with dancing girls and free beer… don’t mind me, I am just hallucinating.

I applied some sort of cream on my muscles and on the back side of the tube, it said petroleum something. My last thought, before I fell asleep was… “Screw that bill!”

*Yes, twice we had tried to walk up to Nandi.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Trek to Mukhruthi

A photo in Orkut was the culprit this time. The picture was well taken, with a blue sky background and nothingness in front. It was a girl sitting on top of a mountain. I couldn't resist to scrap how nice the picture looked. She replied, and in a short time I learnt that the place was called Mukhruthi, very near to Ooty. I was hooked immediately. In due time, I got four more guys "hooked" and so was born this trek to Mukhruthi (Date: 12 May 2007 to 13 May 2007).

The trek was conducted by mountaineering adventure sports society. The cost was 2750 rupees including pick-up and drop to Coimbatore, food, guide and lodging. The person to contact would be Frederick Mob No: 09894380167.

The trekkers were
1) Tony Joseph a.k.a Pullachen
2) Abraham Menacherry i.e. yours truly
3) Anish Chandran a.k.a chandru
4) Juwal Bose
5) Anoop H.L Dev a.k.a Hl

The pickup from Coimbatore was at 5:30 A.M in the morning. The duo from Kerala, Juwal and Chandru were far ahead of time reaching Coimbatore by about 2:30 A.M. Hl coming from Madras was also on time. I was the official organizer of the trek, so I had made sure that everyone came on time. The only problem being that Tony and Me, starting from Bangalore for reasons quite beyond our control (read lazy to start in time) were late by about one and a half hours. To our credit we caught the last bus from Bangalore and for the better part of the journey we sat in the cabin/slept on the floor and suffered other such indignities to reach our destination. I was received at Coimbatore with snide remarks on something called punctuality, but I put all such trash talk to rest with a pathetic smile and an arched back (I did not arch it. The bus did that for me).

With the normal dose of leg pulling, gossip and other chit chat we were soon on our way to Ooty. We had two voluntary breaks, one for tea and the second for break fast. Involuntary breaks were on offer due to the heavy traffic to Ooty. A word of advice for anybody traveling to Ooty, for years (decades?) this place has had a traffic problem so it’s better to add some extra time into your planning.

We reached Ooty by 1 P.M in the afternoon late by 3 hours. The person accompanying us from Coimbatore told us that we couldn’t stay in the Mukhruthi fishing hut. It was as per the new forest regulations it seems. We were late, nothing had happened till then and already this bad news! To tell that sprits were a bit down would be perfectly appropriate at this juncture. I was already thinking that this trek was going to be a washout. Fortunately things started to look up the moment we left Ooty.

The route to Mukhruthi is through Ootacamund, Fern hill etc. On this route one can see the famous Good Shepherd School also.
Except for one small photo session along the route we did not stop till we reached a sign board saying "7 kilometers to Mukhruthi". The small problem being that the route was closed. We came back some distance and then stopped at a small cluster of houses and shops in a place called Pothmund. The Pothmund Dam is very near this place, but at that time we did not know it. After much dilly dallying here we were finally given clearance to go to Mukhruthi fishing camp through the jeep track. If we had reached earlier we could have actually trekked this route, but since it was already late we went in our Sumo.

This cobbled muddy and ill-kept jeep route is really an experience to drive on. On the way the going was so slow that we walked along with the jeep and only climbed on after it picked up speed. The darkness set in very suddenly and as if on cue from a horror film director our jeep developed a problem. It was a minor one so our going was not affected too much. The ride was truly cool, on either side stood the eerie dark forest, with all its creaky-croaky sounds. Most of the route was hidden from sight due to the branches jutting out and the thick grass. Anyways after about an hour of this fantastic ride, we reached the fishing hut at last. Only to find that it was locked! Our guide assured us that the key was on the way through the cook and forest guard.

Not wanting to miss an opportunity, we went ahead to scour the surroundings. It was pitch black and we only had our mobile displays to guide us and on top of it, when we were about to leave on this adventurous expedition the guide warned us "Inga tigers erikka, be careful!" We took this new piece of information without batting an eyelid... yeah, I am a good liar! Even though our spirit of adventure was not what it was five minutes back, we decided to press on a little more. My Orkut contact had told me about a brook nearby, about how she could hear the water trickling through it and I was determined to find it somehow. It took us some time to find any sort of route though. It was Anoop who did it in the end, all those night shifts he is doing must be adding to the night vision I guess.

Hardly had we gone ten steps when we came across another ghostly looking house. "Let’s go in and check" I said, "You are crazy!" my friends said. I must be a persuasive guy, coz in two minutes time we found ourselves inside the house. Me being the instigator, I was also given the honor of opening all the doors. Believe me, they creaked and made all kinda funny noises. But I refused to give up my nerve, mainly because I had four equally afraid guys standing behind me and running forward was not an option.

After this we went about finding the promised brook. It was quite nearby and once we got out of the house, we could locate it by the trickling noise. We took some photos at this place, which was a bit tough considering that you couldn’t see anything through the camera. It involved a lot of approximating but in the end we did get one or two good shots.

When we came back, we found the driver and guide still sitting on the verandah waiting for the key. In the end it was decided that Juwal would accompany the guide back to the village to see what happened to the key. In the mean time we found out an outdoor toilet just outside the fishing hut and were busy utilizing this God-send one by one.

Within a short time they came back with the key. Our guide for the next day was one Kishore. He was a B.A in economics and had a colorful career before he dropped everything and started this enterprise. It was a good experience talking with him. Even though alcohol was strictly prohibited we had brought one Johnnie Walker Black Label along. We asked his permission to take a swig, which he graciously gave. I guess good Scotch whisky is what the doctor ordered for these cold conditions. Two shots were enough to keep us warm for the rest of the night. Kishore lit us a small fire in the fireplace but then, that was just superfluous. We had the fire within us already....:)

I have gone to treks earlier and had their food. Mostly it is good, but ALWAYS vegetarian. This was the first exception and I hope not the last. We were given absolutely delicious Chapattis and chicken curry by our cook. It was really very tasty. We were all tired by the day’s adventures and the next day we were supposed to get up at 5:15 A.M for the trekking. So we went to bed and in no time our sonorous (monstrous say some) snores could be heard all round Mukhruthi.

For a change every one got up on time and as requested by Kishore we were all ready by 6:00 in the morning. Unfortunately, the cook was not ready and we had to wait one more hour to get our breakfast and I think this was a crucial mistake on our part. If we had left earlier, I am sure that we would have spotted many more wild animals. Anyways we spent this time taking photos of the fishing hut and surroundings. At 7:00 we finally started off with the trek. Kishore set a very fast pace and he asked us to be quiet so that wild life wouldn’t be scared away. I being the camera man had the unenviable task of taking photographs as well as catching up to the fast pace. Fortunately I was able to manage since the trek was not too tough to begin with.

En-route we came across tiger pug marks. It was a thrilling experience to see it. I am personally very unlucky at spotting any wildlife in my treks. In fact in all my treks put together I have seen nothing more interesting than some antelope and elephant shit. Tiger pug marks were definitely an improvement but hardly close to my day dreams. At this point I dared to hope. I was somehow confident that we would chance to see at least one tiger. This confidence was unfortunately misplaced….:(

Shortly we came upon the catchment area of Pothmund dam and took some great snaps and the Mukhruthi peak also came into view. It looked so far away. But in truth it was not so difficult to reach till there except for a few patches which were steep. On the way we spotted an antelope that ran across our path. But since it happened very fast, I was not able to get a good picture of it. Once we reached the foot of Mukhruthi peak we rested and had some chocolates and glucose for the final effort. It was only reasonably tough and in no time we were on top of the peak. It must be mentioned here that due to the lack of other veteran trekkers like my roomie Shyam, Yours truly had the honor of reaching the top first. Here the most interesting thing that happened was that we saw a small snake "Shangu varayan". As soon as it saw us, it scooted off. Again, another interesting moment came when I asked Anoop to photograph me while sitting right at the edge of a cliff and he stood there contemplating whether he should push me down or take the photo. Luckily for you people he decided the latter and I am still here to write all this trash.

The return journey was a breeze. We were all quite hungry by this time and our snacks had finished except for some bread and butter that we were carrying. We stopped only once or twice to take a few snaps and drink from the brooks here and there. But close to our destination we came back to the catchment area of the dam and decided to take a bath. The most hilarious moment was when Pullachen remarked "da, if they open the dam now, we are all gone cases right?" It took a bit of effort to explain to him that we were "up-dam" and not "down-dam". The cold water had positively made me ravenous and I gorged on what was left of the bread-butter left. By 12:45 P.M we were back at the fishing hut. We had our lunch but somehow it was very much below par. There was only sambar and rice. Our expectations were rather high, based on the previous dinner.

We had successfully completed a 16km trek. In all modesty, based on my Brahmagiri experience I felt it was far lesser than 16km. Others in the team felt the distance was correct. I am still not so sure whether it is actually 8 kilometers one way from the fishing hut to Mukhruthi peak. Anyways, we got an interesting piece of news now. Our jeep had a small problem and it wouldn’t be able to carry all of us along with our baggage. Hence it was decided that we would walk back from the fishing hut to Pothmund village with our cook James. The jeep track was 8km, but James knew a path through the thick jungle which was only 4 km. It was not such a good decision since Anish, who was already tired found it very tough to do this new bit of trekking. Fortunately for him a jeep came along and he was able to go half the distance in it. The rest of us, took the forest path, went to the Pothmund dam and took some photographs (prohibited, but we couldn't resist it!). Later we lost our way but not seriously and in a short time we were back in Pothmund village.

The trek finished here. Lter that day we reached Coimbatore from where we left back to our respective places. We had some more misadventure, but that is better explained here.