Ever since I had conquered the toughest mountain climb of South India Kumara Parvata, I was planning for another affair with mountains. And barely a month later I was up for Kodachadri. From what I heard was that this trek would be a cake's walk in comparison to KP, it wasn't supposed to be. It was challenging with rains, leeches and steep climbs adding to the challenge which I thoroughly enjoyed and I guess at the end of the day we all enjoyed.
Again enrolled with BMC (Bangalore Mountaineering Club) with a couple of office friends and to my good surprise the guide who was a part of KP trek was accompanying us. Since almost 40 people had enrolled for this we had 3 tempo travelers. We boarded our respective tempos on Friday night (10:00 P.M) and then what followed was absolute craziness. I haven't seen anyone drive like this man before. In our tempo we were all kept on the edge of our seats by his erratic but skillful driving and by the time we reached our base camp (6:30 A.M) almost no body in our tempo had slept. When we just enquired about the driver we were told that his name was Mental Madhu and he enjoyed driving like this. Anyway having that lucky feeling of being safe we all freshened up and had our breakfast. The home stay was atypical of the western ghats - pipe connection from running stream, ample gardening around the house, first-class hospitality and tasty breakfast.The freshness of the air, the smell of the soil and the overnight rains had just made the base camp so wonderful and we knew great things were ahead of us. After a small ice breaking session with all the trekkers we started over climb towards the peak at 9:30 A.M
|Ice breaking session before the trek|
|Atin crossing the stream|
|The advent of the Rain showers|
We were immediately treated with fallen trees covered with moss and flat mushroom, ferns, new leaves sprouting, fallen leaves, noisy insects, leeches, etc. There was a bit of humidity too. Soon we spotted wild frogs famous around these areas. Some were dark brownish, some like a chameleon sporting mix of light brown and tinge of green similar to the muddy path we were treading on. Beautiful wild flowers completed our blessed experience.And as expected the rain showers came too to make it a messy but a wonderful experience. People who had come prepared with raincoats used them and others without had to use the polythene caps. I had an umbrella which I gave to one of my fellow trekkers. It took us another 45 minutes or so to cross the forest with its slippery paths punctuated with thin streams and wilderness all around. We came out on a wide grassland with beautiful view of mountain ranges covered mostly with thick trees all around us. We took the opportunity to rest and remove leeches, and yeah most important of all - taking snaps. The coordinators pointed some peak having patch of grass surrounded by thick forest as part of our route - but there wasn't any distinct shape to be able to remember. As we started again and crossed the grassland, we came across villages with green cultivation all around. Crossing the fields, the forests started again - this time with plenty of short waterfalls and wide streams.After about 20 minutes, we came across the most dangerous part of our trek - crossing a bed of rocks made slippery by water flow. Two huge fallen trees were our support and even then crossing was dangerous. It took about 20 minutes for our entire group to get through it. It was immensely dangerous those minutes of the trek. I being very excited ran to the front, falling and crawling but nothing could have dampened my spirits then.
|Leech Removal and Photography ;)|
We now had to steadily climb around the edges of the mountain having thick cover of forest interspersed with waterfalls. I kept on bathing in the waterfalls that came across my way only to know that none of them was the real waterfall. I trekked bare foot after that because I didn't want to waste time in wearing and removing my footwear. After another 20 minute hike, we finally reached the main attraction of the trek - Idlumane falls and what a pretty sign it was. The joy on our faces knew no bounds. It was simply breathtaking. Since it was monsoon season, there was enormous supply of water-flow and certainly gushing and icy cold, even at 12:00 A.M. The pure and cold water doesn't need a second invitation - one simply shouldn't miss it. The force of the water felt as if being barraged by bullets. And of course, it was the much needed massage for journey ahead.
After the refreshing bath, we climbed further up through the winding forest. At one spot, coordinators had to climb up first and lend support for us to go ahead. I was exhausted to a great extent after the 45 hr long stay under the waterfall. For the first time during the trek so far, we got tired and our legs pained from steady and steep climbing. At around 1 P.M we finally left behind the last of our forest trekking and that meant that the leeches were left behind too for the time being. But more steep climb awaited us through the grasslands.
|Out of the Waterfall and forest -> Step slope awaits us|
After a bit of up and down between hills and a sighting of Kodachadri with its jeep tracks opposite our hill, we settled down to have lunch on a rocky bed with a stream nearby. The stream was actually flowing under the rocks before breaking out and forming a small pool and allowing trees to grow around it. Anyone having extra eateries shared it across the group - another highlight point of our awesome togetherness. Lunch was finished in a jiffy and within the hour we were up again towards our destination. After another huffing and puffing climb for 15 minutes, we joined the jeep tracks of Kodachadri. The view from the tracks was again exhilarating, the scenery enriched with misty clouds now starting to engulf all around. The Sun though continued to play hide and seek. The photography sessions followed.
|Lunch at the swampy lands :)|
It was close to 4:30 P.M. To be frank I had lost count of hours since it was the least of my concerns then. The winding jeep tracks were boring after having trekked through the forests, but they did provide us breath-taking views of misty covered hills and forests and gorges and guest houses. We went to a temple atop the Kodachadri Peak, had some snacks and were on our way back to base camp. It starts raining very heavily and rain coat was no protection either but now we hardly cared about anything. We had conquered Kodachadri and were joyous of that fact. We reached the base camp at around 6:30 P.M
|Group Pic at the Temple|
|Near the base camp after finishing the Trek|
We might have called it a day from trekking perspective. But back in the home stay, we settled nicely for another round of gossiping while dinner was being prepared. We enjoyed hot and nourishing dinner and went to sleep. The sleeping bags were perfect in protecting us from the cold as well as varied insects. We got up around 7-8 A.M in the morning and after having a refreshing breakfast we left for Nagara Fort on our way back to Bangalore. The fort was ruined yet beautifully maintained with greenery all around. It was amazing to think what people achieved in construction in those days without all the automated machinery of today. We spent around 50 minutes to see the entire fort. Loads of discussion took place in my Tempo, ranging from Indian states to psychology to Hindi, Kannada and Tamil songs and what not and when we were close to Bangalore we had the antakshari to sum up a wonderful experience.