Trekking the ‘Green Carpet’ — Kudremukh — 10th Dec
As the tempo steered its way along the winding curves, I heard someone yell, “Puncture”. Amidst pitch darkness, I tried to make out the road ahead through the tempos beam. The snores from fellow travellers that had kept me awake the whole night, were now the only signs of life around me. “Wow, Just Great!!!”, I muttered to myself, wondering if it had been a right (read, reckless) decision to go on a trek and bear the brunt of ditching my friends (yet again).
On Friday, thirteen trekkers (:O) started towards Chikmanglur district, where the Kudremukh village is located. It had been a tiring week and I was thrilled about leaving the din of the city and going on a trek with Bangalore Trekking Club (BTC). Such is the love of Monisha (the organizer) for this horse faced peak, that she has been doing an annual trip to this green carpet for the past five years !!! At an altitude of 1892 meters above sea level, this peak is the third highest in Karnataka and is well known as the green carpet. While its name literally means, horse face, we unleashed our creativity on how the peak resembled to each of us !!!
The ghats famous curves rocked the tempo like a baby before it came to a halt. Punctured tyres were the last thing I needed and yet, they were there for a reason. Too bored to sit still I decided to walk a little, while the group huddled around. That was when I noticed the sky, and fell in love with the STARS.
The sky was lit with millions of stars that shimmered with hope and filled me with joy. Gazing at the Milky Way and trying to recall names of the constellations, I knew at that moment, what Watterson had meant and kept wondering about how different the night sky looked in Bangalore. Two hundred miles away from home, I found solace in a starry sky and a punctured tyre.
The tempo came to a halt again, for different reasons though. We indulged in chai and kaapi while petting the dogs, after which we trekked to the homestay. It was a serene morning, filled with occasional sounds and lush greenery. The mist obscured our vision of the peaks, while the sun traversed though the clouds. I saw step farming being implemented and it brought back memories from school.
Crossing streams and walking uphill we finally made it to the homestay. A two-hour trek that had warmed us up, but our stomachs growled in hunger.
After a quick breakfast of rice balls, we started trekking to Bavikonda. It was an uphill trek starting with a detour from our homestay. The path was mostly rugged and narrow, and once in a while, we walked through a grassland. The scorching sun made the trek difficult for me and I had to take breaks in between before resuming.
The views from the top were spell-bounding and we basked in the midday sun, munching on snacks and discussing the plan for the next day. Lunch comprised of delicious homemade food that calmed our stomachs but nothing could beat the joy of splashing in a waterfall after being scorched in the sun. The waterfall was about three minutes away from the homestay and we could constantly hear the burble of water. The cold water sent shivers down my spine, and strangely rejeuvenate the soul. Lying on the rocks listening to the water splash was soothing. But then such joys were short-lived when co trekkers found indigenous ways to scare me. I had spotted an eight-foot snake on our way to the waterfall and a guide at the homestay said it was a water snake. No one dared to take a shorter route. Life’s way of telling dangers lurk in the ‘easy’ paths.
After a couple of games of UNO, and narrating ‘true’ ghost stories around the bonfire, we had akki roti with chicken curry. Needless to say, it was yummy on the tummy. A walk underneath the stars and we called it a night, for we had a big day ahead.
It rained during the night and the temperatures dropped. The cold made it hard for me to sleep and I practically walked from one end of the room to the other until a scared soul flashed a torch in my face.
If the nights were studded with stars, the mornings beamed with the sun kissing the hills and the trees eavesdropping. After a quick breakfast of pulao, a couple of stretches and our day pack in hand, we set about on the trek to Kudremukh.
After having our bags searched for plastics (if any) we started towards the peak. All through the trek to Kudremukh, one would come across seven or eight streams, so it’s no wonder that there was always the distinct noise of water burbling across the rocks. It helped that we didn’t have to carry two litres but instead could resort to filling it up in the streams. The path initially was through a forest with trees that blocked the sunlight, and then gave way to grasslands.
We trekked during the month of December and the trek had a multitude of colours which ranged from green trees to pink grasslands, clear blue skies to rocky brown ascents. The peak had different hues of green and was a photographers delight. During one of our breaks, we spotted a giant squirrel and a deer.
We rested for a while, had lunch and started on our descent. Trekking teaches a lot of life lessons. One of those, “Don’t burn yourself trying to finish the ascent. The descent is equally important” And I learnt it the hard way !! Sore knees and ankle twists, my joy knew no bounds when I finally made it to the homestay. Had it not been for the support from fellow trekkers and Monisha, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make it back.
After a hot shower and a furious amount of packing (how do bags weigh heavier after a trip ?), we set about to Annapurneshwari temple at Horanadu. December, known as the Karthika Maasam meant the temple was filled with lit lamps (diyas) and was a sight to watch. The diety looked serene and beautiful and I felt at peace.
We had dinner (delicious food and professionally served) and then headed back to Bangalore. The return journey included a fight over who gets the bigger share of the Neer dosas at a dhaba, whilst pulling each other’s leg and trying to get some shut eye (‘Monday blues’)….
This trek taught me lessons and gave me memories to cherish forever. While Watterson sure had a great deal of insight, it took a punctured tyre and a lush green carpet for me to realize that life is not all about ‘meeting’ deadlines.
Till then, Cya :)