Here I go again with another trek experience. This was my second moon light trek. First one, ofcource was more thrilling, as I wasn't aware what was in store for me. Now do not ask me where is the first one.. I would definitely share that with you all in my upcoming posts.
This time, I was a sort of leading the group [don't raise eyebrows..it was just a group of 6 people] and I was the one who had moon light trek experience. [he he he time to raise my collar huh!]
PS: Don't try to ask feedback from other members about my leadership. Negative[Real] comments are never accepted.
Jokes apart. This trek was a memorable one for many reasons:
1. It happened when I was in Bangalore.
2. I had initiated and taken full arrangements of the trek.
3. I was accompanied by my best friends. [Usually I join some other group and try to get accustomed to people and gain friends..Here I went with almost everyone I knew well]
4. Mode of transportation was BIKE. [I am little crazy about bikes: just little??? screams from my friends]
5. No one including me, who was trying to guide the group, knows anything about the route or the place we where trying to trek!
Think this would go on and on and on and I wont write any thing interesting....[So till now was it interesting??? Nice question but I cant comment on myself!]
About Skandagiri: Courtesy: From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Skandagiri is a hill, located approximately 70km from Bangalore city in the Indian state of Karnataka. It is off Bellary Road (NH-7 Hyderabad-Bangalore Highway), and is very close to Nandi Hills and Chikkaballapura. The peak is at an altitude of about 1350 meters, it is every adventurer’s paradise with beautiful night trek, altitude camping, stunning sunrise, and serene and swimming clouds that sometimes limits visibility to just a few meters".
Thanks to Google and and its links. Its from here I managed to get good reviews about the place and also approach to the place. It was just 70kms from the place of our stay and hence we decided to go in bike [Rather I imposed on going in bike when everyone else was suggesting of taking a vehicle]
Note: Of total 7 people, I was the only girl and it was I who wanted a bike drive in the late night.
With all set for the lovely night, I had one of my friend pick me from my office and we dropped in at his home for dinner [Just two of us. We cooked :) ] and bought some last minute requirements like torch, medicines and other stuffs. Medical kit was my responsibility....
From his home we manged to reach the meeting point near Hebbal at around 9.30pm. We were 7 people with 4 bikes. I had insisted on having helmets for each and everyone. I managed to get one for myself from my colleague too [It was too big for me ;) so I never used it and stole muffler and scarf from my friends helping them freeze in cold!] Being a single girl among the group is lot more advantageous. I was really taken care by everyone! ;)
At Hebbal we had our dinner [This is for others....Believe me I dint have dinner again...Next day we don't know when we can have food!] We started our trek around 10.30pm from there. None of us knew the route. We [Rather I ] decided to take one of the 2 routes I managed to get from the site. I took a print out of the same.
The journey was not as simple as I had believed. Till Chikkabalapur it was NH. The highway was good and calm with few heavy vehicles crossing us at some intervals. We had a pleasant and peaceful journey. It was too cold and dark but still we enjoyed. I was with my brother and we sang all our favourite musical numbers. Both of us are great fans of Ilayaraja. Whoever crossed us would have to definitely turn back to have a look at us once more as we were literally shouting at the top of our voice. Never in my life had I dreamt of singing on road in middle of the night.
After reaching certain point where the map had directed us to take a left near to a statue, we felt we were lost. As it was 12.30 when we reached Chikkabalapur we dint have anyone to actually direct us the right path. We literally had to stop and do lot of retracing before getting to some place.
When we changed routes from the main road to off lanes it was too scary [I knew it was for me not sure about others]. Imagine there is silence and darkness around you and you have just your headlights and you travel to an unknown place in unknown path. Even the street lights weren't functional. I had to hold my brother tight in order to relax myself.
We somehow managed to get to place where we found 3 guys standing and talking on the road. I was too enthusiastic and offered to go and enquire them. When I got good stare from everyone was then I realized I was a girl and it was past midnight! Mostly I never felt I am a girl and hate to be constrained because of my gender. They suggested us to retrace the path and take a right. Gosh I never thought that road in the right could be so small. It was more like going inside a small street in at a village. With dogs barking around we went to a spot from where we cant drive anymore. Thus we concluded that either we took a wrong route or those guys were unaware of what we asked.
We decided to go back to the same guys to clarify the route [at least to fight with them for directing us in wrong path... he he Humans always are happy to point out other people's mistake...And even at that middle of night we wished to execute this typical behavior]. This time we thought not to waste petrol [its too much and often increases] and just 2 of us went ahead for enquiry leaving the rest in the middle of the road. We parked the bikes and all sat on the road. My brother even lied flat on the road to take a nap. It was a wonderful night but I wasn't even able to enjoy my favorite moon! What a trip with so much confusions..But to my surprise all others seemed to enjoy. They were even happy to return back home if they don't get clear further directions. They were shouting, making fun and dancing... somehow I dint get to their spree and let myself...[May be I am perfectionist and as the organizer I want the mission to be successful!?!?!?!?]
The two guys came back with a car and asked us to follow the car who would direct us in right path. Now this time we got the correct right which we missed last time and managed to take from there alone as the car went on in another direction. This was smooth until we realized that we are just traveling without any glimpse of target. We parked our vehicles again in a spot where we saw some houses at a distance with lights. One from our group, Srikanth walked past a narrow path which was not even proper for bike and managed to go to one of the houses. He got a guy [Sreedhar] who accepted to be our guide for reaching the mountain base and also to top of the mountain.. Hence by 1.30 we managed to get to the base of the hill. We parked our bikes and started our great journey ahead. From there on it was a wonderful journey. With all my tensions gone I was back to my normal playful girl.
The moon did her job and made our torches [we had around 7 of them] useless. The view of the city through out the path was too good. With few stops [to take rest and catch up breathe.. it was damn too cold man and cold winds just shaking our balance] we managed to reach the top by around 3 am and sighed with relief on the mission accomplished. They had rated the trek as moderate but the entire path was very steep and slippery with nothing near the path to hold and walk. It was like they had made small steps [could be man made but it seemed more to be like naturally created due to the human access to the place] in huge steep rocks.
Sreedhar commented every time we sat for some rest that most of people don't complete the trek as they feel tired in the way, especially if the group had girls. I felt bad and wanted to prove him that his bias on gender basis was not fair. I din't reply to his comment as reality struck me. I just wanted to make sure that there are exceptions too.
At the top there were many such groups. Thanks to God we were not the only crazy people on earth. Sreedhar left us from there saying he had to go back and try for another batch of peaple. Gosh he should really have a great practice to climb up and down the hill just like that. He was just 20 yrs and was still a student doing this part-time to bear his educational expenses. There are many like this around us who earn to live. My silent prayers to his successful life.
It turned out to be a very bad weather and we all were literally freezing in the cold breeze. Me with a sweater, one jerkins and a leather jacket [took from my brother], 2 scarfs [took from my friend] and a monkey cap [he he he I was still shivering and thinking what more can I steal from my co-trekkers.....]. Surprise to find even a shop at such a odd place and at odd timings. The shop was supplying tea and omelet [both of which I wont have :( I neither drink tea nor have egg]. Leaving me on one of the rocks the others went forward to have something hot.
Note:The shop keeper lives down the hill and this shop is functional only on weekends. He says in weekends he is really able make a good profit. [Why not with so many people coming over there and with monopoly he can definitely earn more].
He also sold raw materials for setting up born fire. It costs around Rs 70. I still wonder on what basis this amount was fixed. But for that moment it was a mandatory for us.The fire was really helpful. So the rest of the night passed on keeping the fire alive rather keeping ourselves alive. [we had to buy it twice for keeping it live through the night]
Around 6.30am we could see the sun showings its traces of trying to rise up. We also noticed that the number of persons to view the same had also increased. We should be around 150 people say... One group even manged to burst crackers and rockets as the sun started to rise. This was the moment we had expected for and taken such a great mission. It was too good. This place is supposed to be above cloud 9 [That is what it is referred as]. To our dismay there weren't much clouds due to heavy breeze. But was a blessing in disguise as it was really awesome to have moon in one horizon and sun on the other in a pretty clear sky.
We were there till 7.30 and decided to start walk back. The way back was not that way difficult and we managed to do it in an hour. This is when we saw the way in which we had waded through in the night without knowing what is there awaiting us. It was indeed a nice trek. Once down the hill we headed back to banglore with a heavy heart which was no more ready to carry our body...