Thursday, September 14, 2017

152) Jenukkalu & Deepadakallu Betta Trek: (8,9,10/9/2017)


Place: Jengal & Digal betta trek
Distance: 250kms x 2 = 500kms
Total Trek Distance (time): 20-25kms (6-8hours. Ours came upto 5hours)
Directions: Bangalore > Kunigal > Hassan > Sakleshpura > Hanbal > Jenukkalu & Deepadakallu
Krew: Prashanth (Pach) > Sukesh (Banda Bro) > Nitya (Don) > Sujan (Suz)  > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar (2)                                                             
Previous Visit: Nidagal Betta trek
Budget: Rs 5500/head

IN LESS THAN 50 WORDS:
Alright, this was an amazing trek to start things off in Western Ghats. Jenukallu and Digallu are known as the twin peaks of the western ghats and can be covered within a day. Crashing at a super duper homestay with good’ol friends made our 3 day trip a very memorable one. I’ve kept the article short and concise, so here goes nothing!

INTRO & PLAN:
With Nitya returning back to India after a year from Switzerland, it was only right to plan a re-union of our batch mates. Initially a 2 day trip to Horsley Hills was planned but since we couldn’t get rooms we decided to head out to the Western Ghats. Pach, Sukhi, Nitya & Suz were on the confirmed list. Monday (4th Sep) we found a nice home stay, applied leave for Friday and froze the plan. We were little worried about the heavy rains that was shaking Bangalore.
TIME: 22:00 (7/9/2017)


ASSEMBLE & LEAVE:
Yeah I was up at 04:30,  peaked outside – no rains, whew!, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to music for some time. Woke everybody up, and once the sky was clear we left our respective homes to assemble at the Hassan deviation from Tumkur road. Greeting each other, we took off from Nelamangala. 
TIME: 07:30

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Nelamangala  - Kunigal – Hassan – Sakleshpura – Hanbal - Jengal)
This was 250kms ride mostly on highways. As we left Nelamangla, we cruised at a decent pace to pull over at a new hotel Annapoorna hotel at 8:30AM, right next to Golden Breeze for yummy breakfast. After which we rode pretty much on god mode to reach Hassan with 2 intermittent stops.


The Hassan-Sakleshpura road was a total nightmare to ride on as it was filled with potholes and rash buses. We cruised our way and rode past Sakleshpura at noon. Here we took a call to skip Manjarabad Fort and settled in for lunch at 13:00.
Post lunch, the search for homestay began. We reached Hanbal and the one by one, our phones began to lose signal. Using a BSNL phone, we called up the owner and asking for directions from locals we reached the awesome place. Oh yeah, we bought some juice on our way to the place :P
TIME: 15:00

    

JENNUKAL HOME STAY:
We arrived at the homestay and good thing no other visitors were present. We had the entire estate stay to ourselves. We freshened up and as we didn’t have any other plans we opened the bottles and crashed in the corridor outside embracing the cold that had begun to set in. Kushan who was appointed as our care taker became more of a friend among us and provided us with snacks on regular intervals.  The homestay is about 110years old and is located amidst thick plantations. With no phones for 3 days we knew we would have a wonderful time.


Evening we went down for a campfire, and continuing the session we spoke to Kushan about the Jenukkal trek. He said he had been atop once and many years back, so we requested him to tag along us with his dog Pintu. Kushan also told we could go for a small trek to Aarekallu gudda within the estate itself first thing tomorrow morning as a warm up. After a few more rounds we had dinner and crashed.
TIME: 23:45

   

DAY 2 – The Reckoning Day!
PREPERATION:
No prizes for guessing who was up first. Yup, was up by 4AM, and realised it was raining outside. As it continued to pour outside, I began pouring inside and went out and sat in peace. With others awake after 3hours we were set for Aarekallu trek.
The trek was a decent one that begins with an initial walk through the estate and then involves a rock climb beside a stream of water. This was quite challenging as the rock phase was slippery. Once on top we got a wonderful view of the Jenukallu peak and then I realised I was wrong in thinking that Jenukallu was a small hillock. The thing looked freaking huge and this only got my energies up and thoughts calm at the same time. We returned back to the homestay to find a few leech attacks, with a leech repellent arranged, we had an awesome breakfast and with the lizard’s spirit burning bright within us, we were all set to conquer the mighty peak.
TIME: 11:15


JENUKALLU BETTA TREK:
Alright, the trek proved to be a thrilling one. Non-tiring but intense and super. It took us all 2hours to reach the top of Jenukallu, “us” here includes the people and the 3 estate dogs hehe.  One of them was that short but long one, he looked the most innocent but damn funny.

As we left the estate, we tucked our pants into our socks applied the leech repellent and began the walk through the plantations. Slowly the plantations faded and we found ourselves getting into thicker forest. We could spot a few streams and had to cross them.  The forest came on us dense, and as wild boars and elephants resided in them we were cautious in every step we took and with dogs ahead checking the way, we did our parts to ensure we were an awesome team.
TIME: 12:15

   

The forest left us into an open grassland were got a clear glimpse of the peak. Mist shrouded peak looked wonderful but sent mighty chills down our spines. Then we began a steep ascent holding tight onto the grass, the air was so fresh, I think I was high. The steep ascent in the grasslands helped us cover good ground in terms of altitude. We could see a beautiful waterfalls afar, a breath-taking scene it was.

The trek continued through pleasant grasslands and finally ended up at the final ascent. Here we all sat down and relaxed. The view was simply exhilarating, the poor short dog came and sat beside me, when I tried to pull it near, the poor thing felt like an over-heated processor. Taking advantage of its height it sat amidst the dew holding grass to cool itself down. (if u ask me this was the funniest and best part of the trip hehe!)

As we began the final stretch, the misty winds began to cover the top as though welcoming us to the peak. It felt quite dangerous at this point of time. The path turned narrow and we proceeded calmly amidst the howling winds to reach the top of Jenukallu peak.
TIME: 13:00

TOP:
At the top, we sat down. It was a small footprint, there was a small nandi well buried into the earth. The dogs had little water at this point and we were surrounded with a blanket of mist and nothing was visible. The outline of Ethina Bhuja appeared for a few seconds before being swallowed up by the mighty fog. We realised it would be suicide if we stayed any longer at the place, we decided to venture to Deepadakallu from Jennukallu – peak to peak!
TIME: 13:30

JENUKALLU TO DEEPADAKALLU TREK:
This was descent trek, more of a walk, it took us 45mins from Jenukallu to Digallu. But to start things of we had to descend Jengal severely in terms of altitude to reach a flat land. This was insanely steep and the misty winds made it horror show. This part we executed with extreme caution and holding on tightly to the sturdy grass.

   

Once we reached the flat land, the mist began to disappear as though again saying tata to us hehe! The sun was up and the weather turned pleasant. The walk was a long one, our energies had begun the downward journey and we finally touched the Digal peak. The peak covered in mist began to fade with the sun’s rays fallin over it. It was the opposite welcoming hehe! We sat here for few minutes, had few chocolates. The dogs gave us startling looks wondering where all these bafoons were taking them haha. After sometime we decided to head back down as it was via a different route and was getting late.
TIME: 14:30

  

DESCENT:
The descent like said earlier was via a different route. This was a pleasing stretch. We kept looking back at Digallu and it looked amazing as we kept taking a step farther away from her. The view all around was lit with only one colour – green green green. And finally Ethina bhuja made her appearance afar. Promising her a visit in the coming months we marched on further.
Finally reaching flat lands we entered back into the forests and 3 dogs were running all around us, who were walking like zombies. We found a nice stream which had super cold and fresh water. We relaxed here for sometime and then proceeded as out tummies had begun to growl. After a long walk we finally made it back to the homestay and the owner welcomed us with a yummy lunch.
TIME: 16:15

HOMESTAY:
He told us that we were the first batch from his homestay after the re-opening in 2012 to climb the hillock. Even though we were tired, two horns shot up our head and we wore a proud wicked smile to embrace the compliment. After which, we went back and had a nice hot bath and slept for a while. Wait, hang on, I got up in like 30mins and began pouring again hehe.
Late evening it started raining making the weather ideal for a good long session. As everybody were tired, some crashed early, Kushan, Nitya & me sat outside until 11:30PM and decided to crash as well as day 3 would be hectic.
TIME: 00:15

  

DAY 3 – RIDE BACK
And the award for the early bird goes to? Yeah, was up again at 4:30, went on pouring and trying to awake others. Finally went outside and sat staring deep into the woods. It was a liberating experience. Finally when Kushan arrived at about 6AM, we sat and spoke for an hour or so, when others started waking up. We had a round of coffee, freshened up and went for the breakfast. Once done with breakfast we cleared the amounts and thanked Madan (owner) and Kushan (friend) for taking care of us like family and said tata unwillingly to this wonderful place.
TIME: 10:15

RIDE 2: (Jengal – Abbi Gundi falls – Sakleshpura – Hassan – Kunigal – Bangalore )
This was a decent ride back. We were only worried about getting caught in the ruthless rain that had shattered Bangalore for the past two days. As we left Jengal, we rode into Abbi gundi waterfalls for a short visit.

Once out of there, it was a no non-sense ride until Sakleshpura. Then on it was a damn tiring and irritating ride to Hassan considering the traffic and the road conditions. As we reached Hassan which happens to be Sujan’s hometown as well (remember the Shettihalli church!?)  we met his mom and then proceeded toward Bangalore.

  

The ride was in full flow, when our tummies began yelling at us. So we pulled over at Murali Military Hotel for some yummy lunch at 2PM. Then on the ride was paced well, but our bodies had begun to falter. As we approached Solur dark clouds came all over us and showered us with some light rain, nothing serious. We actually enjoyed the rain, but only worry was, if it intensified. But as we reached Nelamangala, the weather turned very pleasant and the sun was up. We all pulled over at the NICE road junction on Tumkur road. Nitya departed directly, we 4 took the NICE road and reached our homes respectively.
TIME: 17:00

CONCLUSION:
This will be one of the most cherished chapters. It was a great re-union and loved the way we started the march into the Western Ghats. Twin towers captured! And not only the home stay and its location but the care takers were amazing. Loved every bit of the trip! \m/
If you are planning to head out this side, drop me a mail or message so that I can hook you up with the same home stay.
Until next time, Cia \m/


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

151) Nidagal Betta Trek: (26/8/2017)


Place: Nidagal betta trek
Distance: 200kms x 2 = 400kms
Directions: Bangalore > Dobbaspete > Madhugiri > Pavagada > Nidagal
Krew: Aditya (Adi) > Ashok (Momz) > Deepak (Deefu) > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar                                                                   
Previous Visit: Huliyurdurga trek
Budget: Rs 600/head

IN LESS THAN 50 WORDS:
Alright, we knew this would be a little tiring trek, as Nidgal Betta is situated 200kms one way from Bangalore. But, this chapter turned out be a super tiring AND a super duper trek. The trek is one of the longest done till date. It was like a never ending walk to the clouds. The nature of climb is very similar to Kunti Betta, Tadiyandmol & Skandagiri.

INTRO & PLAN:
After the completion of the 150th chapter we did plan for the next couple of weeks. But when all that failed to materialize, we decided we capitalize on the long weekend which marked the end of August. Nidagal was the destination and very less info is available on this place, told the others it was clearly about going there and actually exploring. Adi, Deefu & Momz were on the confirmed list.
TIME: 22:00 (25/8/2017)


ASSEMBLE & LEAVE:
Yeah I was up at 04:30, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to music for some time. As the ride was pretty far we had decided to leave early & assemble at our regular hotel 50kms away from Bangalore.
TIME: 06:15

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Dobbaspete – Madhugiri – Pavagada - Nidagal)
This was a 200kms surprisingly butter smooth ride. We had expected the roads to be filled with those multiple road breakers, but all were demolished and the ride felt awesome. Anyway as we left Bangalore, Adi & me left on time and cruised along Tumur road at a decent pace to reach our regular hotel. After some time Deefu & Ashok arrived as well and we belted down on some yummy breakfast.
TIME:  07:30


After the breakfast, we walked out for some light tea and we came with a concrete plan to ride 50kms and pull over for a short break. It was the only way, the day wouldn’t feel dead tiresome. So, we decided next stop would be Madhugiri (100kms) after that Pavagada (150kms) and then we ride into Nidgal and take it down.
We stuck to the plan pretty solidly as well. As we took the deviation from Dobbaspete the traffic thinned down pretty quick. The roads were wide and surprisingly all the horrible speed breakers were demolished. This made riding easy and a bliss. We cruised away in 80’s negotiating every curve with joy. Saying hi to Channarayanadurga, we crossed Madhugiri and decided to pull over for the first stop.
TIME: 09:30

We stretched out and were taking a break, when momz was the only one busy removing the tool kit from the enfield and heading towards its brakes. Deefu and me looked at each other totally puzzled, we were wondering if he was trying to remove the brakes off the bike as the traffic was very thin hehe. He adjusted the brakes and we took off in full force one again.

    

Saying hi to Medigeshi, Madakasira we reached Pavgada. Here there was some festival and hence the entire town was flooded with people. Asking the locals for directions we continued further and made it out of the town. Then we found the route towards Nidagal and rode on at a slower pace top pull over for one final time. Here Momz opened his can of Whoop-ass jokes and choked us with laughter.


The last stretch to Nidgal was through villages and forests, but the hillock was freaking huge and could be spotted from way back. The terrain was both mud road and well laid tar roads but the surrounding began to quieten down and we began the drift into tranquillity. We reached the first temple and could not find anybody around, we made it to the second temple spoke to the priest and getting to know the direction to head up, we parked the bikes, kept our helmets in the temple, awoke the lizard king’s within each of us and were ready to conquer this mighty beast!
TIME: 11:45


NIDAGAL BETTA TREK:
As we began the trek up the peak looked farther than we thought. Good thing was we hadn’t come expecting it to be a short or long trek so, we had no further thoughts other than to reach the top, come what may!  It took us 2hours to reach the top and it proved to be quite tiring.  The nature of climb could be compared to that of Kunti betta or Skandagiri but a little harsher on the body.
Like always, have divided this long trek into three stages
i)    Initial Stretch – to the first fort wall
ii)   Middle Stretch – to the settlement
iii)  Final Stretch – to the summit
So, those were the stretches, now I shall describe each one of them, so keep up with here:

i) Initial Stretch: (To the first fort wall)
Alright it, this was the easiest of stretches. And the quickest one to complete as well. We locked the summit into our minds and didn’t waste much time finding the initial trail. The priest had pointed afar a fort wall to reach and we intended to do that as a part of the first phase. Once we found the trail there were neatly laid rocky pathway with steps here and there which lead us directly to the fort wall. The temple was already afar.
TIME: 12:00

      

ii) Middle Stretch: (To the settlement)
This stretch is little more substantial. It’s of easy difficulty but one must be aware of the gravel sand and the more importantly white stones which are extremely slippery. This took us a lot of time, as it had a lot of steps kind. It took a big toll on our knees and we rested few times.
The ascension stated becoming steep and tricky at spots, it was a real joy to execute these phases. The clouds did shower us with light curtains of rain a couple of times, which got us worried initially but we decided to enjoy it. We also spotted a lot of caves and shelters with ancient game boards carved into stones. Finally be made it flat land to spot the old granaries and settlements. We decided to check this out latter and finish of the final stretch.
TIME: 13:00

iii)  Final Stretch: (To the summit)
The final stretch to the summit proved to be a perfect endurance tester. We were tempted to explore the settlements, but with summit still pending we decided to push ourselves and reach the top before the clouds could catch up. This stretch was pretty steep and slippery. On a rainy day it would be best to avoid these stretches. Gripping onto protruded roots, grabbing hold of boulders with fingers, sticking our hand into the soil, we pulled ourselves up step by step. After a point of time we infact stopped looking for the summit and kept climbing like zombies and paying attention just to our next step, hoping the summit would show up soon. But never did that happen, the trail went to going up and up. The base temple was become insignificant as the minute passed finally a call came through from Momz, “Momz, finished”. I was the last to reach, the fever had increased and the knees had begun to shiver.
TIME: 13:30

    

TOP:
We explored the top and trust me it is a small place with just a small Nandi shrine. The scenery all around was just amazing. One of clouds had just burst over a certain region and the surroundings were basking in the sun. We decided to crash to replenish by energy levels. It was deep slumber and once we woke up, we could see some more dark clouds approaching afar. We had one look around took a deep breath and decided to head back down.
TIME: 14:00

   

DESCENT:
The descent was a quick one and easy to start off with. We glided, slid, hovered our way down with ease. One thing we made extra sure is to get a firm gripping on the very next step as every slip would have cost us. In about 15-20mins we were down the final stretch and entered the old granaries and settlement area. There were ruins of ancient temples and old building all around us. But the most significant find was the two cannons that lay scattered in this area.
TIME: 14:30

After spending a good amount of time, we decided to head back. From here on descent was non-stop and pretty well paced as we could see the dark clouds catching up. We wanted to get off a white rock phase (slippery as crazy) before it would start pouring. Even though it was well paced it sapped out a lot of energy and we reached the first fort wall. As we walked on the stony path to the temple afar, down came on us, the rains mercilessly. Nope, we didn’t run for cover, we were pretty much on buffalo mode, legs pretty much busted and drained out of all the sap. We just walked in the rain like peaceful buffalo's assuring each other anyway we wanted to wash our faces at the temple hehe. 

    

When we were just about to reach the temple, we turned to have one last look at the summit. The sight was amazing and intimidating at the same time. The summit was shrouded in complete mist. We wondered how it must be like to get stranded on top under such circumstances.
TIME: 15:15
We made it to the temple, thanked the priest for looking after the helmets. Asked him the direction to the water tank, filled in our bottles and decided to head back. The plan was made clear and simple just like the ride to the place.
TIME: 15:30

    

RIDE 2: (Nidagal – Pavagada – Madhugiri – Dobbaspete – Bangalore)
The ride back was again was well constructed and smooth. The plan was to stop at Pavagada for lunch, then at Madhugiri, following which was Dobbaspete and finally Bangalore. The 50kms stretch rule at its best execution.
AS we left Nidgal, the rains got pretty heavy but we rode to the forests of Pavagada and made it to the highway. From then on we cruised along seamlessly along the brilliant curves. Then Adi’s pull over got caught in my back tyre and rattled the entire bike and tore of the mud guard. We called the other two back, by then I had removed a knife and was half way chopping it off. With the tools in hand, we ripped open the mud guard and threw it aside and continued to reach Pavagada for some Andhra meals.
TIME: 16:30

After a heavy meal we fuelled up as we knew it would be a focused and no nonsense ride. As we left, it started raining pretty heavy, Deefu and I looked at each other and with a thumbs up going up in synch we decided to ride on. Both of us love to ride in rain. The roads were clear and we kept a decent pace and zoomed past Madakasira, Medigeshi to cruise into Madhugiri. Once we were out of Madhugiri we decided to pull over for the scheduled break. Here a funny incident happened.
Once we got off our saddles and stretched out, had some water and chocolates, a question struck me. I turned to Momz and asked him the inevitable question “momz, which is the hillock we had been to for today?” as the blankness began to descend on his face so did the choking laughter on us. With Madhugiri right behind us, he made a good attempt and said “Madhukkal” Hahaha! Momz is Momz!
TIME: 18:00

   

Finally we got back on and idea was to reach the Tumkur highway before the sunset. Then Deefu and I again kept a good pace and started riding in full swing. The sun was almost down on the right horizon. The mountains, trees and fields looked as though they were lit on fire. It was a beautiful ride trust me! When we were 10kms from Dobbaspet, the darkness descended and the road wasn’t one of the most rider friendly. As we closed by Dobbaspete, we could see a lot of wet puddles on the road, the rains had just passed we realised. We crossed the town and pulled over at a hotel for some hot lemon tea.
TIME: 19:15

After the tea we felt refreshed but knew we had a good 50-60kms still to go. We started of slow but dwelled into the normal riding pace, and sneaking in between cars and trucks we rode at a pretty good pace to reach the NICE road entrance on Tumkur road. Thanking each other for making it for the day, Adi & myself took the NICE road were as Ashok & Deefu continued to reach our respective homes.
TIME: 20:30

CONCLUSION:
this was, one crazy way to start this new phase! A 400kms ride and a pretty long trek isn’t an easy piece to swallow. And the kind of trek it was, whew! IT was amazing and satisfied us all to the core. But what I loved best was the way we paced the trip and more importantly executed the plan to almost perfection. Loved it! \m/
Until next time, Cia \m/


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