Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Get me out of the Jungle

The Team of "Greater Coorg Adventure Trails"

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Team
: Ravi, Anuj, Avinash, Renuka, Nimish, Robert, Kanitha, Oscar, Shanti, Sangeeta, Meg, Aroona, Jigna, Bianca, Kavitha

Route
: Medikeri - Hatiholli - Kotebetta - Kaloor - Vanachalu - Medikeri

Three women hitchhike to the trekking spot after being missed en-route by the rest of the group!! There was a starter to all the many things we did for the 1st time on “Greater Coorg Adventure Trails” a trek of around 70 kms starting from base of Kotebette (1620 Mts) 3rd highest peak of Coorg to the awesome Vanachalu in 4 days was definitely no joke.

An assorted team indeed…3 boys, 3 men, 9 women!!! Loaded backpacks, Multi-terrain (Hills, Slopes, Rock, Streams, Rain Forest, Plantations, Steep decent and ascent, Water Falls) truly everything a trekker want to test. Event though the Trails is a moderate as per the grading, no two people are the same, the objectives, physical and mental fitness each one comes with cannot be standardized.

As we leisurely started the trek at 10 am on 23rd Jan, the first day was much tougher, scaling the beautiful Kotebette took us across fine forest cover, as the sun got brighter we moved up to the top of the peak at around 2.30 pm maneuvering some steep rocky faces. After a well deserved lunch break we headed down to our 1st night camping, the steep decent sent some shivers down the spine and adding to it was a huge pressure on the knees slowing most of us. As it got darker, we decided on a unplanned stay on top of a small hillock, campfire, hot kichidi, papad and good night sleep was all every wanted, so day 1 dawned as smoothly as it could.

Morning was cold; most of us were not prepared for a long long trek that included the last 10% of the previous day. Target was to reach Kaloor camping area by about 3 pm but ended up at 6 pm, with hungry stomachs and tired bodies, hope we could have had lunch in between but reaching the campsite before the nightfall was top priority.

Kaloor campsite was just beautiful, beside the stream; mist cover early morning, as Meg said it looked like Scotland ;) indeed. Camping at Kaloor was fun and cold too; the morning dew made the tents wet and the warmth inside the teams gave rise to vapor making it colder as the day approached. But the tiredness and a need for sleep just did not let a good night sleep getaway.

With some changes here on there, given that all of us were quite worn-out we decide 25th Jan would be the last day of trek, we started off early, climbed some 7 hillocks, trekked the dense jungle downhill with knees and shoulders literally giving away, with all that we still had a smile on the face and time to take pictures or crack a joke or just look around, I guess that is what adventure is, driving yourself to extreme, living on the edge and enjoying the adrenaline rush.

As we reached the day 3 campsite, there was a relief but more importantly a sense of achievement that we could put ourselves through a tough terrain and inhospitable conditions. After bullying our guide Kumar to get some eggs and all that we could not have for the last few days from the market that was 10-15 kms away, we prepared for the final camp. Some of us showered at the falls nearby braving the freezing water. A good long campfire, dinner and some jokes around we retired only to wake up the next day to say good bye.

Special mention of Oscar who helped us to carry the garbage back from each camp till the final camp where it could be disposed properly, making the entire trail truly clean and following “no-trace” policy.

We do hope we at BASECAMP will live up to our vision “Evolve adventure as the most effective learning tool, to revive the spirit of adventure among people from all walks of life, and be environment cognizant”.

-Team BASECAMP
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