Monday, December 25, 2006

Ombattu Gudde – One neat trek!


The troupe consisted of Reem, Santana, Venkat & Rohit. Well Reem initially wanted to make the Kodai-Munnar trek, but I managed to convince her for this trek. Well Reem had flown all the way from Dubai. Shantanu accompanied Reem. Venkat was one of my old trek mates. The long Christmas weekend was chosen as we had 1 day to spare incase we got lost, as old pals in their previous attempt had taken 3 days after having lost their way. Besides there is a history of 3 trekkers who got lost in the same Shiradi Ghats a few months ago.

After meeting up at Majestic bus stand we realize that all busses are full with no room to accommodate 4 people in any bus heading past Gundia junction on NH 48 [The trek begins 2km from here]. We ended up taking private transport which cost us 250! (That was quite expensive ..:); KSRTC would cost 150).

Trek begins:
We touched down on Gundia 6am. We started off with the trek after a brief break soon after entering the village limits of the Shiradi Ghats beside the river. By 10 am we made it to the first river crossing. We stopped by for breakfast and a long break taking a lot of snaps and resumed trek till we hit a fork. The one that goes left takes us to the Ombattu Gudde, the other takes us to the river. We continued our trek, the trail often vanishes and re-surfaces suddenly.

Trails of confusion:
The confusion starts soon after hitting the last source of water. Here there are neither visible trails nor any clue.  You will need to open your compass box and start heading in North or 30Degrees north East. Initially you could climb up the water stream vertically up till you realise you are find various forks of dried up streams. Take the one that takes you north till the trail vanishes. At this point you need to cut through shrubs and thorns to get on top of Obattu Gudde ridge. As you get closer to the top the climb gets steeper and you need to grip on to whatever you find. We occasionally slipped and found things to grab onto. We made it to the ridge at 17:00 hours. We had no choice but to halt for the night and start collecting wood for forest fire and flattening ground for pitching the tent.

Sounds of horror:
Shantu who enjoyed the maximum sleep made sure we kept guarding the tent by occasional grunts and snores. It got on Reem’s nerves at times… Venkat our sleep talker had a lot of office thoughts was working hard on some “Department ID”. It was actually an interactive discussion we participated in his discussions. The guy even mistook Reem to be his darling… :p his words were however coded in Tamil, none of us knew it and he was lucky to get away with it.
Reem had to keep someone awake on guard, well Rohit had to stay awake, and Reem had interesting stories that got over by 1am. I got sleep for 2 hours and got back into guarding. Shantu preferred to sleep with the snakes got to the darkest of places to guard or what I don’t know :) I had to keep calling on him, till Reem woke up and got him back to visibility. The camp fire was amazing which lasted all night with no problem at all.. Thanks to Reem who started the fire in first place!


Next day:
With not much water to spare we had breakfast without brushing teeth and washing faces. On reaching one of the higher peaks on Obattu Gudde we got to see the first trail of human life around. We saw some cattle and a Shepard. By now all water reserves were over in spite of stocking sufficient water. We kept going till we go on top of the highest peaks of Obattu Gudde. By now the cattle looked like food calling..:) I had plans to suck milk straight out of the cows. Reem just had to smile over the petty joke.  Reem who got the least water to drink did a good job in carrying on without cribbing or sulking!!! Trust me Reem rocks!

Reem and I who got out of the forest first got to the jeep track. We see a jeep pass by stopped them for water. We got real lucky the guys promised more water and drive back to Hosadurga, well I guess the guy was the estate owner one Mr.Bhat. By then Venkat and Shantu got out of the forest and joined in and all made it out safe.

Expenses Chart:
1. Home – Bus Stand - Rs.8 (BMTC – 21:45 hours)
2. Bangalore – Gundia - Rs.250 (Private tx – 00:00)
3. Hoskere – Mudigere - Rs.14 (KSRTC – 14:30 hours)
4. Light snacks - Rs.10
5. Mudigere – Hassan - Rs.35 (KSRTC – 16:15 hours)
6. Light snacks - Rs.35
7. Hassan – Bangalore - Rs.93 (KSRTC – 18:00 hours)
8. Bangalore – Home - Rs.100(Auto Exp.23:00 hours)
Total Expenses: Rs.545

1. Carry Empty water Bottles 2-3 litres per person and fill them all at the last known water source
2. Tents and sleeping bags are unnecessary burden; I feel you can still make it without those.
3. Compass is required to ensure you are on track.
4. The last bit of the forest is too thick and you could get lost, make sure you are traveling in the direction of jeep trail.