Monday, March 30, 2009

Aramane Gudda - Best place to be!

ME Single Barrel loaded Riffle

3 trekkers lost their way while exploring Aramane gudda and their skeletons were recovered in 2007 [Link].
2 Navy helicopters have crashed in the vicinity of Aramane gudda in the recent past.
A few days ago[b/w 17th~19th March 2009] a man was hacked to death by a rouge tusker in Kempuhole river[Kempuhole Reserver Forest], soon after 2 cattle were eaten by a tiger...[Moorkannu Gudda] We knew we were going to the right place. I managed to convince 8 trekkers to join me but just 2 showed up at Majestic Bus stand.

Day 1 [Saturday 28th March]
We reached Sakleshpur at 0400 hours & killed time upto 0700 hours before having breakfast. Our guide was to pick us up at ಆನೆ ಮಹಲ್[Aane Mahal] but was late by just 4 hours! We started our trek from Kadumane estate at 1130 hours. The trek is quite difficult and pretty long [10 kms]. The terrain is mix of grasslands and extremely densely forested areas with no visible trail at all....
Snake Near Aramane Gudda

The first place of interest was the place where the bodies of the 3 trekkers were recovered. The surroundings had grass cover with trees in small numbers. We saw the trees from which they were recovered and the gorge from where the remains were picked.
Trail The 3 Trekkers were found here....

In the same vicinity it appeared as though some ritual had been performed, studying the remains the guide suspected a human sacrifice had been made! he immediately informed the forest guards on his findings. The Third place of interest was a Navy Helicopter crash site (2 in numbers), the interesting part here is, its an open grassland with no tree cover, the GPS devices don't show reading. The device failed to link up with any satellite!

By then we had reached ಅರಮನೆ ಗದ್ದೆ[Aramane Gadde]. We see what appears to be remains of a paddy field, the terrain is flat and surrounded by forest trees on 2 sides and mountainous terrain on the remaining sides.
Campsite A naturally formed Cave where we spent our night cooking and sleeping

The fifth place of interest and the last for the day was our camp site, which was a naturally formed cave.
On our way we got to see a snake,elephant shit, tiger shit :) and 3 pairs of Great Indian Hornbills....
Sunset Near Campsite

Day 2 [Sunday 29th March]
Even before brushing teeth we decided to explore the region, ನಾಯಿ ಗುಡ್ಡ [Nayee Gudda] appeared to be the tallest we scaled it first, we then decided to scale all peaks in the vicinity and did so in 5 hours.
ನಾಯಿ ಗುಡ್ಡ Early Morning Mist over adjacent mountain Ranges
The view from these peaks is breathtaking.
After lunch we took a small nap and started the descent back to civilization.
Red Stone Semi Precious Red Stone found in the open

The descent was steep with a sandy terrain. On our way down we stumbled over some semi-precious red stones which are abundantly found in the Western Ghats. On our way down in the forest we lost our way and were forced to follow a dried up stream that would lead us to Kempuhole and then we find our way back to the NH48. The last 3 kms in the forest was a risky affair with sunset not too far. We walked straight down a dried up water fall for about an hour and half and finally hit the Highway. It took us 30 mins of waiting time to hitchhike a lorry that dropped us off at Sakleshpur which took another 2 hours. We boarded a 2300hours bus heading to Bangalore which just took just 4 hours to reach Bangalore!
Panorama Near Nayee Gudda

#1.This is one of my best trekking experiences so far!
#2.The terrain is too difficult to trek and dangerous.
#3.The map from Map Survey of India is wrong! So do not try your luck with those! Remember the 3 trekkers were all the while referring to those maps of 1970's
#4.This area is known for contraband, murders, human sacrifice & hunting
#5.We trekked about 20 kms in 2 days
#6.I was too tired to click photos and hardly took any good ones:)
Early morning walk Amazing ridge

Friday, March 13, 2009

Moorkannu Gudda

The trek was a sudden plan out of the blue. The head count was to be around 10+ when we meet up at Majestic Bus stand it was just 6, with destination Moorkannu gudda.
Inorder: Vishnu,Meeliya,Ganesh,Abijith,Varun,Pradeep(Guide),Rohit.

Day 1[Saturday]:
Bou Bou ನಾಯಿ ದೃಷ್ತಿ [Dog's Influence]

We reached Sakleshpur at 4:30 hours. Abijth had arranged for a guide who would guide us to Moorkannu gudda. The plan was to go to Maranhalli pick the guide (Bill-Pradeep alias Billu) and then to kadumane estate from where the trek begins…
Kadumane Estate Tea Estate - High Dynamic Range Imaging

The trek began through Kadumane Tea estates private roads. The terrain was more or less flat.. On reaching close to Moorkannu gudda we decided to break for lunch. We cooked alu special, knorr soup, MTR ready to eat over the open flame. All took bath in the adjacent steam excepting me:D. We hit the peak after a while but we had to miss the sunset due to strong chilly winds and thick fog cover.

Our guide discouraged us from camping near the stream where we earlier cooked, we were forced to camp at Verrapan’s(a localite with that name!) solitary home in the forest.

The night was peaceful except that domestic animals in Verappan’s home freaked me out.
First it was Veerapan’s doggy who came sniffing leftovers while everyone was asleep, he came right behind me and dragged away the plastic which woke me screaming for help
Then it was the turn of their pet kitten who came and slept with me from nowhere, this time I again woke up screaming and woke everyone around me within no time the culprit hid away. By now day light was out but we were still asleep, the one final thing that got us out were small chicks who came pecking at me!!
Kadumane Estate Moorkannu gudda Peak in the Background

Day 2[Sunday]:
All got ready to leave and we spoke to a Nature lover (Vikram) who stayed next door, he stayed single at 45+ with a Nikkon D 80, laptop, GPS and an off-road jeep with fundoo modifications.

Our next stop was kadumane estate Tea Factory. It was nothing very interesting a Tamil speaking guy was our guide who nodded for everything and anything asked. I was highly optimistic on a free complimentary Kadumane Chai which did not happen! We then set out to the last itenary for the day an unknown waterfall off Sakleshpur Ghat in-between Gundia check post and Maranhalli. The falls was in a secluded place covered with forest on all sides. Water falls off at 4 places, re-unites and cascades to fall a one large fall. We were the only visitors to that place. To get there we had to cut through thick forest covered with a lot of fine dust.

We got dropped off at Sakleshpur from there we took another bus to Hassan from where we hit Bangalore to reach by 23:30 hours.
Nature Beside an unknown Water fall...

The expenses worked out to about INR 700. [Journey proved expensive]
It was more like a trip not strenuous and no after effects felt
If we had been there after rains we would have got to see a lot of greenery
Waterfall Three Shot Panorama