Sunday, June 05, 2011

2011-05-20- Bheemeswari Night out

Offlate it's kind off hard to get like minded people who wish to spend a wild night out in a freaky forest (Common - think straight!). Four guys made it to Bheemeswari - Ravi(new entrant with pumping adrenalin), Sandeep, Srikanth and Zorro-Rojo(my new nick - Red Fox). The poor time keepers this time were Sandeep and Srikanth who showed up 2 hours late they show up 1530 hours.
From Zorro-Rojo, Ravikanth, Sandeep, Srikanth

We reached Muthathi pretty comfortably - 17:30 hours with a lot of day light to spare. Soon we hit problems with Srikanth on a flat rear tyre. With two spare bikes it wasn't a problem to manage the temporal loss, however with no repair shop nearby we parked the bikes in a makeshift tent at Muthathi to proceed further.

3 kms further away from Bheemeswari is a secret place where we frequented. Now the place has given way to a new forest guest house. We were left with no choice but look out for a new safe haven. It was 1930 hours with not many options we took shelter in the open beside the Cauvery's.
From Camp Site

Got the camp fire and bajjis started rolling in, along with the bajjis were a few locusts, and interesting fire-flies fried as well. It was time to rest in peace (i mean we were done for the day). To keep the foxes at bay i had just the right music rocking through the night - Lady Gaga, Katty Perry,Cascada and so-on.. Basically we stayed up whole night each for a different reason -
Sandeep, Srikanth and Ravi just couldn't handle Lady Gaga; like the foxes, myself kept the fire rolling through the night.
From 2011-05-21 - Fire after the Rains

2011-05-21 - New Day
We danced 0530 hours not 'cause of Gaga, it had started to rain down heavily, we just weren't prepared for it. Packed our bags and kept them below a maiden tree and started a photo session. We got lukcy, the foxes and the deers showed up in large numbers. The rain didn't last more than 30 minutes to our relief. The camp fire wasn't disturbed we heated MTR pre-cooked food - had breakfast and soon left. On way back we had Srikanth's tyre fixed and zoomed back home safely. In the end it was a rocking trip.
From Foxes Hole

1. Fun for Free
2. FYI, Fuel & Bajji's didn't come free spent about INR 300 here.
3. Deers & Foxes don't like Gaga
4. My next adventure - Mogala Betta PART - III [I am somehow obsessed with this place]

Monday, March 28, 2011

Devara Gudda + Mogala Betta ~ Virgin Route

Our earlier attempt to capture Mogala Betta via Virgin Route turned out pretty disastrous. We ended up meters short of Mogala betta summit. The team this time was Gururaj & Rohit. We were well prepared to beat all odds, new trek gear, sufficient water and escape routes.
Mogala Betta Rojo on Mogalabetta Ridge

Day 1 - 2011-03-26
We got off at Gundya check post at 0500 hours. Freshened up sipped Tea followed by tender coconut waited for 1st ray of light to start our arduous journey. We locked compasses to head North-East. To start with the weather conditions were pleasant, but with no breeze, extremely dry conditions and spiny shrubs it was pretty tough clearing through the jungle. We forgot our sickle and used bare hands to maneuver thorny shrubs bruising our hands. We reached open grasslands by 0830 hours. From here begins the hardest part. Our rate of assent dropped considerably; we ended up taking longer breaks in open grasslands with sun shining right into our faces all the way up.
Mogala Betta Mogala Betta peak in the distant far

We summit Mogala Betta by 1130 hours. We got into the adjacent forest took rest and a long lunch break till 1300 hours. We next headed towards Devara Gudda further north. We reached the base of Devara Gudda by 1330 hours, there were 2 peaks almost of same height and I could not figure out Devara gudda off them :). So we decided to head back and hurried our way back another new route. By now we had run out of water, with no known source of water nearby we had to get moving faster.
Mogala Betta View Down Mogala Betta Peak

We picked up a new valley for our descent; by the time we entered the thick tree cover it was already 1900 hours. We used mobile torch light and an led torch to cut through thorny shrubs and thick forest cover. Just 100 meters down we found water!! We kept going till we realised it was raining. The terrain around was steep descending valley; with absolutely no other possibility we stayed up all night in the stream completely drenched, shivering... After drinking too much hard water we had to skip dinner. Gururaj ended up even puking each time he drank the water from the stream.
Devara Betta Devara Betta Ridge

Day 2 - 2011-03-27
The night was very unpleasant, we thought we will not make it through the night; we had imagined we would meet our end with one of flash floods, lightening strikes or snake bites. It was the first time during any trek I was so cold and blank; I did not know what to do... In the morning we were disoriented due to de-hydration, lack of food and sleeplessness all acting at the same time :). We just kept following the stream which led us back to civilization. We took bath in the nearby stream and head back to Bangalore in a Rajahamsa (something unusual - we generally take the Red-bus :)).
Devara Betta Devara Betta as seen from Mogala Betta Peak

1. Carry sufficient portable water, drinking water from streams can make you puke in summers.
2. Use a sickle to cut through thorny shrubs and obstacles.
3. Use leather gloves to prevent thorns pricking.
4. Avoid trekking during summers.
5. Take care of your camera and other belongings, I lost my camera hood; if you find it please return it :)
6. Photos are off Day1 only, I was too dis-oriented to click pictures of Day 2 :P
7. Parasitic Tics are active around March, Guru had few on him, the bites heal very slow.
8. Our legs took a beating getting down steep ridges, we have blisters all over :)
9. Due to inflation the total expense of the trek was INR 500 per head.

Terrain Map Red - The Assent, Blue - The Descent

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Pucón - Volcan Villarica - Trek

Volcan Villarica is one of the most active volcanoes in the region of South America. Pucón is one of the beautiful cities in the south of Chile - Region IX or Araucanía. 5 of us decided and in just 2 weeks bus tickets and accommodation was booked. The troupe consisted of Carla,Militza,Vinayak,Louis & Rohit.

Day 1 [2011-01-22]:
1. Lago Azul:
Lago Azul has numerous small waterfalls with a difference. The water here is distinctly deep blue in colour.
Pucón Lago Azul
The place is clean and camping is permitted. We spent about 2 hours and left to Caburgua

2. Lago Caburgua:
This is one of the most popular lakes in Pucón only to Villarica Lake. The specialty out here is that the lake bed has sand. The sand is black at one stretch and white at the other stretch. Surrounded by huge mountains and thick forest tree cover.

3. Playa Blanca @ Lago Caburga [White Beach]:
While on our Boat ride we past by Playa Blanca.
Pucón Playa Blanca
The place was overcrowded with Tourists sun bathing.

4. Playa Negra @ Lago Caburga [Black Beach]:
We spent a while here walked along the sandy beach stretch had lunch and left to the Hot water spring.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Volcan Villarica in the backdrop and Playa Negra

5. Terma Quimey-Co:
Quimey-Co is a private hot water spring with water maintained at 3 different temperatures. The coolest of the lot is outdoor with open roof.
Pucón Quimey-Co - Wrist Band
The other is outdoor with a sun-roof and the final one is indoor with the warmest waters.
We spent considerable time in each of the pools playing and relaxing.
Pucón Hostel - Victor
Our day ended with preparation for the Volcan trek and a dinner party at a local restaurant includes Kuntsman Beer, Pisco Sour & Melon juice.
Pucón Salud Volcan!

Day 2 [2011-01-23]: Volcan Villarica Trek:
We were given strict instructions not to eat anything heavy the previous night and the day of the trek just 2 Bannanas. We were given heavy back packs with snow gear and each carried atleast 2 litres of water accompanied with light lunch.
Pucón Slopes of Volcan Villarica

The weather report was clear skies but strong winds. The ski station had shutdown lift service and that meant we had to trek an additional 1 hour. From here on the hike gets tougher and we start to use the Ice-Pick.
Pucón Tour Operator Uniform
We were given brief lessons on how to use them and we took off after a brief snack break. Carla found it very hard and gave up.
Pucón Various other Groups racing Ahead
From here on it meant no rocks to rest on and snow everywhere. The climb gets steeper and the ice had turned slippery. I kept falling the ice pick saved me from dying atleast a 6 times! Vinayak too felt it very strenuous and took a break. It was just Militza, Louis and Me.
Trekking on snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on normal rocky terrain. To add to it, we were carrying too much water and other accessories required for the descent.
Pucón Solitary Soul

The wind got stronger as we got higher and higher, I was just too dehydrated. I even began to eat the snow as i was too lazy to get the bottle out to sip. The Guide instructed me not to as it contained toxins from the volcano. Initially I began taking a lot of pictures, towards the end i had to pack it back in due to the terrain.
Pucón Fuming Volcan Crater - Rohit, Militza

The sun is pretty intense, burns any exposed part of the body. A lot of sun screen and full arm jacket/shirt recommended. We reached the summit at a snails pace. The sight on the top is just too good. I was all too excited to peep into the crater of the volcano. The place stinks of Sulphur, one cannot go too close as the terrain is dangerous, one could easily slip inside the crater :D.
I clicked a lot of pics and took 2 rock samples for my memories. Not sure how I will smuggle that back home to India :D.
The best part is the descent. We slide down the volcano on our asses. I could not take any pictures as it was too dangerous to get the camera out. We wore special gear to prevent our asses from frying along with special lower knee sheath to prevent snow wetting our pants down.
Pucón Volcan Vegetation!

We reached Pucón at 1700, just had time for our last Lunch-Dinner and ran to catch our buses to reach Santiago early next morning. We reported to work and did work the following Monday with our aching asses, knees, and backs :D

All in all it was a very special trek and experience. By Chilen Standards, we had covered a great deal of places in a very short period of time.
Pucón Lago Caburga - Louis,Carla,Militza,Vinayak

1. Volcan trek cost ranges from 30,000 CLP to 45000 CLP. One has to bargain and strike a deal. We were initially asked to pay up 40000 CLP, after bargaining it was settled for 30000 CLP.
2. There are 2 timings for the trek, 0430 hours and 0730 hours; we weren't lucky for the 0430 hours trek.
3. Trekking on Snow is atleast 3 times harder than trekking on a rocky terrain.
4. You get dehydrated on snow very quickly, you need to keep drinking water.
5. The snow is slippery and hard to grip on, you must learn to use to ice-pick.
6. Sun screen is very much necessary, another pal did not use it, his face is burnt and skin's pealing.
7. Book bus tickets and accomodation atleast a month or couple of months earlier to get a good deal.