Thursday, December 27, 2012

Kuntibetta Night Trek - February 11, 2012

First trek of this year and the place a long awaited one. For some reason or the other, I kept missing the Kuntibetta trek - be it the weekend MS studies or coinciding with trips to home. Having done a night trek before with BMC, I marked this one as the third semester was nearing to its conclusion. The wait was certainly worth it.

The fun started right from the 130-odd km tempo journey to Pandavapura, where the hill is located. After crossing the city limits, a fellow trekker enthusiastically suggested that we play mafia (a game I got acquainted with during the Wayanad cycling trip). Though the rules were different, the essence of the game was same, We played two rounds, the second one lasting much longer as many first timers got the hang of it after the first round. It certainly is a good way for time pass and served as ice-breaker too. And the best thing about it was that all the twelve people in the tempo participated.

At the base of Kuntibetta

We arrived at the base of Kuntibetta at around 1 AM. About 30-40 trekkers had come, conforming the popularity of the place. Ofcourse,we twelve continued to be together for the climb. Sleeping bags were provided for those who wanted. I had brought a thermocot and was adamant in staying awake the whole night. So, I didn't take one and was happy to have reduced luggage. We started the climb at around 1:30 AM after going around a small pond. The climb was steady for around half an hour before we came to a steep rock. The guides had brought ropes for the purpose. It was my first experience of climbing with the help of a rope. Though it was barely 10-15 feet, it wasn't easy. There was relatively flat rock after it where we took a break for refreshments and photo-shoots.

Short break after the rope climb

It took us another 40 minutes (1 hour 10 minutes overall) to reach the top. It is a short trek. But it certainly was enjoyable as we crossed small hills to the top. And one point, we diverged from the actual path to stand on a small cliff. I don't quite remember how big the moon was, but we had to be careful with our footsteps. There were some slippery climbs too, where we helped each other to cross.

Quickly various groups settled down for the remaining three-odd hours for the dawn. After customary photo shoots, we started with snacks to settle our temporary hunger. The air was chill and I was starting to feel bad about not bringing the sleeping bag. I had the thermocot, but decided to not put on for the moment. After we had settled down proper and satisfied our stomachs, it was time to kill time. We had already done surveying of the villages below and enjoying far-off lights. As it happens mostly, we started telling stuff from our lives. As usual when my turn came, I told some of my trekking experiences. One guy shared his childhood spent in an African country. It was good enough for novel or a movie. How they had attacks, how they survived so fortunately, their journey back to India. I told him that time and it's true so far - I will remember his account for a long time.

I was actually sitting away from the group with music on my mobile, looking around the hill. The voice had carried to me clearly and it was only later that they knew I was listening. After everyone had their say, they prepared to sleep. I spent the remaining hours in solitude, wondering among other things, why should life be there and whether or not we had a choice before coming into existence. At some point before dawn, I put on the thermocot as it became very cold.
 
Starting the descent

We started our descent 15 minutes before 6AM. We took a different route after sometime as we were headed to the lake at the base. It was almost a two hour hike. Having not slept whole night and hunger made it difficult. And after reaching the lake, I didn't like the idea of stepping into cold water. The life-jackets took time to arrive and I don't know swimming. That made it easier to decide at the time, but looking back I feel that I missed out :D. Overall a nice trek to start the year with.

Time pass while others enjoyed the lake

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