Sunday, January 5, 2014

Revisiting Madhugiri - 25 Aug, 2012

My second trek not as part of trekking club. We were 11 member group with office colleagues and some of their friends. After several options, we settled on Madhugiri, partly because I had already done it and path is pretty straight forward. We booked a tempo traveler and by 10AM we were at the base of hill. We had breakfast at Kamat hotel on the way (food was good, but had to wait long time due to crowd) and packed for lunch too.

I sort of became the unofficial guide for the trek. Distributing the lunch boxes, ordering each one to carry atleast two liters of water, trekking ahead to find path, advising on climbing, how much is left to ascend, rounding everyone up to march on after frequent rests and detours, indicating various activities I did in previous visit and interesting spots, creating fear about the steep slopes and the like. Now that I look back, I realize I was just too serious and all they did was having fun like any other picnic ;)

On entering the base of fort, I could immediately see renovations done after my last visit.A localite, sitting inside the entrance side wall told (translated from Kannada by Gautham) that the site is becoming tourist spot and hence the initiatives to improve steps and railings. If only they can do something about the various graffiti and scribblings of lovers and broken hearts and covets and self proclaimed greats.

It wasn't a hot day, thanks to clouds, but nonetheless hot enough to require copious amount of re-hydration and frequent rest from some steep climbs. A split in path eventually turned accessible both ways, but tired me unnecessarily :D. There were some first time trekkers too, but the numerous photo clicks (hill view, town view, with fort - walls, niches, with large boulders trying to push or hold, etc), daring wall scaling using protruding stones, almost crawling climb to one of the numerous watch towers, walking on uncovered stone archway (fall would almost certainly result in cracked bones), the large stepped pond (with muddied water), checking out secret tunnels, admiring defenses of the fort, etc were worth every painful step.

The above steep climb is alone worth doing Madhugiri again and again. One can see the old battered railing and the newly constructed one overlapping. I did it with trepidation, wonder how I did it without the new and better railing the last time! One can also see water marks, these are very slippery and proved almost fatal to one of us while descending. While I struggled despite an experienced trekker, Yatin, Viru, Devang and some others probably, scaled quite a distance on bare steep rock to the left of railing! It was scary just watching from top.

After about two and half hours, we finally reached top. Like guides of other treks, I had to frequently encourage by random estimates of climb left. Sometimes optimistic and sometimes pessimistic. I guess, it is just our nature to need assurance from someone who has already done it.
I led them beyond the fort wall on other side, which offers view of surrounding hills, a little descent to a spot with tree shade - same place I had lunch last time. But it was dirty and slippery and so we returned back. And started jumping around for various pics including childhood game of jumping over other's bent back for about half an hour.
Finally after 10 minutes to 1PM, we seated ourselves for lunch. Only our hunger could gobble those packets long gone cold. After lunch, we did another round of photo shoot by scaling the fort walls and forming train chains.

Around 2PM, we started our descent with full josh. We climbed down with just about one or two breaks in about 70-75 minutes. That steep slope posed problem again and I got cramps too making it worse. Thankfully, nothing untoward happened and we took our first group pic at base. It was raining in the distance and made for awesome view, but we escaped, otherwise it would have been disaster to trek down.

As with my previous visit, we first went to 'Sri Yoga lakshmi narasimha swamy' temple on the way back. Had some snacks and some visited the temple, while others guarded belongings from monkey menance. And then visited base of Devarayanadurga - the deer park and eternal spring from stone - 'Namada Chilume'. Trekking is definitely the modern way of weekend picnic - healthy option as well as loads of fun and pics to show-off.

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