Saturday, September 10, 2016

'Easy' trek to Maribetta - 4 Sep 2016

A new place around Bengaluru for one day trek? I am in! Even rarer that I got the opportunity twice within a space of 5 weeks! Can't thank BTC enough ;)

The meeting point was Shantala Silk House, opposite Terminal 3 (as usual when we aren't taking public transport). Metro is most convenient as the gate is close to Terminal 3. While waiting for mini-bus to arrive, some of us had tea/coffee from nearby hotel.

After picking up remaining members at Banashankari, Hiren and Kamal welcomed us and we played Dumb Charades with everyone having to enact their full names followed by their intro. It was quite fun, especially with surname tongue twisters. We were 21 of us in total, yet we had time just enough until we reached our destination. In between, we stopped at Kanakapura for breakfast and packing lunch.


The introductory game had already played the role of ice-breaker and everybody had mingled as a team, many first timers included. It was reflected in their feedback later in the day saying it was a pleasant surprise.



Finding the start of trail became an interesting sport as well. We asked a few villagers and had hiked about 10 minutes before we hit a deadend of sorts. Organizers and some volunteers went ahead to talk to school kids out there for wood collecting. While waiting, we continued our various discussions and some photos to boot.


Turned out we weren't on right track and went back the way we had come. Realizing that there may be confusion in communication with locals, Hiren called up organizer of the only previous trek by BTC to this place. That helped but we weren't fully assured of the landmark given.




Finally, Hiren and Kamal told us that they'll give their best shot. The response from all of us was positive and even excited to be part of exploration trek. The new trail we picked turned out the right way in the end :)



We could see the hill we were climbing, along with another close-by that one wondered if that steep one could be reached as well. After initial flat path amidst few boulders here and there, we had to climb carefully among tall grasses. We took breaks as often as needed - we had plenty of time on our hands having come with our own transport.




Soon we left the bushes and trees to be presented with toughest challenge of the day - a particularly steep slope to climb. The first timers were probably skeptic but we did our best to guide and encourage them. Our constant chit-chatting helped too I think. Slowly but steadily, we climbed that section and took rest again.



Hiren and co would often go ahead to see if the path was okay to go ahead. Our trail often rounded and hid behind mountain side or large boulders. Some paths were avoided because of thorny bushes.




For some time, the peak was hidden too and we weren't that sure that our trail was going in the right direction. At one spot with particularly large boulders (about mid-way to peak) we could have easily called it a day, had fun and come back. Luckily, the path was easy to find around the boulders and through the plants/trees.

Once we crossed that section, the way to peak became much clearer. We rested again and this time took out snacks to have a bite. Kamal took to share live video on BTC fb page.






Having got accustomed to the terrain and peak in sights, we continued on. While some section were steep again, it wasn't that difficult compared to earlier one and continued to break when required. By 1 PM, we reached the peak for a well earned extended rest and lunch.





A large boulder at the peak proved quite handy for climbing enthusiasts. We would climb, ask others to take pics and then jump off (along with video taken, of course). Soon, we tuck into our meals - the Gujjus had got plenty of theplas, while we also had vaangi bath packed from hotel, snacks, fruits, chocolates, karachi bakery biscuits, etc.



We were running short of water though. Despite a cloudy day for most part, only the spot near the boulder at peak had consistent cool breeze. After lazying around for a while, we started our trek back (after group photos, of course). At first, keeping exploration spirit, Hiren and co tried an alternate way back to avoid that steep section. It proved futile and we started the same way back we had come.





Going down was faster as expected, but tricky as well. We made sure the beginners knew about climbing down side ways. We took breaks as well now and then, especially to pass around water whoever had for a sip. The steep section proved to be easier than thought, perhaps because we were used to it by then and members helped each others when required.




By 4 PM, we were on our way back. The foremost priority was water and we stopped by a sugarcane juice vendor. While the vendor was busy crushing all the available canes, we tucked into water melons from nearby fruit seller. Everybody had a glass of tasty cane juice (lucky few got second round) and later we stopped again to get 4 two liter water bottles for rest of the journey.




We then had feedback session, positive all around as usual. Especially good to hear first timers had loads of fun. Then while we were deciding to play Dumb Charades or Antakshri, a new game was suggested - Ping-Pong-Name. We took a while to grasp the rules. 

 

 

I'll do my best to describe: Everybody picks a name other than his/her name (same name can't be taken by two or more). Then we decide on order of play (like who starts and who follows). The game starts with first person saying Ping. The fellow with next turn has to say Pong. And the next one has to say a name other than the one allocated (own name is allowed, because someone else would be assigned that name). Whatever name is said, the person allocated has to start the cycle again by saying Ping. The main criteria being one has to say Ping/Pong/Name quickly. Those who take long or say their own allocated name get three chance before ousted from the game. When that happens, the name they were allocated was struck off and remaining players had to be careful to avoid those names. It turned out to be loads of fun once we got the hang of it. Though, lesser number of players would have been more manageable ;) Pro-tip: Avoid picking name easy to pick or relatively famous ;)

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