Saturday, October 8, 2016

Nijagal Betta - 1 Oct 2016

Thanks to BTC, yet another hill flagged :) We caught the 7:45 AM passenger train and got down at Dobbspet. As it was Saturday, it was not jam packed and we had few rows to ourselves. No intro or Dumb Charades though, as Channa explained later, he wanted to avoid us being too noisy for fellow passengers and also give members a chance to rest (being very next day to Friday). Even so, people had conversations who felt so and others had a power nap.

 

 

We hired couple of share autos at Dobbspet (Dobby comes to mind with the name :P) to take us near the hill (about 3.5 KM). On the way, we stopped for breakfast and packing lunch (the usual spot on Tumkur road, near a junction). With minimizing use of plastic in mind, Channa had asked us to bring lunch boxes, kudos BTC :)

Near the base, we had to cross railway tracks and then we had proper intro session. Nice to see many newbies, they all had good words to say at the end of day. Since Channa was lone organizer for the day, he asked me to co-ordinate at back end. No problems, happy to volunteer and helped me click more photos :P especially spotting likely candidates for macro shots with Ashish besides me ;)


 

 

The initial trail was slippery on grainy soil. The group ahead would wait often for us to catch up. Weather being nice meant good lighting for pics as well as too many breaks were not required.



 

Our first destination was to ruins of a temple. On the way was a pond, where we didn't miss photo ops :P Big boulders, cliff faces, honey combs, big birds - plus nice weather! It was already turning out to be a good trek, despite relatively small hill.
 

 

 

 

Then we came back to the diverging path and continued on the main trail to peak. We had gotten used to rocky climb by then. The views all around (when not hidden by huge boulders) were awesome too. Shivgange on the distance stood out.

 

 

 

The fort walls and stone archways added to the beauty. As we climbed higher, our views became even better. The temple ruin and pond made for good photo clicks.

 

 

 

And the jumping shots were inevitably attempted.

 

And then there was the last stretch to peak. What fun to try to look like we were climbing a particularly difficult stretch :P There were little steps carved, but that would be too easy. So, we bent our back and used our hands to crawl.

 

 

 

The peak was pretty large area to explore with its many stone structures built and large boulders forming interesting paths and sort of caves. And the monkeys. Be very wary of them if you happen to visit this awesome hill.



After a while, we sat under one of those biggggggg rocks (wasn't too hot despite a bit of sunshine, but who'll want to miss the shade and cool breeze to go with).



After much deliberation, we settled to play Dumb Charades. It was pretty fun, especially to guess those really long names (BTC experience helps :P) The two kids (came with their parents, so good to see) added to entertainment with their enacting and guess work.




Packed lunch (tamarind rice) was tasty. But we couldn't eat in peace with monkeys looking to snatch away. In the end we walked away with some putting off to eat afterwards.

While taking group pics, one adventurous monkey managed to steal a water bottle! We managed to retrieve the bottle before leaving though (after it was damaged and almost empty)



Going down was quite fast as usual. Little bit tricky, but first timers quickly got the hang of climbing down side ways. On the way down, we met people from nearby village coming up, presumably to visit temple.

 

 

At the base, we continued walking towards the railway station. We had plenty of time left to catch the train and the trek hadn't been too taxing anyway. Though it wasn't hot, it was a bit humid. Our water rations were running low too. Minimum 2 liters for a day trek is must.

 

 

 

Of course, we tried balancing on rails :P Smaller groups formed and changed frequently as we got into discussions, topics ranging wide and far. The two kids were a revelation to talk too. So mature and knowledgeable. And came to know about NOS - didn't know self schooling was possible in India. These two kids are taught primarily by their mother and give exams as per NOS. And they like their sports and novels to go with. Nice :)

Speaking of sports, we kept tab on ongoing India-NZ test series. After not so good first day, we were surprised to know Indian lower order had pushed our innings total beyond 300 and that NZ were 4 down for less than 100 in reply.



After a long walk, we finally reached Dobbspet railway station. We filled our water bottles and then sat down for feedback session (to go with those finishing their lunches and the rest munching on snacks/fruits). Return journey went in a breeze with our continued discussion. Had to adjust in various seats as crowd was much more than morning.

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