8th June 2013
Kurinjal peak in Kudremukh National forest was the first trek in this monsoon. Trekking in Kudremukh area requires permission from forest department and hence I called them few days before to make sure that we will be allowed to trek in the forest. The person on the other side of the phone seemed very polite and supportive. That was good.
On Saturday morning I, Krishna and Subbu were at Kudremukh forest Office. The person whom I talked to was not in Office and the guide who was supposed to accompany us was uninterested. The rains and leeches bothered him a lot. But he said that he had no problem in issuing permits if we can manage to trek ourselves.
Superb! That was what we wanted. We were never looking for a guide who was uninterested. And we were also saving on guide charges!! As usual, we boasted of some great (?) treks we did!! All we needed was a permit and some info about starting point of the trek. That was then done in a jiffy.
The driver of the private bus looked at us rather suspiciously when we asked him to stop in the middle of the forest. “Did he think us as trespassers?” I told him that we had permits to enter the forest. Well, each of us has our own issues. Driver was rather worried about stopping the bus on the uphill path. “Stop where it is comfortable for you and your bus”, I said. We have come here to walk and it does not matter if we walk few more minutes!!
The bus exactly stopped at the point where the trail started. As soon as we slighted from the bus, leech medicines were applied. Motto was to have zero leech bytes!! (Only Krishna succeeded on that)
A little later we crossed a bridge. Time to check leech status. Salt was sprayed on shoes and mercilessly the leeches were removed. Disadvantage in monsoon trekking is that you cannot afford to have stops. Leeches make you run continuously.
Guide had mentioned about a deviation we need to take at a particular point. It was not difficult to miss and to our luck we met two locals who confirmed that we were on the right track. As we slowly climbed, the view of the Shola Mountains only became better.
Finally, we entered into forest. Our walking speed increased as leeches started their attacks. There was no time to relax. Few fallen trees on the road slowed our walk allowing leeches to stick on our legs.
We were relieved when we finally came out of forest. We were not entering into grasslands. Until now, we had not gained significantly on altitude. The path after the forest continually went up with series of switchbacks. As we started our climb, we were astonished to see the clouds completely engulf the area reducing visibility to a great extent. All this action occurred within few minutes.
As we walked on the zigzag route, we could see an abandoned microwave tower and a building. Next to the building was a huge rock structure which was barely visible in mist. Krishna who had come before identified the rocky hill as Kurinjal. It seemed huge and steep.
After reaching Microwave tower, we gave some time to ourselves to remove leeches glued to our legs and eat some snacks. Little more time was spent about discussing on the mentality of people who had scribbled on the walls of the building. Most of them seemed to have vomited out their frustration about love failure!! Well, that would be a separate topic of research!!
The final climb to the peak was much easier than expected. In less than five minutes, we were on the top. On a clear day, one might see great views as the peak is at a higher area than the surroundings. On that monsoon day, clouds continuously played hide and seek with us!!
The returned journey was uneventful expect for a big crab we tried to shoot. While we concentrated on examining the crab, leeches feasted on us.
We reached the main road and walked along for some distance to reach a designated bus stop. We stood in the lashing rains waiting for the bus; private vehicles zooming in front of us at occasional intervals. With nothing else to do, I started looking at the facial expression of the people who looked at us while their vehicle sped. Some seemed have sympathy for us and were others who seemed to be proud about them for being in the comfort of the car. There were others who I felt were laughing at us!! And there were people who had fallen asleep after eating heavily in Horanadu Temple. And finally there were people who did not care about us and anything else.
Then the bus arrived which put a brake on all my silly thoughts!!