Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Backpacking through the Western Ghats – Day 4: Kemmangundi – Hebbe Falls - Kemmangundi

The night had been very peaceful. We had managed to sleep soundly and the credit went to the line of trees that surrounded our campsite at Kemmangundi. These trees provided us cover from the heavy winds that lashed this region.

We finished our morning ablutions and had our bath thanks to a leaking pipeline. Had breakfast at the nearby shack and packed up our stuff. Found ourselves a 12 year old local lad who agreed to be our guide to Hebbe Falls, for a very reasonable price of 150 rupees.

So off we went down steep slopes with our backpacks dangling behind us. At some stretches, the slope was so steep that we literally went slipping and tumbling down and had to hold onto branches and plants to reduce the momentum.

The entire trail was through coffee plantations, spice plantations and leech infested terrain. The leeches had a great time with us as we were more focussed on getting our grip right on the slippery surface. The descent was fairly quick and we reached Hebbe Falls. We had crossed 3 streams enroute and one of them completely soaked our boots and made trekking pretty tough.

Hebbe Falls in full flow is pure grandeur. This waterfall is blessed with reasonable water sources throughout the year. And, this makes it one of Kemmangundi’s favourite tourist spots. After spending close to an hour at the waterfall and after nibbling into a couple of packets of glucose biscuits, we made our return.

The steep ascent seemed to put a lot of pressure on our lungs and heart, but thankfully, our previous 3 days of non-stop trekking and our fitness regimen over the last 2 months allowed us to overcome this steep ascent.

We found 20 kids who were part of a school excursion as intriguing company during our ascent. A smile comes on my face whenever I recollect the question that was posed to us by one of those kids. He asked us “Why are you carrying such heavy loads (he was referring to our backpacks) and climbing such steep slopes? Did you receive a punishment?”

In no time, we were back at the eatery shack at Kemmangundi. We stopped by for a quick brunch, went back to our campsite, pitched in our tents and relaxed during the evening.

Total Distance Trekked: 24 Kms
Trekking Time: 6 hours

To view the entire set of photos, click the album below.
Backpacking through the Western Ghats of Karnataka, India

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