It was a misty morning and me and my friends were at the quiet little hill station of Kemmangundi in West Karnataka. The agenda for the day was to trek to Hebbe Falls and back.
The round trip trek, through dense forests and coffee estates, across multiple streams and in the heart of leech territory would last a total of 16 kilometres.
After breakfast, we began the onward journey, which was pretty easy, as the trail was a steady descent. Some stretches were very steep and slippery, leading to a couple of falls that led to minor scratches.
As this was the monsoon season, the entire area was washed in fresh green. At some places, that had dense green cover and minimal light, the leeches caught up with us and we had to run into the sunlight and remove them off our legs.
The interesting parts of the descent were the extremely slippery trails through the coffee estates, wading in knee deep water in some of the streams and the Hebbe Falls playing hide and seek with us. At every turn with a clearing, we would get breathtaking views of the majestic waterfall amidst dense green jungles.
We had just crossed the second stream, when we spotted a wounded green snake. I had missed it completely, but my friends had spotted it. We studied it for a while, took some photographs and with the help of a stick put it on to a tree branch for safety from the trail.
After crossing four streams, we went through an extremely small trail to finally arrive at the Hebbe Falls. There spray from the waterfall could be felt even 40 feet away. Such was the force with which it was falling.
It was here that we took a much needed break. The dip in the cool waters was fabulous and the glucose biscuits we were carrying were the best lunch that could have served to us then. After satisfying our palate, we got down to removing the leeches that were busy sucking blood from our body. The exercise was tedious, but successful.
After spending close to two hours at the waterfall, we proceeded to make our way back. The ascent, as anticipated was a killer. The steep coffee estate slopes were the worst. Finally, puffing and panting, we made it back to the civilization of Kemmangundi.