This is a guest post written by Rohith H. Rohith is an intrepid traveller who loves to be one with nature during his travels. He is a friend, fellow traveller and trekking and motorcycling partner. All the images in this post are courtesy of Rohith H.
11th Trek to KP and the best one.This place is new every time you trek. There is no other place where you get to test the limits of your body and mind. Monsoon is the best time to trek. The weather is cool, the challenges are high. A moderate trek in the summer becomes difficult during the monsoon. Anyway, decided to go to KP. Wanted to do it alone and in one day. A lot of my friends said I'm nuts (nothing new) when I told them the plan.
Booked our very reliable KSRTC for the journey to Somwarpete. Booked the bus at 10:00 PM. but was under an impression that the bus was at 10:30 PM. Took my own sweet time to reach majestic. Thankfully didn't miss the bus. It was a bumpy ride to Somwarpete, thanks to a truck that had broken down on the way. The bus had to take a detour and through some village. The roads were straight from moon. Reached Somwarpete with a sore back at 5:00 AM on 9th Oct, 2010.
There is a bus named "Bhagya lakshmi" that goes to Bidahalli (starting point of the trek) from Somwarpete. The bus comes to the bus stand around 6:30 AM and departs around 7:30 AM. I was told that it rained super heavy on the previous day and it would be really difficult to trek. I was all excited knowing its gonna be difficult. Reached bidalli around 8:30 AM. It is a 3 km walk from here to a "Hegde Mane". This is a small village near Bidalli. There is a Mallikarjuna Swamy Temple where you can freshen up before you start the trek. The path till the temple has been tarred now :( .You could also ask the priest to cook you some breakfast for nominal charges. I generally don’t have breakfast, so I skipped. Freshened up near the stream next to the temple and started my trek.
There is a jeep track from the temple leading to the forest department office. It is around a km of walk from the temple. The view becomes scenic from here on. The path is surrounded with mountains and it is lush green. Reached the forest office around 9:00 AM. The forest guard denied permission to trek as I was alone. It took me a lot of effort to convince him to grant me permission. The only advantage that I had was he has seen me multiple times during the previous treks.
One of the guards accompanied me for half a km or so just to make sure I knew the path, I'm fit to trek and walk the distance. The total trek distance from Bidalli to Kukke Subrahmanya is 24 km. 11 km of ascend to the summit and 13 from the summit to Kukke. Went ahead with the trek, a lonely walk through the wilderness and a forest filled with mist. The spooky feeling of may be some animal is watching me now. Not a soul around for miles. This was the point of realization that its just an awesome feeling to be alone. No strings attached, nobody around, secluded from the world. You are at a mercy of the jungle. If you are lucky and fit, you walk away alive or with no broken bones.
After 4.25 km of trek from the Beedhalli APC, there is a detour. Here you can decide if you wanna go on till the summit climbing 65 deg inclined rock coated with moss. There are 4 rocks of the same kind till the summit. Or, The other path goes around the hill and merges back to the same trek path after 3 km. This path is through the jungle and is not very hard.
Anyway, being a nutcase I decided to go to the summit. When i started climbing the rock it started to rain cats and dogs. its always better to climb the rock face with only your socks on. The grip level is awesome. I couldn't take any pictures during the rain. However, I'm uploading the snaps of my previous trek.
Reached the summit around 11:30 AM. The sense of achievement was running high. Decided not to waste a lot of time there and keep moving. The whole jungle is infested with leeches. The moment you stop, there will be 5-10 clinging on to you.
While getting down from the summit, you'll have to get down a water path. The path is super slippery, make sure you hold the bamboo shoots next to the stream while getting down. After a while, the water plummets down. Take a detour from the side and crawl down in a zig zag path. Again remember, the socks will give you the best grip.
After getting down the rock, the jungle starts and I was in the thick of it again. There are a lot of leeches and the path is very slippery. The jungle is so dense that the sunlight doesn't reach the ground. Due to heavy rain and moisture, the whole of the jungle was coated in green moss. The pungent smell of wood rotting is something that you can never forget.
The rain is pouring down super heavy now and i decide to pick up the pace a little as it could get really late by the time I reach Kukke. Since this was the first time I was targeting to finish the 2 day trek in one day, I had to keep up the pace without breaks.
Around 12:30 I was out of the jungle and into the grass land next to shesha parvatha. The rain had stopped and lush green grass land was visible all around you. The sight was just an elevated feeling of how wonderful nature is (and how disgusting man is).
There are not many leeches in the grass land and the chances of spotting an elephant or any big mammal is minimal. Walked along the water carved path, reached the infamous "kallu mantapa" at 1:00PM. Took a 5 min break, clicked a couple of snaps. Had some water.
The view from the mantapa is just mind blowing. You feel lost seeing wonderful things around you. Decided to move on, had to reach kukke soon. And getting down the mountain on a slippery grass land is more difficult than climbing through the jungle.
Started walking at my natural pace, saw a lot of cobras slithering away from the walk path. The animals won’t harm you unless and until you try to act smart and do something to the animals. Walked for another 90 min to reach Bhattara mane. This is the general pit stop for all trekkers for lunch and sometimes to halt. Bhattara mane is also known as Girigadhe. Bhattara mane has a paddy field and a farm where the bhatta grows rice and vegetables.
Once I reached bhattara mane, i filled the bottle with water, had a quick snack of salted peanuts and a snickers bar. Spoke to bhatta for like 10 mins and left from bhattara mane towards kukke. The jungle is not very thick while walking down from bhattara mane to Kukke, The total distance from bhattara mane to the foot hill is around 6 km. Although the forest is not very thick, the path is filled with uplifted roots. This makes it even more difficult to walk as the chances of your leg getting tangled and tripping is more. Again it is the water path that you'll have to follow.
There are dustbins at regular intervals through the path. Please use them. "DO NOT THROW PLASTIC". Stop being a menace. I would thump somebody who throws plastic. Continued walking saw a batch of trekkers on the way to bhattara mane. Had a casual chat with them and moved on.
Saw the board that read Subrahmanya 1 km. The time was around 3:15 PM. It was an excellent pace through the trek. Started walking, the last km seemed the longest. Almost near the end of the trek a barb wired fence starts on the left hand side. Which never came even after walking for like 10 min.
Once I saw the fence I was delighted that I survived the ordeal without any injury and finished the trek within a day. I was even more delighted that this was the only KP trek that i hadn't tripped and fallen. The moment I thought about it, I jinxed it. There I had a fall on my butt. I didn't know if I had to laugh at myself or be furious about it.
I reached the foot hill at 3:30 PM. There it was a DONE DEAL. I didn't want to sit around on the road there so I decided to move to the town. It is around a 1.5 km from the foothill. I had the water bottle in my hand now, walked the last stint drinking as much as water I'd like.
3:45 PM I was in front of the temple. All the hotels were full, thankfully got one room in one of the cheap hotel. This was enough to get fresh and stay there till night. I had booked the tickets from Kukke to Bangalore.
Got fresh. Took some rest, went to the temple. Had food. Killed time till 10:00 PM. Checked out of the room. Walked to the bus stop. The Rajahamsa was waiting in the bus stand. The seat was super comfortable. The bus started at 10:30 PM. Just when I got settled in the seat, I felt something biting me. I thought it was mosquitoes. Darn, they were bed bugs. By the time I realized it was bed bugs we had travelled till Sakleshpura.
Changed my seat from middle of the bus (a comfortable place) to the last row seat (the only seat left in the bus). Again a bumpy ride from there to Bangalore. 6:30 AM on 10th Oct, 2010 I was back to Bendakaluru.
A wild wild trek!!!!!
Things to remember: 1. Book bus tickets in advance.
2. Carry enough food. Not a lot as you get food in the temple and bhattara mane.
3. Carry camping and sleeping equipment if you are planning to camp.
4. Carry enough water if you go in summer. After Nov end till July.
5. Carry salt, tobacco powder, limestone for leeches. If you freak out when they get on to your shoes.
6. DO NOT THROW ANY WASTE. ESP. PLASTIC.
7. Carry energy drinks. it helps.
8. Carry chocolates and gum. This will give you small boosts of energy when you keep walking.
9. Do not smoke in the jungle. You risk forest fires and you spoil the air.
10. Do not booze, it will throw you off balance and you could break your bones.
11. Do not throw tins, cans, bottles in the jungle.
12. Make sure you put off the fire if you do put a camp fire.
13. Pack your clothes in polythene covers before you put it in the bags.
14. Carry a sickle to cut firewood in case you are camping.
15. Carry newspaper, half a litre of petrol. to start the camp fire. Please be very careful using fuel.