It was one of those hurriedly planned trips and we left Bangalore on Friday night to reach Kukke Subramanya on Saturday morning at about 0430. After grabbing idlis for breakfast, we started the climb up the mountain. And I was panting after 10 minutes :) Yay! brilliant. I just kept telling myself that I could climb the mountain because I was pretty sure that if I thought otherwise, I would just stop right there and not move forward. The next nice thing to discover when you're on a trek with zero physical fitness, is this nice thing called a break. Breaks help quite a bit. So yeah...while theju was the fastest in the group, we all took a break once every 10-20 mins for like 2-5 mins and suddenly the climb was much easier. After the first hour or so it was all okay..not that we could climb fast, but it wasn't hurting as much as before.
We reached "Bhattru Mane" (House of the Bhatts, which is the only source of food/water during the climb and is situated about half-way to the peak) at 1045. We took rest, re-filled water bottles and had a really nice and simple meal of rice, sambar, curds and pickle and left at about 1345. The biggest advantage we had during the whole climb up, was that it was cloudy all the time. The only time the sun peeked out was during out stopover for lunch, so we never felt anything. Once we started out again, it was quite cloudy...so yay to the weather. While were at battru mane, the area forest guard who had dropped by to visit spotted us and saw money :D. He at first refused to let us up the mountain since it was the "rainy season" now (we found out from the elder Bhatt brother that there were no rains yet) and then switched to "can't let you stay overnight" (we had planned for that, and taken along a tent) to finally "be careful and don't litter place". Heh. The forest guard's house was right on the way up, and so we had to go in, and pay the fees to climb the mountain. We got a receipt for Rs.210 (3 of us) and he asked us for Rs.300 which we paid up.
We were on our way once again, and at around 1415, we saw massive rain clouds (and rain right behind us in the distance). Luckily we were in a flat area of land with an awesome rock formation under which we stashed the things we didn't want wet and decided to wait out the passing clouds. As it started drizzling, we had the brainwave to setup the tent, so we didn't have to get wet. Wow, what awesome timing. So as we got wet and setup a half-ass tent and got in, the rain decided to move on. Brilliant! So we moved on and reached the next waypoint, called the mantap at about 1615. Theju made it to the mantap about 30 mins before we did and this part of the climb was very scenic, since there were mountains all around. Words can't really do justice to the view, you have to see it to understand.
By now, all of us were tired and well, we didn't know how far up we had to go but didn't want to give up. So off we went at 1635 and climbed on to what we thought was the peak at 1745. The biggest enemy now was the mist and boy...we couldn't see more than about 6 feet ahead of us. I guess if it wasn't for the mist we would have gone up all the way to the top. We were really tired by now and decided to setup camp, since it was sunset time and with this kind of mist, we wouldn't be able to see much in sometime. The tent came up and we watched the sunset through the mist and clouds and finally decided to have dinner, since we hadn't really eaten much post-lunch. We were fast asleep by 2005 and had an alarm set at 0530 to catch the sunrise. Since it was still misty, we slept for another 45 mins. When we came out of the tent, the view was serene. The mist was clearing away, the sun was already up a bit and that's when we knew for sure that this wasn't the peak :D We could see it about a 1.5 Kms away and well, we were too tired to continue. To add on to that, the sign board that pointed out the right way to the peak had fallen down and we didn't know how to proceed. We decided to head back to Kukke.
The biggest mistake you make when climbing up is to think that climbing down would be an easy task. Yeah, bloody right. When you've got screwed legs, it is not easy to climb down all the steep ascents you climbed up. The second biggest mistake you could possibly make is have no glucose with you. I'd given my packet to Hari and well...towards the final leg of the descent, I was really in a bad shape, hurting all over and at one point couldn't move on until I had some biscuits to eat. Finally, we made it down at around 1245 after starting out at 0650. The trek was complete. Yay!
Mouthfuls of glucose later and after we couldn't find a free room to take a shower, we just freshened up, changed clothes and had a nice lunch. Headed to the temple and from there to the bus stand, caught the 1730 bus to Bangalore (which had it's own share of drama with people fighting in the bus, delaying it by about 40 mins or so) and reached home at 0140 on Monday morning.
My legs and thighs hurt till about Thursday or so :D. Overall, we really enjoyed the experience and the rest of the pictures are up at http://xinetd.accosted.net/gallery/kptrek2006/ and http://www.flickr.com/photos/fox2mike/tags/kptrek2006/ . The next time, we plan to do this via the Madikeri -Somwarpet side and come down via Kukke.