That night in the wilderness.
There are some obvious days in a 23 years old’s life where there is work and work. And some more work. Well, weekdays with such fettles had started to take a toll on my sanity. Of course, I had to vent it all out.
Now, malls and movies are too overrated, I tell you. For me, the idea of venturing outdoors is impeccable. Any time! This time I convinced my nerves to try a midnight trek. As I stalked the posts of that particular trek to Kabbaldurga, the chills got me right through. Still lousy at climbing, mind you. I booked a seat. And this post is the final consequence of that first-timer-excitement.
Friday. I quickly wrapped up my schedule at the office by 4pm and rushed to catch a bus from Mysore to Bangalore. As a dramatic buff, the moment I took a seat in the bus, my fantasies got indulged into the feels of spending that night up on a hill, under the sky, amongst the stars and all that jazz. I day dream a lot. Gosh!
It was 9. 30pm and I reached Marathahalli, which was my pickup point for the trip. The Escape2Explore guys were right on time. I hopped in and took the first seat. The bus took us to Ramnagara, to a cottage like construction away from the main city, where we had some hot tea and were given sleeping bags and a stick of wood as we headed towards the bus. This time the driver had put up some crazy, like insanely hand picked Bollywood beats. No more fantasies though, all I could imagine was “How could these songs ever happen to Bollywood and why?”. However, they kept me alive till midnight. That and my bar of snickers.
We reached the base by 12.30am. To be frank, I expected lights and a little crowd there. Nonetheless, it was pitch dark and deserted. I love virgin places like these. Yay! We were a group of 18 and it was time to start the venture. Thank god for torches, I tell you. When I decide to trek upon a hill, the view of the peak is what inspires me all the way through. But surprise! It was the first time where I could barely see anything except my 2 steps ahead, as much the torch would barely show. Though I could see some lights far away to lead us to the summit, it just wasn’t enough.
And it started. Kabbaldurga is a monolithic hill, the head coordinator told me. So, there isn’t any particular trail to reach the peak. Some man-made steps like depressions across the steep hills are the only help out there. We went on. I was scared of the darkness. What if I step on a snake or some poisonous insect? Thankfully, we weren’t accompanied by any of those. Phew!
After some 200 steps, as the hill got steep, I could feel the weariness. It was such an attentive climb. We actually had to focus on our posture and mind our steps throughout. It was rather a moderate trek that was difficult at few points. All of it I did just to watch delightful views of the country life across the vicinity. Once in a while, I would look back to watch a bed of dotted lights flashing from that nearby village and it would take away all my strains. Else, I would just look up and watch the clearest view of thousands of constellations spread across the sky. Trust me, it’s all worth it.
Ascended 3500 something ft. and we were done. We reached the cloud-studded, windy and darkest of the dark peak. I couldn’t wait for the bonfire to start as I could feel my spines shivering. Yes, it was that cold. Swamy, our trek lead started the bonfire and we sat blissfully around it. The sky wasn’t as clear then, but momentary glimpses of stars kept appearing. I quickly slipped into my sleeping bag and watched the fire, the sky and the people. As I felt the strong winds gushing, taking in the warmth of the fire, I didn’t speak much. I preferred enjoying the moment in silence.
6.30 am. I woke up to a bone-chilling morning. Apparently, the sun was as lazy as we were. Unwilling much, I got up to capture its first appearance in my camera. Ummm.. how to put it! It was this sudden explosion of orange and yellow blee all over the obscure sky. That’s how the sun showed up. Atop, there was a small shrine dedicated to Goddess Kabalamma and ruins of a fort to add up the charm. And I am actually short of words on how beautiful the morning was, so I’ll just let the pictures speak for it.
That’s how it ended. With little pain and so much gain.
P.S – Apologies for the long winded post. But hey, it was my first ever night trek. I have all the rights in the world to celebrate it.