Sunday, February 16, 2014

Channagiri Trek With Bangalore Ascenders

I have been following Bangalore Ascenders Group for quite sometime now. It is probably the only reputed group that truly is not for profit and organises amazing treks. Needless to say its rather difficult to get selected for a trek. Apart from impeccable timing you need to prove yourself, as here the only metric is reputation. Last minute cancellations and people with bad attitude need to be filtered out to prevent the treks from being affected by it, so I feel it's absolutely needed. But as I have never been for any treks with them I jumped at the opportunity of the Channagiri Trek. It was mentioned as a beginner trek. I have done moderate treks previously and it seemed like it would be a cakewalk for me. 

Start of the Day

We had to assemble near majestic rather early in the morning. I woke up and realised i was a bit late! I was about 10 minutes late and almost everyone was already present and they were having a round of introductions. Soon after that we went to the ksrtc bus stop and boarded a bus to the Channagiri at 7:22 AM. We were 22 of us and thanks to us the bus was all full. Sadly we all couldn't be seated close by in the bus. We did try to make the most out of it and played a rather difficult round of Dumb charades. You can tell that these guys are pros when they guess Shawshank Redemption in 15 secs. 

8:45 AM - Auto Auto Auto

Channagiri is a hill right next to nandi hills, so we got down from the bus at Nandi Cross and took these humongous autos that reminded me of school days. 10 of us squeezed into each auto and then there was Patrick always living on the edge.  

After a short journey we halted at a small restaurant and packets of food were given to us. That was our lunch. We were free to order whatever breakfast we needed and pay for it. 

Here i saw a couple of sparrows and I was rather amused. I remember the days as a kid when sparrows were everywhere in the city and now I think I saw one after at least 10 years. 

9:45 AM - The Trek

We continued on our journey to Channagiri and finally reached the base of the hill. We started our trek. The first few minutes were pretty normal . Everyone was energetic and ready to conquer anything on the way. But then we met our first obstacle - Thorns! They were everywhere, tearing our bags, clothes and skins. Ok it wasn't so bad, but they certainly slowed us down and the sun wasn't helping at all. I guess it was our bad luck that the sun was especially bright that day. 

Luckily for us this did not last too long and soon we were surrounded by dry grass. They were no ordinary grass, they were really really tall , taller than even some of us. There wasn't much of greenery now as the sun had ensured everything was dry and hot

12:00 PM - Oh The Heat!

It was already more than 2 hours since we started trekking and the peak was nowhere near. Dehydration was making things worse and then I realised that I should have gotten that extra bottle of water. We were resting at any place where there was enough shade. Mind you there weren't many of them. 

12:45 PM - Almost There

We were almost near the peak but found a huge shady place to have our lunch first. Sadly no one really had the appetite to finish the lunch we had packed. Again the importance of getting a lot of water was being rubbed all over our faces. But then the much needed rest, shade and food did the trick and we were all set to go. 

2:00 PM - The Top

After a couple of group photos and insane jumping pics we were all set to climb down. It was a nice view from the top but it was certainly way too bright. Sunset or sunrise would be an ideal time to be here at the top.

2:05 PM - Sliding All The Way

A couple of minutes into the descent and we realised that this wasn't as easy as it looked. the dry grass was slippery and it was difficult to walk without slipping. There was no fear of rolling over though as the grass provided very good support. So we improvised and started sliding down the hill. We had taken a different route while climbing down and luckily there weren't any thorns here. But the sun was still there, and it was such a relief to see the road. 

3:14 PM - End of the Trek

We were back at the base of the hill and now we needed water. luckily there was water near the temple under construction right at the base. Finally we were all recharged and rested. We had the company of some monkeys. We fed them whatever lunch packets were still remaining. Sadly one of the monkey stole a water bottle and made futile attempts at biting through it. These monkeys were in general not dangerous but then they had some sharp teethes. We left our dear monkeys behind and started walking towards the bus stop. 

5:00 PM - Bhoganandishwara Temple

Bhoganandishwara Temple

Dumb Charades

We reached the Bhoganandishwara Temple and most of us sat in the rather huge garden. I went around and took a couple of pictures. There were a lot of carvings on the wall both inside and outside the temple .  And I spotted a sparrow here again! 

6:00 PM - The Return

We boarded a rather crowded bus back to Bangalore and most of us had to stand the entire journey. It wasn't that bad, but there were no dumb charades sadly. And thus ended the trek to Channagiri.

My Experience

I had thought it would be a rather easy trek but the dehydration and the thorns were rather unexpected challenges and it seemed more of a moderate trek to me. It was quite good to see a lot of first timers successfully completing it. The organisers were absolutely great. I am looking forward to a lot more trekking with the BAngalore Ascenders. 

Quotable Quotes

Ashutosh - "I have never felt the taste of water so good." - At the base of the hill after the trek

Me: "What is the frequency of this bus"
Patrick : 500 Mhz 
Me: :-/

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