Thursday, 19 July 2007

the yedukumeri experiencce

back in feb of '06, we friends decided that we've had enuff of monotonous coding job that had consumed us since more than a year. yea we are a grp of s/w engg, a profession we love and hate!
and since the month of feb we started on a travelling spree, our aim was, come wht may, every month on a weekend we are off from bangalore for a break. so passed 2 months travelling to 2 places, but all started in the mid of april, whn we decided to trek the path of the train! the railway track trek, also known as the greenroute, along the western ghats of karnataka.

we had heard and read a lot about this 'heaven on earth' place. and there started the plan, to trek this route. the team consited of 8 ppl, nachi (nachiketh), barget (bharath), don (varun), arsi (santhosh), rich (dinesh), hebbal (bharath), kb (pradip) & dadiya (myself). it was my responsibility to get the tickets booked to donigal, sakleshpura.
myself along with barget roamed around majestic to book the tickets for the last weekend of april, but tickets were expensive or not available, and upon tht the buses werent ready to stop at sakleshpura or donigal, either they were direct buses to dharmasthala or mangalore. so we decided to go for a private travels and we ended up at a travels called 'friends'. and we booked 9 tickets, yea another person, paapu (pradeep), was supposed to join us but work took over him and he dropped out.

so the d-day came in and we were all paccked up and raring to go. the bus was supposed to leave at 11pm and eventually he left at 12.15am after loading the bus fully with passengers (these pvt travels wont budge until their bus is full). we thot its gonna be a long journey but we reached the donigal stop by 4.30am, tht was pretty early thn we expected. we got down there and had a cup of tea/coffee and started the trek towards the railway track. its around 3km walk to the starting point thru the highway. after around 3 km or so u will reach a bridge on the highway, a small walkway on to the right leads to the railway track, another 300m or so and there ur on the track the starting point.


by the time we reached the track it was around 6am. yea we did have a lazy walk all the way upto the track. according to previous ppl experience and timings we were told that we wud reach the destination, yedukumeri, by around 4pm. so there we started off, all walking on the track talking nonsense on the way and enjoying the early morning sunrise and beauty of the lush green western ghats! its one amazing view. we were not alone on the trek, there was another group which had got down along with us at the donigal stop, came in the same bus as we did. we only realized tht whn we met them on the track trekking along with us.

the first bridge we encountered was a small one, and there went a small carriage on the track informing us and the other group abt an engine which was coming. so we waited for the engine to pass but the other grp managed to just cross the bridge whn the first train (rather engines only) encounter happend. infact, one good thing abt trekking this route is that, if there is a train or an engine arriving, a small carriage passes on the track informing trekkers abt the arrival.
out of the 8 guys, 6 were able to cross the bridge smoothly, except for barget and rich, they were geting terrified a bit of the height. point to note here is, whn crossing railway bridges, just concentrate on the fish plates rather thn looking the ground inbetween them. and this is waht i presume these guys werent doing. and after helping them out here we crossed our first bridge. after a 2 hours of trekking along the track enjoying the nature we came at a rivulet where we got down and freshend ourselves and had breakfast. basically we had packed up ourselves with bread, jam, cheese slices, banana (purchased at donigal), and other snacks stuff for our morning breakfast and afternoon lunch.

the trek started again and we went on until noon, enjoying the nature, pulling each others legs and having fun the usual guys way. we crossed quite a lot of bridges and tunnels, im not sure of the exact count but we crossed around 25 bridges and around 20 tunnels. the tunnels are too dark and its pretty tuff to walk perfectly if u dont have a good torch. chances are tht u miss ur step and might sprain ur ankle. but there was this guy, hebbal, walking in the dark tunnels without any light, well he had a valid point, he said just adjust ur step according to the fishplate distance and u can pass thru the tunnel landing each step perfectly on the fish plate. well wht ever tht was at one point he scared the shi* out of us. he was the one who was always ahead of us, and in one dark tunnel he is lost totally, we guys shouted out at him but he doesnt respond, and out of the blue there is a growling voice!! rich lost balance hearing the sound and pushed barget away, luckily both managed without falling. other guys were perplexed and shouting, and there i was at the last, dumbstruck, i cant turn back and run, and i thot tht someone is gonna get mauled. well all this happend in a matter of seconds, thoughts ran like a flashlight, and everything was stopped in the next moment with hebbal laughing his heart out! yea tht nonsense was done by hebbal! well we didnt have anything to do but a few abusive words here and there to him and we continued on the trek.

by around 1pm we reached a bigger rivulet, it was below one of the highest bridge we had come across. it was tuff getting down, but hebbal (we call him the nature boy, a wild guy) helped us getting down to the rivulet, and we had a pleasant time in the water playing around, and there above us went a goods train. yea along this route only goods train ply, its not yet opened for passenger trains, dunno abt the status now. these trains on this route are slow, infact when we were down in the water we saw another group crossing the bridge, and they hadnt yet crossed the bridge yet whn the train came, and these train drivers are aware of the trekkers i believe, as they waited for the trekkers to cross and thn the train moved over the bridge. well whn a train crosses a bridge never be directly under the bridge, or even at a closer distance, try and move a bit far away, as chances of some metal plates used in laying the tracks or be it anything might fall, as one such metal piece fell down very near to nachi as he was reluctant to move away. it cud be called as a close encounter with life! but actually the fact was, hebbal thru a metal piece near him and nachi wasnt consious at tht moment. so we built up on tht telling him tht the metal piece fell from the train! :)

after spendign sometime in the water, yea we had our bath, we got out and continued on our trek towards yedukumeri. the trek continued with the amazing untouched beauty of the westernghats, and by around 4.30pm we reached the destination, YEDUKUMERI!!!
we were all excited tht we finally did it. we did the trek most talked abt thn for us!
the best thing abt this place is, if u want to make calls back home, carry a BSNL sim card with u. yea this station has a BSNL mobile signal tower!
we rested in the station for an hour, and we wanted to camp there at night, but we had no food stock on us and we were all ready to get hungry. so we met the ppl residing there at the station, they didnt seem to be the station master, and asked them the route to get on to the highway. these ppl guided us perfectly right, they told us to go down the forest track, back of the station, until we reach a small creek, cross the creek and there u will get a path which forks into 2, dont take the left one instead go along the right track and another 5km we wud reach the highway.

we got down into the forest frm the station until we reached the creek the station ppl told us, and there we met another grp of 7 guys, totally lost. they were also guided by the same station ppl, and they told us tht the station ppl were wrong, as they had trekked more than 5km along the right path but in vain! and also they told tht there were elephants along the path as they had encountered fresh dung! now we all were in a prblm. which is the route? hw do we get on to the highway? at this point, out of the blue, our jungle boy a.k.a nature boy a.ka. hebbal decided to take on the task of finding the route. he told us he will be back in 15 mins and ran on the other side of the creek, he just disappeared as the forest was thick as well. we waited there for 20 mins but no response from hebbal.

so we decided to find out if there was any alternative, so we planned that one of our guys and one of the other 'lost grp' guy goes back to the station and finds out if there is any other alternative. but those 'lost grp' were not ready to do anything, they were one reluctant grp, scared right upto their every possible nerves, i wud call thm the 'meterless guys' in our style. so from our grp, nachi decided to go and find out and he went all alone. 45 mins passed by and there is no sign of hebbal nor nachi. we all were getting very tensed, and there came down nachi, a bit of relief for us. he came back with a rather bad news. he said us tht we better cross the forest whn there is daylight, if it bcmes dark its gonna be a prblm with elephants and other wild animals. tht info passed like a tremor in us. there is still no signs of hebbal and its more than an hour and the time was around 6.45 and the daylight was fading. thn out of the blue we hear something moving on the other side of the creek, and lo there was hebbal all tired! he was our hope. we asked where he had been, and his reply was, he ran along the left path and found tht it leads to the top and another deviation frm there leads back to the station. and the right path leads us to the highway! wow! he ran all the way and he sat exhausted. daylight was fading and so we decided to hurry up and not waste anytime.

we 8 plus the other 7 started of on thru the forest and we did encounter lot of elephant dung, but we were determined to cross it soon. as we walked thru the forest we cud see the lights and hear the sounds of the trucks and buses, it gave us all happiness within knowing tht we were almost there. also in our thots we were scolding and blasting the other 7 guys. damn them scared shi* ppl didnt even trek for a km and came and messed up our plans and timing. well cant do much now and after around 5km of trek at around 8.15pm we reached the banks of the river, kempuhole, the name got from its muddy water which is red in colour.
here was the most challenging point for us. there is no route nor bridge on to the other side of the river to the highway. we all sat there wondering wht to do. by then the usual guy, hebbal along with nachi decided to find a route, as we had decided tht we are gonna cross the river and not gonna stay in the forest. we dont want to take a chance with our lives.

after a few walks here and there around the river hebbal decided to wade thru the water. he said he is gonna walk thru the river, if its rough and there is too much of force we will not cross else we will wade thru the water, tht was his plan, and he first gave a try, and was able to cross the river safely. he came back again and we all held our hands tight not ready to leave anyone be dragged by the water if at all it happens. and to our luck, the floor of the river had soft sand and it helped us cross safely. now was the problem of getting on to the highway, a steep wall to be climed, and after a few searches we found a good place to get on to the road, and there we were all 8 plus the 'scared shi* of another 7' on the highway.

all were exhausted and wanted some water to drink, a few meters down the road we found a camp put up by some lorry drivers. we went there had water and they asked us where we came from and we told wht had happend. they were pretty much shocked, and they told us tht we did a good task by crossing the river and not staying on the other side itself, as the previous night they had seen a herd of around 14 elephants on the other bank. we saw each other and a chill ran down our spine. tht explained the huge amt of dung we encountered in the walk thru the forest!

there we were finally on the highway, safe from harm and raring to go to kukke, the nearest place where we planned to stay for the night. next morning we got up, freshend up and visited the temple, and booked our tickets back home. on our way back we decided tht the next trek is gonna be KP, as we lay on our seats, the bus moved and there we were thinking of the trek we had, talking abt all the experiences.
IT WAS AN AMAZING EXPERIENCE!!!

14 comments:

Pradeep said...

Nice one Shaaaa....but nanna bittu hogidri

wanderlust said...

@paapu
maam neene drop out aagidu, ningu sersi ticket book maadido...

Nebula said...

.. Lovely travel log!
I remember the pics(album)
ps.
Keep writing :D

wanderlust said...

@nebula
thnx nee :)
well, yea more to follow...

Varun said...

Good one brother!!
very informative and I went nostalgic!!
In fact, I have forwarded this link to my other 'not so brave' friends, who were skeptical about the narration I had made 2 them after the trek!

wanderlust said...

@varun

thnx don :)
hope ur frends believe now...

Retailog said...

wow...this is quite an engrossing account of the trek, i felt as if I was there walking along with the others. Good Naration, Sharath, way to go...hope this is just a start to your blogging journey.

Aks said...

nangu allige hogbeku ansta ide .. hosa railway line open aagodrolage :D .. sooper blog..

wanderlust said...

@retailog
thanx bala...yea its just a beginning...more to come, just tht im a bit help up with my dissertation now...

@aks
hey maga u better trek tht route...its one of the best and u r gonna thoroughly enjoy it!

Koppa said...

Sharath,

A really nice blog for starters! I could almost imagine the trip as if I were there with you guys and doing the trek...very well narrated! Do put up some more travelogues of your many treks/trips. I think there is still some time left if someone can plan a trek on this stretch till Jan-Feb '08...in a couple of months day trains will be introduced, and that will be the end of trekking on this fab route forever!

gargi said...

VERY VERY AMAZING.....U R DARE TO DO ANYTHING FOR UR PASSSION .... IT'S REALLY GREAT....IT'S SIMPLY EXCELLENT..!!

Gargeyi Radhakrishna said...

First of all 'OMG!!!!' My comment comes right after the comment left by my namesake :-) Very good write up! A detailed one indeed which took me through your journey like I were a part of it.

sagar said...

superrrr... those scary shi.. people are the funniest part till the end... hehehe

snigdha G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.