Monday, December 12, 2016

Kudremukha Trek

Kudremuka. The name Kuduremukha literally means 'horse-face' (in the Kannada language) and refers to a particular picturesque view of a side of the mountain that resembles a horse's face. However, we will not be able to see the horse face view from the trek path. 

The sun is still overhead as we arrive at Rajappa Gowda's house. As I breathe the hot air in and out, my mouth becomes as dry as dust. We decided to stay at Rajappa Gowd's house so that we can wake up early and start the climb.

Note: There are two houses meant for accommodation (Either Rajappa Gowda's house or Satish Gowda's house). I would suggest go for Rajappa gowda's house if the accommodation is available. Better among the two. 

The smells of chilli, garlic and ginger were sharp and powerful. Lunch was ready and I found it bland, insipid, uninspired. "This is . . . very nice," I said, referring to the meal. I can't complain while on a hike. To be fair, I loved the breakfast and the pakodas that they prepared with the tea.

We started the hike at 7AM. Rajappa gowda took care of the permit and the guide. Luckily weather was cold and I could feel my feet tread on the damp grass and the sky is almost cloudy. I move forward in a daze. The ground gets wetter and wetter. Through the green grass ahead I glimpse the peak. Hurriedly I drop my pack, pick my camera and walk through the grass and start taking images.

A while later, we came across a cold sweep of water. There are 10 such streams on the hiking route. Let me plunge into your waters! Trying not to fall and sink into the mud, I stamp to the shore, throw myself down and scoop the water into my mouth. Its potable, clear, cold and even tasty.   

 After an hour's ascent we reach the plains. A welcoming committee of Pond Herons meet us at the flat lands in their finest breeding plumage. What we saw were patches of land that was being cultivated. The rice paddies are now replaced by wild weeds. A quick dash on the grass would startle the pond herons. It was beautiful to see the white bird take a flight amidst the red weeds.

 A horseback rider wouldn't have too much difficulty getting past the blisters and eruptions that scarred the sholas and forests here. Stories of how Lobo came on an horse and built his house and cultivated the lands are still alive. We passed the abandoned Lobo house to realize nothing lasts forever. 

Breasting the regular swells of land, on a dirt track as true as a line of longitude, we were like a boat at sea. Finally we reached the first pit stop after many pit stops to reach Onti Mara (The Lonely Tree) 

The breakfast was simple. Idli with leftover sambar from yesterdays dinner. On a regular day, we would have complained. But not today.  

 But the land was still bad enough but the views were magnificent. Is it a ragged mallow ? I'm not sure but the yellow flowers were everywhere.

Suddenly it dawns on me that distances can be deceptive. The peak that from the starting point seemed so near could be few kilometers away.

The ruined walls of an abandoned church was a testimony to natures resilience. Nothing is permanent. Nevertheless we got some surreal backdrops for our portrait photography. 

As the sun climbed up, the peak reappears at last, lying still at the edge of the sky. I am on course, but my legs can barely hold. At nine in the morning the sun was already hot but the clouds were in full flow. Must say, this is the most photogenic peak in Karnataka. 

We soaked up the sunshine and listened to the silence, silence broken only by the occasional gust of wind through the grass, or the call of a pair of eagles that floated in the sky. All too soon, it was time to packup and head back. After customary refreshments, we headed back. Its unfortunate that the camping is not allowed on the peak.  

Hiking is earthy, soul enriching and character building, and there can be few such satisfying moments as having completed a trek and the smoke rising from your campfire as the golden sun sets on the horizon--even if it's just for a fleeting moment.

Here is a link to our trek video put together beautifully by fstopro


molarbear's posts said...

Seems to have been quite a challenging trek,but all the more satisfactory because of that! Liked the photos and the video a lot. This is a version of Kudremukha that we, as birders,hardly get to see....we don't hike for kilometers together! Thank you for showing me this facet of Kudremukha. -Deepa.

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