Lawrence saw lots of rain over the entire spring semester. Everytime when I left to campus in the morning, the smell of the wet sand reminded me of how much I missed the monsoon treks which until last year I hadn’t missed out for six consecutive years in India. Always have loved travelling in the local bus through the villages in the ghat region with my head leaned on the window, completely lost in the view outside with heavy rain splashing over the window glass, walking in the woods completely drenched in the rain listening to the sound of water flowing on either side of the trail, chirp’s made by god knows which insects and having fun plucking of the blood sucker – Leeches who are always trying to content there hunger to eventually kill themselves.
So here’s my first monsoon trek that I ventured with seniors and juniors during my sophomore year in 2009. This was peak monsoon period and two weeks prior to our hike the alarms where out that more rain was expected to add to the already lashed out heavy rain over the entire month. See the link here.
Back in the campus after lot of discussion our seniors decided to lead us to Kodachadri hiking trail, a well known two day hike in Western Ghats region. All excited we gathered in the local railway station to board the train to Shimoga district. We were thirteen of us totally.
With no prior reservation made, we realized our adventure was to start in the train itself as we rushed into the heavily crowded compartments trying to find space to stand. We did eventually, with guys spread across two compartments with most of them seated in the floor, including myself. Some of us like me where unfortunate to have been stuck close to the toilet, and some where fortunate to have witnessed an entertaining verbal fight between aged couple who were drunk.
At 6 AM we reached Shimoga and boarded the bus to Gowri Kere, the start point of the hike trail to Kodachadri Peak. I loved this part of the trip, travelling in local bus through the vilages in ghat region. Always have been lost in my own world during these journey during monsoon. Everything looks different with series of positive thoughts gushing in, making life look simple and very beautiful.
Four hours of journey and we finally reached our hike’s start point. The busdriver before we got down cautioned us about the risks involved in walking through the woods, after all the rain the place had seen for the entire month. It was raining when we started the trek up hill and in no time we had our share of picking leeches off our legs as soon as we got into the forest. There were plenty of them. We used the rope to cross the streams that had water flowing with heavy current.
Unfortunately thanks to the heavy rain we couldn’t hike up by this trail through the Hidlumane falls (which we went had a look at though) and had to resort taking a different path lead by our guide who practices agriculture in the forest close to Hidlumane falls. After almost 3 kms of steep walk in heavy rain we reached the jeep route, from where the PWD guest house in the peak was around 2 kms walk. We reached the guest house at around 5:00PM.
On entering the guest house, we were greeted by the walls covered with green patches of algae along with leeches and cockroach stuck to the roof. Thanks to the extensive rain the place receives during monsoon months, no guests are expected except for few hikers like us. So we got a good deal to stay there for the night which also included a simple meal for the night.
Some of us tried having camp fire but only to go down in vain, thanks to the crazy breeze and the rain. Later we all dispersed to different corners of the room where we could find dry floor, and slept off !