Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.
US humorist & showman (1879 – 1935)
The last 2 days have been one of the most exciting in my life… 35 of us mostly strangers to each other took a trek to Yedakumeri which was physically and mentally demanding on all of us… Some took a detour half way(including me) and some braved the entire journey but all in all we had the time of our lives and not to mention the bonding and coming together to help each other…
We started the journey on Friday evening and our inexperience in trekking was exposed by carrying more food than we required(I know its a understatement). We dumped most of the carrybags but still managed to carry much more that we would need. The overnight journey to Donigal(a few km from Sakleshpur) was peaceful… many got to rest their eyes and mentally prepared for the 2 tough days ahead.
When we got down at Donigal we spent a little time sorting out stuff to carry and then we had started… The tracks looked inviting and before long we got used to stepping on a plank after another… Sid was more happy playing around trying to balance himself on the rail and within the first 30 min of our trek he fell and cut himself near his left eye… The cut looked deep and there was blood all over the left side of his face… We got out our first aid kit and in about 5 min we were back on track again :)…
The sceneries were just too breathtaking… The mist coupled with the amazing scenery and the open sky over the track was just too beautiful… It was 6:30 in the morning and the cool breeze was a perfect start to a perfectly pleasent day…
The first bridge was our trip back to reality as we got a preview of what this whole journey would be all about… The feeling of standing in mid air supported by by a 5 inch thick metal beam did not sit well with others but Vinny, Kittu, Jace, Theju, Sid and I were totally loving it… I got my cam out and just started clicking. I remember stopping at the center, spreading my arms wide and screaming “This is life”… Jace lost his lens cap on the first bridge and Vinny and I seemed to be more bothered by it than him :)
We tagged along until our first major pitstop… this was major coz we lost like 2.5hrs here and I had the first feeling that my body was not accepting the new experience kindly… This snap taken in Sepia mode is my favorite snap of the trip and truly captures the amazing feel of our trip…
We started moving after the break and soon were introduced to an array of tunnels and bridges… Each one unique and crossing it was a pleasure… The LED torches came in handy as we crossed the tunnels. The first few were short and the absence of bats got us feeling creepy in the first few tunnels at least.
The next major stop came after the tallest bridge in the journey and before the longest tunnel… The bridge was over 50 feet in height and We got some really beautiful snaps of the amazing structure… Hemanth was going the fearfactor way jumping around and “living on the edge”. The view of the stream below was magnificent and the invitation for a swim was too good to ignore.
Sid was the first one down and followed by Jace, Hemanth and me… The stream was cool and the dip did wonders to our aching backs… Sid posed for some merman photos and I could not convince either of the 3 to do an imitation of a hollywood bombshell getting out of water… After a while I got into the water myself and showed them what I meant :P
The dip was best part of the day and after that we grabbed lunch and headed towards our destination again… The next tunnel was over 500 m in length and the bats overhead were making a lot of noise… Most people were scared to death of the sounds and told me later that they ran out of there. My idea was clear, Bats hv possibly the best radar in the animal world and they wont bump into me… I had to worry only about Bat poop which was the only one of the two without a radar to avoid me :P.
The trek by now got really monotonous and staring at the tracks was taking a toll on our necks… We stopped about 4 times each time for like 15 min before we reached our destination at 4pm… The first team made it there by 1pm and the last one by 6pm just before sunset…
Yedakumeri’s Railway station is an abandoned railway track with like 10 ppl living there… We got a few empty rooms to keep our luggage and sleep overnight… The arrival of dusk marked the birth of fire and Anant, Vinyas, Hemanth, Kittu, Manas and gang were busy trying to get firewood to light up… After about 30 min of exhausting and deligent firefeeding the fire became self sufficient… The next step was to cook food and the girls had packets of maggi and cup noodles to cook up… The noodles were delicious and people were more than happy to gulp it down :). I was still suffering from my stomach’s incapability to accept food and had to do with drinking as much liquid as possible and Glucose.
The night was calm and the smoke seemed to hv scared away the mosquitoes… Vinny still seemed to attract a rat and woke me in the middle of the night swearing at the rodent which allegedly brushed past us. The morning greeted us with ashes and a light mist… Insects were beautiful around us… noteably this one which was scratching the burnt wood for food.
The morning was more clear than the first day…15 of us had decided to take a detour and shortcut our way to the destination… The others decided to continue to the destination on the track…
The story of the second day from their point of view is well written by Jace in his blog entry
The first 500 m was the toughest and it was a pleasant change from the tracks… It took us almost 2 hrs to get down to the bottom of the steep hill and without making any stops it was pretty incredible… The 2 min of pause for photos on way hardly let us get our breadth back… Manas was leading the first pack and rest of us were like a few min behind the first few.
The stream at the bottom was beautiful and the water was the clearest we hv seen all trip… We took a few min to rest and spent a long time moving the backpacks across the stream. The next stretch was a walk in the park(pun not totally intended). The walk on a well defined path covered with dried leaves was really relaxing.
I remember switching on my Mp3 player and singing all the way(safely I had placed myself 20-30 feet from the nearest trekker to save them from my voice). The best moment was when the player(in random mode) got to “Here I am” by Bryan Adams… Man that totally felt great and this is how it felt…
Here I am – this is me
There’s no where else on earth I’d rather be
It’s a new day – it’s a new plan
I’ve been waiting for you
Here we are – we’ve just begun
And after all this time – our time has come
Ya here we are – still going’ strong
Right here in the place where we belong
Man I felt like screaming that song…
The next pitstop occurred after about 5 more songs and this was at a wide stream… The first four were already crossing it when we got there… We took a few min rest and when everyone arrived we started helping the girls across. The current was strong but hardly a couple of ppl got their foot wet along the way.
The next task was getting a ride till Subramanya and that seemed easier said then done… The first four managed to get a ride quickly but the remaining 11 of us found it difficult… finally a kind truck driver gave us a drop till a check post and was so kind he did not even accept the money we offered… We bought them a few tender coconuts as a way of saying thank you.
We took a bus to Subramanya… not all of us got seats and the others improvised by sitting on the steps of the bus. The lodge and the bed was a welcome gift to the guys and me… We took a shower and grabbed lunch(I still could not eat much and was living on glucose).
By evening the other 20 ppl had returned from their trek and they too spent some time freshening up… The evening was dedicated to visiting the temple and eating dinner(not much again for me)
The bus came over at 9 pm and we were off by 10:30. The ride back was relaxing as ppl around us were playing antakshari and we just sat and listened…
Final Few Words:
I firstly want to thank Theju for making this trip so successful… if it wasn’t for his diligence and leadership most of the trip would hv been impossible… I also want to thank all that braved pain and tiredness to reach the destination… Thanks for everything guys :)
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