Saturday, May 12, 2012

Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks

My first trek in India - Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks
Organized by (Bangalore mountaineering club)

Not only it was my first trek but it was one of my first trek as part of a group which has guides, organizes food, transport and stay. Pretty much you pay the money and reach there at the pick up time, everything else is taken care by them. The peaks are part of Western Ghats about 280 kms away from Bangalore.  Since most of my hikes have been alone, it was a new experience for me to hike with people :) Here are the good and the not-so-good about the trek -

The best part -
Trekking in rain. For the last 6 kms of trek it rained heavily and we hiked the Bababuddangiri peak in rain with my poncho on me. That $3 poncho purchased at the Yellowstone national park gets the highest ROI award for this trip. Hiking in rain is a lot of fun and its brings the nature with new energy and spirits. It also helps if you are crossing clouds, or you are above clouds over a valley.

The good -
Western Ghats in general are quite beautiful.  I am not sure if it is ok to compare one natural scenery to another, but i would still rate Yosemite to be more scenic than here.  But western ghats when compared relative to Indian landscape and what we have done with it look very very good.
The trek overall was quite good. There were decent trails. I hiked 200 metres behind the guy ahead of me and 200 metres ahead of the guy behind me, so pretty much i felt it was a solo trek, the exception being the peaks which were checkpoints where all of us had to meet before going forward. Going solo means peace, no sound, i can assume that there are no humans nearby. I was overall happy with my breathing and strength to go on.
Near the Mullayangiri peak, there are also caves, so exploring them was a nice surprise.
The campfire at night with antakashari totally reminded that it happens in Indian hike only :)

The not-so-good:
~ This is a comment in general about Indian trails - there are no maps. So if you are lost, you are screwed. I wonder all these groups with so much experience, they should start preparing maps. I am pretty sure it will come with time soon.
~ The group was quite big - 22 people. And the constraint to wait for everybody at peaks was quite annoying because the slowest people were like 1 hr behind me. When alone, i can do things at my own pace, relax when i want to and time things accordingly. And i am also not the fittest, given a group of athletes, i am pretty sure i would be the last one, but atleast i know that hiking should not be done by holding each other's hands etc etc. Anyways, there were some group annoyances which were not welcome.
~Food - bmcindia organized food at a place instead of giving lunch boxes. We reached 45 mins before the food, so that was a wait. The food was also biriyani, i am not sure if that can be called a hiking food. But after food, even though i ate less, it makes you sluggish. 15 kms is not that long a hike that i need a food break in between. I also didn't like it. Everybody had enough energy bars etc to last the hike without it.
~ Like any group, there were good people and bad people. If i see someone who throws a water bottle or a used napkin in nature, immediately it is a turn off. It just makes me crazy when people have a lack of respect towards nature.
~ The temple on top of Mulllayangiri - Why o why we have to make a temple everywhere? I didn't go in because they wanted to take shoes off which is not acceptable to me.
~ The leech experience. Many shared their stories of leeches. It is gross but painless, ugly but harmless. So i thought that i was prepared until i witnessed it myself. The general prescription was that do not be bothered, just finish the trek and deal with it later. But when faced with them, i also panicked little bit and ran as quickly as i can.

~I think overall i missed the flexibility and control that i have over my hikes. But i think that is a price to pay for no planning and trail guides :)

Trek to Mullayanagiri - Bababuddangiri Peaks

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