In the first weekend of this month, my trekking gang and myself went to Mullainagiri and Bababudangiri for trekking. We’ve never experienced a “monsoon trek” / “rain trek”, so this was our chance to go for it. I’ve done the Mullainagiri trek before and I was quite looking forward to it again. I remember my favorite moment of trekking and suddenly realizing that clouds were below me…
To reach Mullainagiri, start at Chikmagalur bus stand, walk down a few hundred feet and have amazing idly and vada for breakfast at the Soundarya hotel in the main road, and then take a local jeep (next to the bus stand) to the Mullainagiri starting point. We took the jeep option, and as usual, we eventually got on top of the jeep. We had to make sure the jeep driver took us to the small iron arch where the trek is supposed to start.
There was a lush green colour all around us, and we were taking in the fresh clean mountain air with joy. The best part of Mullainagiri is its visibility – you can’t see anything beyond ten feet, because there is so much fog. Then, we got to the part that we were waiting for – rain. And boy, did it rain.
As we reached the top, we found this cute little fella:
We reached the top of Mullainagiri, admired the harsh winds, hard rain, and full cellphone connectivity and finally got inside the temple room, and got some black tea from the pujari and his helper. We opened up our supplies of bread, jam and cheese and munched away.
Then, we began our very-long-but-easy-terrain downhill walk.
It is boring to go downhill and we were getting impatient, but we trudged on, and some hours later we were back on the road.
Then, we walked a distance, and got to see an amazing view. It was as if the clouds and mountains were playing hide and seek with us.
Then, we had to get to our next stop – the starting point for Bababudangiri. So, we went to catch the bus and waited at the bus stand, but one of the locals said that the bus may be delayed by hours, so we started walking down anyway. After some time, a private bus came, and it was going to take us to Hathi Gondi and it was completely full inside, we were wondering how we were going to fit inside with all our baggage. Then, one of us asked the bus conductor whether we can get on top of the bus, and he said yes… the rest is a crazy memory.
We got down from the bus at Hathi Gondi, barged into a local tea stall, had very satisfying tea and coffee, and one of the most softest bread buns I’ve ever eaten.
We started our walk towards the top of Baba Budangiri, and we took the shortcut straight to the top which criss-crossed the road some 7 times.
The weather was so amazing, I just lost it, and started running, trying to see if I can hug the rain. Heh.
When we reached the top, we decided to rent few of the “shutters” rooms and stay there even though we had carried two heavy tents. There was simply no way the tents would have withstood that rain and winds. We wrapped ourselves in the rugs we borrowed from the chai shop walla, and then started telling stories about each other, it was a laugh riot, including the story of how one of the guys proposed to some girl with a potato … and then there were some recollection of old memories and the newbies of the gang were initiated about how the trekking gang got together and so on.
We finally went to sleep, but the intense cold didn’t spare us. Our sleeping bags were too wet from the rain to be of any use, so we had to wrap ourselves in the rugs on top of the slightly wet sleeping mats. It was a cold cold night. The three of us in our room kept talking at regular intervals sometimes out of pure frustration and sometimes purely to check that we’re still breathing. One of the newbies was praying so hard and was so happy to see the first rays of sunshine at morning 5 am.
Next day morning, three of the gang went back to Chikmagalur, while the rest 6 of us went in search of the famous falls that we heard so much about.
This turned out to be the best part of the trek. The winds were so hard that I was walking at 45 degrees angle. It was unbelievable. I’ve never experienced or seen such strong winds ever. Combining this with the lush greenery, the rain, the cold and the company, was simply an unforgettable experience. Due to the same combination of factors, we got very few photographs because we couldn’t take risk the cameras, and we were more worried about staying together and making sure we didn’t get lost.
And then we did get lost. So, we backtracked a bit, and then found something that can be called a path, and eventually jumped with joy when we discovered we were back on a road. When we were near the end of the road, we came across a lake. That’s right, a lake. And we jumped in. Crazy.
After some time, we convinced ourselves that we have to leave, we sort of dried our shoes and shirts, and continued. When we reached the end of the road, we came across a tea stall! Now, this is what I call “high tea” :)
There was six of us and I think we had around some 40 pakodas, and they disappeared as soon as they arrived near us.
We got down the stairs and saw the falls. It was a major major disappointment. It looked like three water taps were on, let alone resemble a “falls”, but it didn’t matter too much to us since the journey to there was more than worth it.
Then, we got back to Bababudangiri, took the bus and went back to Chikmagalur. We had our customary dinner-in-the-town where we recuperate, discuss our favorite parts of the trek, and then prepare for the reality that we have to get back to our normal lives the next day.