Saturday, July 04, 2009

On a dark full moon day to Skandagiri


Friday's are always eventful and happy Days :) This Friday proved to be a thriller as well.
Usually a trip sheet would attract about 10-15 enthusiasts, but this one was a super whammy with a sign on of close to 100 trekkers. Most of them first timers! The challenge was to organise a 100 people to trek on a Full Moon night and, when on Friday morning, the rain gods decide to play spoil sport. We were hoping for drop outs but the crowd stuck to the challenge. We were prepared for the harshest of weather. Torches, warm clothes, water bottles and energy bars were all in the back packs.

At 12.30 in the dead of a rainy Friday night, we are at the base camp. The town and people around are asleep. But we are greeted by the forest guard who was expecting us. He was accompanied by 4 policemen who stopped us at the gates. They would not allow us to enter the forest at this unearthly hour.

For any first timer, to go to Skandagiri, you do not need permission to trek the mountains if you are a small group of trekkers. You just need to ensure that you are a group of at least 5 and you have enough armour to trek in the bushy hills. A forest guard and a few policemen hang around as usual expecting their palms to be greased. A few stood negotiating with the cops.

What you need to note is that the trek from the base to the top of Skandagiri takes approx. 2.5 hours with stops on the way. And if its a rainy and windy day, then its not advisable to hang around on the summit for long as it tends to get really cold. Be prepared to carry enough warm clothes if the weather is cold.

Since the cops held us back, we had to kill time at the base camp. We walked a few meters away and set up a bon fire to keep us warm and engaged until the cops and the forest guard gave up at 3.00 am. At 3.00 am we divided ourselves into groups of 10 with a leader in the group who would ensure that the group was together along the trek and each of the trekkers helped the other in case required. A forest guard led the first batch of trekkers and the rest of the folks followed. As we walked along the path, the torchlight’s came on, first the initial ten, then another batch and then another, soon it seemed like a trail of fire flies in the night. GPS applications were turned on. The altitude and the distance were being tracked. As the trekkers progressed, the terrain started to get tougher. The rocky terrain had started to slow the trekkers already. Narrow paths along the hill meant that we could only trail each other in a single line. There was chill in the air as we began to climb the hill. There was chillness in the air and slowly the jackets, mufflers and the caps came on.

The girls were not far behind than the guys. They were equally paced with the guys. As we gained height, a few felt the pressure build and called for frequent stops along the way. IT was cold and chilly, the wind blew the mist across our faces. A few who had capes on the jackets pulled up and strapped up to cover the face. IF you stood to relax on the way here, in the gusty cold wind, your sweat would cool and you would begin to feel colder. So it was better to keep walking up the hill.

GPS check along the way showed up that we had trekked about 2.5 kms up the hill we had more to go..

Armed with a torch light that can light up a few 100 meters, we moved on. The cold wind blower much harder against us now ..




3 comments:

Adarsh said...

Hey Sunil!

Do you have the telephone number of the forest guard?

How was the weather? was it raining? cold?

Did you get to see the clouds?

Vc said...

Sunil...When did you change your name to renith.. i was there ..eh a year ago...can i see some more pics..pls pls..

SloganMurugan said...

Lovely. Kick ass pics