Elephants, Injuries & Thunderstorms : 6 Hair-raising Encounters Around BangaloreTuesday, March 15, 2016
1. Stranded on a mountain top in a thunderstorm with neither food nor tent
|Pretty pink flowers blossom on the slopes of Western Ghats during monsoon. Pictured here, us getting down Kumara Parvatha on the second morning.|
For a more raw unedited version, read this - Mission Kumara Parvatha
2. Biking down a dangerously twisting downhill road in the dark
|Stunning views on the winding roads around Munnar|
3. An encounter with a rogue elephant
|Vast expanses of Shola grasslands and forests in Charmadi Ghats|
4. Parched and disoriented in pursuit of an elusive waterfall
|Arishinagundi Falls, brimming after a generous monsoons|
Full ordeal here: Reaching Arishinagundi Falls, A Quest In Itself!
5. Hopelessly lost and blinded by mist on an extremely windy cliff edge
|Spectacular early morning views around Kodachadri|
6. An injury and after dark adventures in unknown land
|Vellagavi, where no one wears footwear inside the village.|
We had to abandon our hike and get her to the road head, as she couldn’t walk any further. In the searing summer heat, we took turns lifting her to get her out of the thorn-filled bushy undergrowth. We made it to the road head only in the evening and she and her husband were on their way to Bangalore. We were back to square one, we were at the same place we started the hike in the morning, only difference being we were totally exhausted. It was almost 5 in the evening then. The locals already reliably informed us that attempting the trail at night is fraught with dangers — the bisons attack often, it is an old smuggling route and fierce dogs guard the orchards in the forest. We already had a brief encounter with a herd of bisons earlier that morning.
Not wanting to leave the trail already, we decided to wing it in the night. It was a moon less night and storm clouds accumulated over our heads. Lightning crackled incessantly and fierce winds blew as we climbed the desolate trail passing through very dense jungle. There was fear lurking in all our minds but we kept trudging as fast as we could to reach the village. As the night became darker, any noise would freak us out. It could be a bison, or an elephant or any other animal. Darkness preyed upon our fear and I, for one, was petrified.
Finally, hours later, dogs barked in the distance. It was both a good sign and bad. What if the dogs chased after us? Guard dogs are supposed to attack, they wouldn’t let us go unharmed if they catch us. On the other hand, it meant we were close to the village. With our hearts in our mouths, we trudged along to find relief wash us over when a faint flicker of lights came into view. Our ordeal had ended 4 hours since we started. The next morning, we found redemption in the incredible hospitality shown by the locals of Vellagavi.
You can read more about that lovely village here - Vellagavi - Where There Is No Road And No Footwear. This was my first ever published print story, I wrote it for The Hindu and never got paid a penny for it btw! ;)
Also read: 13 Pictures Of Incredible Clouds From Western Ghats!
I am often scared silly on hikes due to reasons that may seem trivial. But without that fear, there’s no excitement either. I might be petrified but I always do try. By doing so, I have collected hundreds of precious memories in that tinder box in my mind. That glorious redemption in the form of a reward — either an adrenaline overdose powered by gorgeous views or an overwhelming sense of accomplishment of overcoming obstacles — after a trying hike is precisely why most of us are addicted to pushing through even in the face of uncertainty when in outdoors.
Have you had any such encounters that got a bit too adventurous? Let me know in the comments!
The Adventure Gypsies - Started by few of my close pals and die-hard adventurers, you can be sure to go on a completely wild and awesome adventure with these guys. They all have their day jobs at the moment so you might not see much action here all the time but when they strike, it's one wild ride! So keep an eye out for any events they might come up with.