Monday, November 19, 2007

Trek report, Mekedatu, 18 Nov 2007.

One of the most loveliest treks I have ever gone for.

With about 100 participants and only three staff members to help, we were afraid in the beginning to go for this one, but the enthusiasm of the students overcame all our fears and we set out for the trek on 18 Nov, 2007, Sunday morning at 8 AM. The organising enthusiasm and sincerity of Amal and his team was very encouraging for us. We also wanted this first trek from XIME to be really successful, we felt that it should never be a mediocre one.

Even though the private bus (which was to take us the distance of 100 kms one way, 3 hrs travel time) was to come at 6 AM, though all students were ready, it was a bit late and that gave us enough time to mingle and get to know each other better. Prof George Kuriyan and RoseMary were ably taking care of all of us !! The new video camera with Prof George Kuriyan could be seen everywhere..

We reached Sangama at 11 AM and immediately after making some enquiries with the locals ( we should admit that our reconnaissance mission was not planned properly) we went out to cross the confluence point of the Cauvery and Arkavathy, come what may. To our surprise we found that it was not deep at all, about waist deep. The first taste of cold water on the body. We got drenched and after some splashing and playing in water, we gathered together and started our 4 km trek to Mekedatu.

Some people fell ill, some had sprains , not anything major, but we kept moving, The distance initially seemed never to end, but we kept moving. Finally at 1.30 pm , we reached the point, Mekedatu. We descended the steps to the gorges and adding to our fears, the force of the gushing waters of the Cauvery and the deafening noise, got us really afraid. I could not afford to look at the river direct down, it was terrifying and frightening !!

The sharp crevices and gorges cut by the river in the mountains over millions of years, was a trip back in history over a million years. The river must have been running very heavy and violent then, else how could it cut those sharp corners about twenty to thirty feet high on the side rocks ? How many goats must have committed harakiri trying to jump across the Cauvery from the top crevice to the bottom point, about fifteen feet away ? Even before homo sapiens set foot on this earth, the river Cauvery must have been gushing, of course under a different name then..

After 2 hrs at the point, we decided to return. The trail of the trekkers were long enough running for a km or more. There were many water holes and some terrific photography points on the way, besides Cauvery. In one of these water holes we decided to get ourselves immersed and there we really get ourselves totally immersed and drenched to the bones.

It was an exciting and refreshing two hours in the water of the Cauvery, pure and clean. No wonder Karnataka does not want to spare any water to Tamil Nadu and TN wants every drop of it. After getting ourselves dried and some rounds of Frisbee, we started on our journey back to the Sangama. Spotting elephant dung, not fresh, on the way, reminded us that elephants do frequent this place often during the summer months to drink water. I got to pair up with many students on the trek and talk to them regarding lot of issues of mutual interest. We reached Sangama at 5 45 PM.

There were initial reports that the power plant upstream the river would release water by evening time, causing the water level to rise to ten feet, making manual crossing difficult. All those fears were unfounded as we reached the Sangama and found people playing in the middle of the confluence in the water.

Some of us decided to cross the Sangama on the coracle, the round saucer shaped boat, which could overturn any moment and get everybody sunk !!. To add to the thrill, I could see the boatman forcibly turning the coracle around as if it has got caught in a swirl or whirl pool in the Cauvery.. The coracle trip was possible only after paying a princely Rs ten. Others preferred to wade through, me included. Water is fun any time and anywhere, as long it is up to your waist. .. It was a terrific trek that was coming to an end.

At about 6.30 PM we got into the buses ( SMS Travels) which were waiting for us at the Sangama from morning and we were off to Bangalore, Except for some minor hitches with loss of about 2 hrs, with some three members not being able to catch the bus ( they came by the KSRTC bus behind and joined the group) and for one person, Anshu, losing his mobile phone ( which was later discovered at his seat itself) we were comfortably getting back to our institute for dinner and a good sleep. All were dead tired after an exhilarating day in the water !! It would not be an exaggeration if we mentioned that about fifty percent of the time we were in the water.

At about 10 30 PM we reached XIME and after dinner of chicken biriyani, we went back to our rooms, too tired to discuss the day's happenings with anybody. The next day, at 9 AM we had classes and so could not miss any sleep before getting to the class.

Overall, it was an exciting trek, the first one in XIME. Prof George Kuriyan and Rose Mary and myself made the total 95, and very soon we shall put up some of the snaps here on this site.

Thanks everybody for your help and co-operation, a special mention to Amal and his team for organising things well and for making it memorable and SAFE !!

Hoping to have many more such exciting treks in future !!!

george..

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