…Awesome trek to Ramanagaram happened this Saturday. Plan was to trek one of the hills in the area, and I had shortlisted Sri Revana Siddeshwara (SRS) Betta after checking out some of the articles on the net. This was about 15 kms from Ramanagaram on the Road to Kanakapura. We reached there only to realize that it was just a small rocky hill with a temple at the top & steps(!) all the way up! That, of course, ruled that hill out. Thankfully, we noticed just a little ahead, on the opposite side, another hill that looked just right. We drove further along towards the hill, but couldn’t quite figure out where to begin the trek from. Stopped a passing motorcyclist, and after checking with him, we parked our cars at the bus-stop near the foot of the hill, and began the ascent.
As with our previous trek, we had picked the hill on a whim and had no clue as to the right way up. Last time, we figured out the right way somehow. This time, we weren’t so lucky. About one-fifth the way up, we realized we had hit a dead-end; this huge boulder & dense foliage through which there was no way through. While the others tried to find an alternate route, in an unusual sense of adventure, I ventured further up through an opening the rest had not seen. Was able to forge my way up and thought I had found a good route. Called out to the rest of the junta to join me, which they duly did. Biggest mistake of the trek. That turned out to be just the wrong route to take. Very soon we were scraping our way past thorny bushes trying to find openings where there werent’ any. Everytime we reached a clearing, we would heave a sigh of relief, only to realize a few minutes later that one clearing maketh not a trekking route. On we went anyway, and finally ended up at this rock face (pic below), the only way past which seemed to be a vertical climb up it. I took one tentative step up before I decided that discretion was the better of valour and decided not to attempt any such manoeuvre. Of the seven of us, only KR was brave enough to try it & successfully scaled the rock face. The rest of us decided to stay put & figure out alternate routes.
KR subsequently went on his own way, and the six of us looked for alternate routes, and after much moving back & forth, finally figured out a way to reach the top. What had seemed like a relatively simple hill to climb turned out to be a real adventure, with the result that we took over 2 hours to reach the top. Took in the view, clicked a few snaps, talked stuff for a while – about 40 minutes or so. And then began the descent. Must have been close to 12 when we started on our way down. We didn’t want to take the same route down, but were hopeful of finding an easier way. As it turned out, there was one – the regular trekking route on the other side of the hill, but taking that would have meant we da 5 km road walk to reach our cars! That ruled out the easy option and we were wondering what course to take, when a village kid hanging around near the top volunteered to show us an alternate route down. He did help us descend quickly, but it was an even more painstaking descent than the ascent. He led us through thorny bushes that were just right for him to squeeze through. We had to literally be on all fours at places, bend as far down as we possibly could, and despite all that, couldn’t quite avoid a nick or two.
In any case, we were back at the base just before 1:30. Drove down to Kamat for a delightful North Karnataka meal before heading back home.
In hindsight, we were quite lucky we didn’t step on a snake or two given the general haphazardness of the trek. But it really was a fun trek, and the view from the top made it all worthwhile. Easily one of the top 2-3 Bangalore treks.
The office trekking group has expanded a fair bit since the early days 2 years ago, with the result that the treks are a much more frequent occurrence. We even have a mailing list now. Of the founding four, if I can call it that :-), one has left HP, but the other three of us are still going strong. The flipside of more frequent treks is that I have to necessarily miss a few – else the wife would ask me to settle down in Ramanagaram itself. Nevertheless, I have been on 4 treks in the last 5 odd months, which is a darn good rate. Next up is Kumarparvat, easily the toughest yet – likely to be in the Jan 26th weekend. I think I will have to skip that, but let’s see. The next post, I will list the treks we have done so far.