Group: Sujeeth, Sharath, Gautam, Saroj, Roshan, Priyanka & Keerthana
This trek was a milestone for Adventure Junkie, being the first trek which we could pull off with all the participants being from out of Karnataka.
We reached Napoklu at 3:40. Being a single group, Itinerary was very flexible according to their convenience and we left our home stay at 07:30 in the morning after taking a good nap. We had appetizing neer dose, chutney and curry and took Puliyogare parcel for the lunch. We reached Nalaknad palace at 8AM but it was closed, may be because of TV serial shooting or may be we were too early to that place I guess. Instead of going by Jeep till check-post, we hiked along the road through coffee estates and few streams. Took necessary permission and started hiking. We were slow as there were many first time trekkers but they were as determined as seasoned trekkers to reach the peak.
We saw an ecstatic group who were making whoopee at a view-point which confused me (it was my third time to Tadiyandamol) whether we reached peak already. Saroj and his girl friend decided to stay there at the view-point until we return back from the peak. Saroj & Sharath were extremely helpful by motivating their friends. Sharath had forgotten to take few packets of Puliyogare but I was sure that would be sufficient for everyone along with plenty of snacks that we had provided. There was definitely dilemma in rest of the group whether to continue till the peak or not, which seemed like another half the effort considering the inclination. After little persuading, we started again taking little rest in between.
We spent good time at the peak, had lunch. I was clear that everybody was tired so I decided to run back to the vehicle & get it as near to check-post as possible. It was decided that the group descend 20 min after I start. I ran back as fast as I can, twisting my ankle and skidding countless times but it was indeed fun to reach back to Nalaknad palace in 1 hr 40 min.
I reached check-post, drank water and fed few biscuits to a dog. Guess what, It started following me; sometimes went ahead of me & was turning back to see whether I’m following it or not!! No wonder why they call it the most faithful creäture on earth. I felt overwhelmed & without eating fed it three packets of biscuits & cake when I took little rest.
We drove for few kms from the palace and both of us, driver & myself realized it is not possible to drive uphill with the bad tyres we had. Tavera which we had hired had clocked 6.5 lakh Kms. Having said this, I must say it was seriously well maintained (except tyres) by owner who himself was the driver for us.
I waited but grew anxious about group’s safety and started hiking towards check-post. That is when I found my companion following me again!. I ascend, it followed; I descend, it follows. Checked it few times. We hiked together till last camping site where I met the group. It turned back for the last time and went jogging towards the check-post. I wondered if it was the same dog which followed us till the peak back in 2012.
Barbecue, Camping & Rafting:
As far we are concerned, we include Barbecue to bring different groups together. Everybody contributed in preparing it, from cutting veggies, starting coal fire, brushing the chicken with sauce, cleaning up the ground & pitching tents. Group was so friendly that I did not feel as an organizer. Dance, at least two steps after a decade was my achievement! :-p
Had a wonderful dinner after the party. Food was home cooked by the owner of the home-stay.
Next day, We visited Chelvara Waterfalls, Kaveri Nisargadhama & indulged in Class 2 River rafting near to Dubare Elephant camp.