I was itching to go on a bike ride, after being tied up with my mba apps since the last time I went out on a trip. Kamal joined hands, and with him, his friends naNNu and moTe... none of them had been there before. skandagiri was chosen, coz the other places for one day bike trips got eliminated for various reasons... and some wonderful photos, from my last trip helped Kamal make up his mind.
The plan was similar to the first trip. Start at 2:30. Reach kalavarahaLLi through ChickbaLapur in another couple of hours. Park bike near Paapagni mutt. Trek to the hill top in moon / torch light and view the sunrise there. The plan went well all the way, except for a very narrow escape I and naNNu had, on the way - when we just missed crashing out of the road at a road deviation which had no sign board. All of us thought we'd had it - especially naNNu behind me! I was lucky to hold on my nerves and steer to safety in half a second of a superb (and lucky) reflex!!
Last time i'd been there in October 2007, ours was only the third vehicle parked at the foot of the hill. The popularity of the place had multiplied several times over since then and it was evident from about a hundred vehicles there this time, and also introduction of 15-bucks-per-head 'forest department trekking charges'. We were able to save a couple of hundred bucks by not needing to take a guide.
We trekked up leisurely. moTe had a double whammy when his not-so-great stamina was joined by a muscle catch in his right thigh. It took a lot of breaks, the lure of the of helping make frens with one of my cute frens, and a lot of "bas... aur sirf dus minat" lies, to goad moTe into making it to the top, right in time for the sunrise :-D
After all the effort, our rosy plans of watching the ocean of clouds around, and the magnificient sunrise was ruined by dense fog which hid the sun till we lost hopes and began climbing down couple of hours later. It was not just us, but also the entire big crowd of few hundred people who were there, who were disappointed... The cold mountain winds and a few peeks to the wonderful scenery around were the only saving graces...
We climbed down by 9 30 am, and got back to Bangalore by lunch time. moTe and naNNu were dead tired and hit the sack as soon as we got home. All in all, it was a great bike trip cum trek... but if skandagiri was its legendary fervor, it would have been heavenly!!
To see what kalavarahalli is really about, see these photos caught on a Canon S3IS by my friend Keshav Kolle in his trip about a month back, have a look at these...
KoLi's kalavarahaLLi photos: (copyrighted - displayed with permission :-))