Sunday, August 6, 2017

150) Huliyurdurga Fort Trek: (29/7/2017)

Place: Huliyurdurga trek
Distance: 100kms x 2 = 200kms
Directions: Bangalore > Nelamangala > Kunigal > Huliyur
Krew: Aditya (Adi) > Datta (Dattu) > Deepak (Deefu) > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar                                                                   
Previous Visit: Bhairavadurga Trek
Budget: Rs 500/head

Alright, this had to be an awesome way to get the 150th chapter under our belt. People told the top was inaccessible/ with the rains around the corner it would prove risky blah blah! But we were stubborn to wear the garland of Navadurgas by completing the last one remaining – Huliyurdurga, on the occasion of the our 150th run. (Other navadurgas are Savandurga, Makalidurga, Nandidurga, Channarayanadurga, Devarayanadurga, Kabbaladurga, Bhairavadurga & Huthridurga)

After the completion of Bhairavadurga as the 149th trip, we did make an attempt to plan a huge trip to Gandikota. But when that failed to materialise, I had a different idea in mind. With just one of the Navadurgas pending, I thought it would be best if we finish this off and metaphorically it would be like wearing a garland of the hill forts around Bangalore. Not much info was available on the net about the place, so had to go out there and check it out ourselves. Adi, Deefu & Dattu were on the confirmed list.
TIME: 22:00 (11/7/2017)

Yeah I was up at 04:30, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to music for some time. Previous day had taken leave and slept from 11AM to 7PM, so had pretty much a disturbed sleep. I picked up Adi from his place at 06:30 and we reached Decathlon on Mysore road. After Deefu & Dattu arrived we greeted each other and left Bangalore.
TIME: 07:30


RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Bidadi – Ramnagar – Maddur - Huliyurdurga)
This was a 100kms smooth ride on the Mysore road. We preferred the Mysore road as it would bring back the memories of our first trip to Maddur. Cruising at a decent pace along the heavily traffic flooded state highway, we made it to Bidadi for some yummy breakfast.
TIME:  08:00

After the breakfast, we walked out for some light tea and I was really glad to see school friends accompanying for this one. It was also, very surprising that we had not changed one bit since school, same old themed jokes and same old pure laughter. Impressive, I thought to myself and quickly blended in.  We decided to ride non-stop to Maddur, the traffic from Bidadi onwards became thin and we rode at a pretty good pace to cruise past Ramnagar & Channpatna to reach Maddur. Here we took a right deviation and the same road without any deviation landed us at the outskirts of Huliyurdurga.


The hillock look pretty scary to be frank. We thought from where the hell we climb. Enquiring with the locals, we were asked to take a road behind the police station and find the old temple at the base of the hill. We parked our bikes at the temple and decided it was time to wake the good old lizard king up to light the spirits and take us up the hillock.
TIME: 10:15

Well, ahem, ahem… it took us exactly 20mins to reach the top.Yes, no kidding, it wasn't as the other long hikes, but trust me it was a fun filled and intense trek huh. Few stretches did a good number on us.
As, we parked the bikes we made our way along the staircase to a certain height where we could find a temple. Deefu & me looked at each other, it reminded us both of the terrific Bhairavadurga trek where the route to the temple was not actually the route. But this time, it was indeed. Few people had marked arrows showing the way to the top and trust me, it was a steep initial ascent. Hovering in between boulders the first leap itself set us on fire and bam we were off.


The route which followed was a narrow trail in between boulders, pretty steep and more importantly loose and muddy. After a few minutes into the trail, we hit a dead end and the trail continued with a gap. The gap had to be covered by venturing on a rock and this was pretty tricky. Deefu & me, as usual played Rock, Papers & Scissors & I went ahead first and decided to help others up (while climbing down, Deefu went first!) This stretch is the only part you gotta watch out for, everything else is a walk in the park! We were happy to see the fort walls and the guide paths reminding us of the other 8 fort hills. Finally, ascending over the last fort tier Adi led us all to the top.
TIME: 10:35

We spent about 1.5hours on the top. As we reached the top, we explored the place to find only ruins of the fort wall. There was one brick building standing firm. Surprising part was even though the hillock was not tall, but the view it offered was brilliant. We could see for miles in all directions, no wonder it served as one of the outposts. Took out some chocolates and water, we spoke about all sorts of shit and slowly drifted off into the silence for a deep nap. Waking up, we could see the clouds traversing towards us and we decided it was the right time to descend.
TIME: 12:00


The climb down took us 15mins. We made it past the fort walls to actually lose our way hehe. Then Deefu took the lead and found the tricky spot. He ventured down and called others. Dattu and Adi were the next to follow as I decided to stay on top and lend my hand for the ease of descent. After which, told others to form a wall and jumped down the rock phase hehe. After which it was pretty easy and neat and made it back to the temple.
Getting on to the bikes, we had one look at the 9th Navadurga and thanked it and left the premises.
TIME: 12:30


RIDE-2: (Huliyurdurga – Kunigal – Nelamangala – Chandu dhaba – Bangalore)
This was a 100kms ride back via a different route. As we left Huliyurdurga, we felt a few big rain droplets crash on our head. Oh yeah, the skies were covered with thick black clouds and it was ready to unleash. As we rode on, down came the rain mercilessly. But it lasted for a short duration and as we reached Kunigal on the Bangalore-Hassan highway the rains faded.
The ride from then on was pretty smooth, waving back big at the Shivagange and Bhairavadurga we made it back to Nelamangala. From here we zoomed right into our regular Chandu dhaba for some food and drinks!
TIME: 14:00

We spent about 2hours at the dhaba and decided to leave. We reached the NICE road junction and thanked each other for making it to the trip and headed back to our respective homes.
TIME: 17:00

Had to be one of the awesome chapters done till date. Even though the hike was a very small one, it offered a good challenge and completing all the Navadurgas and metaphorically wearing the garland of them around our necks as a mark of completion of the 150th trip was a special feeling!! A big thank you and cheers for all the people who have really been there for us.
Until next time, Cia \m/



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

149) Bhairavadurga Fort Trek: (2/7/2017)

Place: Bhairavadurga trek/Byravadurga trek
Distance: 60kms x 2 = 120kms
Directions: Bangalore > Nelamangala > Dobbaspete > Kuddur > Solur > Bangalore
Krew: Deepak (Deefu) > Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Enfield > Pulsar                                                                   
Previous Visit: Kabbaladurga Trek
Budget: Rs 400/head

Alright, this was not doubt one of the most challenging hikes done till date. Our hike turned out to be more of a free style rock climbing. Our shoulders and fingers ended up pretty busted rather than the thigh and calf muscles for a change. Bhairavadurga is one of the Navadurgas around Bangalore. Other 8 are Savandurga, Nandidurga, Makalidurga, Devarayanadurga, Kabbaladurga, Huthridurga, Channarayanadurga & Hulliyurdurga.

As far as the planning goes, had planned for Channarayanadurga initially. Deefu insisted to visit a new place for a trek. After some digging, narrowed it down to Bhairavadurga. This had to be executed a week earlier but as Madhu was leaving to Germany for a month, we were caught at Laxmi’s.  This time only Deefu confirmed also in half, as he was running with fever.
TIME: 22:00 (2/7/2017)

Yeah I was up at 04:30, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to some Thin Lizzy. After which called Deefu after an hour and asked his call, I was 75% sure that the plan wouldn’t materialize. But Deefu said, “Lets go!” Charged me up completely and I took off from my home cruising on the ORR made it Malleswaram where Deefu joined. After which we departed Bangalore.
TIME: 07:30

RIDE 1: (Bangalore – Nelamangala - Dobbaspete - Kuddur)
This was a 70kms ride more or less very smooth. As we left Bangalore it took us some time to get synched to each other’s pace in middle of the heavy traffic. But in 30mins or so, we pulled over at our regular hotel for some tasty breakfast.
TIME: 08:00

After the breakfast, we walked out for some light tea and discussed what the plans for the 150th trip and also about the recent happenings in each other’s life. After which we rode non-stop to Dobbaspete taking a left turn we proceeded towards Shivagange. Enquiring with the locals about the directions to Kuddur we proceeded to the actual place of Shivagange. We could see a lot kids and even aunties wearing tracks and all set to climb. Waving them all a very good bye we proceeded to reach Kuddur.

I spotted Bhairavadurga few kilometres back. Asking the locals again for direction we found the right deviation, proceeding on narrow roads we reached the base of the hill. Parking the bikes and awakening the lizard king within, we were all set for the hike.
TIME: 09:30

This had to be one of the most challenging treks done till date. It is very misleading trek if you don’t space your day properly. You have to take the route through the forest in order to avoid the steep rock phases. Please keep in mind the way to the temple is not the way up.
It took us only 30mins to ascend the hillock. But the route we took was insane and not advisable for non-regulars. A strict word of advice, ask the locals for proper directions and then proceed. This had to be one of the craziest climbs done till date considering the risks taken. It was a very good thing that only Deefu & I were on board!


We parked our hikes at the base of the hill and read a sign board “Welcome to Kuddur Forest” we asked a few people around and they pointed towards a step which lead up. We began climbing the step and within 5-10mins we reached a temple.
After which we were confused as there wasn’t any way further. We both looked at each other and began climbing the rock face. Unlike other hillocks the rock faces were pretty dangerous considering the fact that we had already ascended quite some elevation. We found ourselves pretty stranded and each step was becoming a puzzle. Finally after cautiously making it to a flat land I saw a rock face which ran straight to the top and had pretty good  number of ridges and bunkers to rest. Both of us had a good look at and decided that was the best way up.

Like they say, don’t ever be sure of a rock face until you rub noses with her. This was the case, even though it looked promising, it proved to be one insanely tough cookie. As  I began scaling up the rock face, I realized it was steeper than anticipated and cracks to hold on to, were scarce. But there was no going back now, I made it up a few feet and settled into a nice dug out and gave Deefu a thumbs up. Deefu too made it up cautiously. We tightened up our shoe laces as we knew the next phase would be insane.


We decided to head diagonally as it would be less tiring and would give a better sense of balance. But we got stuck in a spot where we couldn’t finding a proper footing nor a proper crack to pull ourselves up. Deefu made it up and then was watching me, I almost slipped but pushed myself and grabbed a bunch of grass and pulled myself up. Whew! Then again we found ourselves stuck with in between trees and bushes. We decided to explore the perimeters. Pulling ourselves ontop of a fort wall we made it to the final tier. Even the last bit offered us a steepness, it was we who were scaling up the wrong side of the mighty hillock. Lastly, we decided to climb up this one using what we coined “controlled momentum” it was more 4 legged crawl.  Finally we climbed up the final fort wall to reach the top.  A cool breeze greeted us! We could see Shivagange afar, we waved back her too!
TIME: 10:00

Once we reached the top, we actually wanted to explore the place and find the actual route. But holding onto our horses we found a nice shade and collapsed. Sipping a bit of water and having some chocolates we discussed about future trips. We rested for sometime and then decided to head back down.  We scoured the place and found the actual pathway.
TIME: 11:00

The climb down proved to be trickier than we anticipated. It took us nearly 1.5hrs to get back to our bikes. We took the actual route to start things off with. The trail ran into the forest and to our surprise it continued through shrubs and bushes narrowing itself down. It was simply amazing and putting ourselves in the shoes of the soldiers back then we marched on further.
Soon, we found out that a lot trails began to meet the main one. It was not long before we took a wrong turn and ended up deeper into the forest. We realised that we were lost and also figured out there was no point in tracing back. So we decided to keep heading down until we hit flat ground and then begin the search for our bikes.
This forest is well known for its wild bears, so yes, took my knife and put across my waist just in case. The forest came with this deadly silence, even though it was peaceful it was spooky at the same time.


Both us had pretty much grown accustomed to getting lost in forests and hills, so there was no panic and it was hardly noon. Figuring out ways, switching leads and enjoying the challenge we finally made it out of the forest and into somebody’s farmland.
Then we looked back at the hillock. Good thing we had taken a look when we parked our bikes. We started going around the hillock though various houses and farmlands until we locked onto the picture which we thought was familiar. We asked the locals some water and enquired about the direction to the temple. Another 1+km we walked to find the route and then we continued further to reach our bikes. Taking a deep breath, very satisfied with the trek we left the premises.

RIDE 2: ( Kuddur – Solur – Nelamangala – Bangalore)
The ride back was simple and was through a different route. We joined back the Hassan highway in 10-15mins and then rode the next 30kms or so to reach Nelamangala. After which we cruised along smoothly to crash into Chandu dhaba was some light lunch and drink.
After the lunch, we pulled over at the NICE road junction and we thanked each for making it for the day and headed back to our respective homes.

"Overall i must say it was a fantastic hike. It turned out to be pretty crazy and merciless! And the it gave us pretty worn out hands and feet, the pain we kinda enjoy... No shit!"

Until next time Cia \m/




Friday, June 23, 2017

148) Kabbaldurga trek – Hollow streak: (11/6/2017)

Place: Kabbaladurga trek
Distance: 100kms x 2 = 200kms
Directions: Bangalore > Bidadi > Channpatna > Kabbaladurga > Kanakpura > Bangalore
Krew: Karthik (Sp)
Bikes: Pulsar                                                                                  
Previous Visit: Gummanayaka Fort Trek
Budget: Rs 400/head

Alright, after 2 years I returned to her all alone - Kabbaldurga -Stone Monkey (on my birthday as well! Hehe). Yes, Kabbaladurga Solo trek, is one such hikes I do annually to have cleansing experience. It is like hitting that reset button and restoring yourself to default setting. The mighty silence and the nature (if sensitive enough) will be totally overwhelming and totally flush out you system!

As far as the planning goes, had planned for Kabbaladurg and Kabbaldurga it was, plain and simple. But on the previous day eve Arun and myself went for a 16km walk and I wasn’t very sure about the hike uphill the next day as my legs were pretty strained out. Night as I laid down wasn’t sure what would happen the next day! (Bday was always there!)
TIME: 22:00 (10/6/2017)

Yeah I was up at 04:30, did a few push ups & situps, had a cup of coffee and sat back listening to some Blue Oyster Cult. The oscillation of thoughts began, whether to stay back and go the next day, should I go at all? (No wonder a small sip, is always the key!). Anyway, no point of procrastination I thought and headed out for some self-draining!
TIME: 06:00

RIDE 1: (Bangalore– Ramngara – Channpatna - Kabbaldurga)
This was a 100kms ride on the butter smooth SH-17. Yes, as left Bangalore, I wasn’t surprised by the high density of traffic as it was a Sunday. Cruised along smoothly with just a feeling of blankness flooding all over my mind and body. Pulled over at the regular hotel to munch down on the usual breakfast!
TIME: 06:30

After the breakfast, I rode ahead cruising past Ramnagara and Channpatna. At Channpatna I took a left deviation and headed into the country roads. Here the traffic reduced, but I wan in no hurry either helping people out with directions, waving at kids and smiling at pretty girls I rode along to get the first glimpse of the mighty hillock.
The first view of the hillock as always sent a cold chill down my spine. But smiling back, I pulled over for a couple of mins to take a breather. After which I rode into the town, parking my bike, awoke the mountain goat’s spirit within and was ready for the climb!
TIME: 07:45

Well it took me only 45min this time to ascend the hillock. It was pretty hard test on my stamina, was glad I pulled it off. Did struggle a bit in between though. The breaks were taken were short and calculative. As before I have divided the trek into the following sections:
i) Initial stretch
ii) 3 point stretch
iii) Viper stretch
iv) Final Stretch
Ready? Alright, this time it only the silence that accompanied me one this one, wait okay my super duper knife too. Alright here goes nothin!

i) Initial stretch:
This is straight forward and plain stretch. But always throws me off-track a little bit. This time was no different. Lost my way initially, found myself scratching my head in the middle of thorny bushes. Few tried to prick me, told them to wait as I was busy looking out for the way :D After jumping around here and there I was on the mud route and proceeding full speed I made it to my favourite stretch.

ii) 3 point stretch:
Ah, I could see my favourite stretch waiting for me. Few college kids were making their way down via the normal route. I stood there gazing at the steepness of this beautiful stretch. After which triggered the lizard king within and started scaling up the rock face. After running out of breath I pulled myself towards a cactus and rested for 2mins almost sitting vertically. After reaching the 2nd fort wall, the walk to the third wall proved to a little exhausting. But pushing on through i reached the grassy area and collapsed for a short deep nap.

iii) Viper stretch:
Woke up, let out a big yawn and began my ascent of the viper stretch. It was nice and cool the boulders felt friendly and the footings I got were pretty solid and neat. I found myself on staring down at the final stretch.

iv) Final stretch:
The final stretch had a lot of railings and support. Kind of took me back to the 2010 solo climb I had done at this place. It was damn scary without any of these. But now yes, but nevertheless drains out a lot of energy. Pushing my legs hard I reached the summit.
TIME: 08:30

The cool breeze greeted me on top. I could feel my body re-gain all the lost energy. But as it was a Sunday, we people were there on top. I quickly paid respects at the main temple and proceeded towards the ruined buildings on the other side to get some quiet time. Dwelling in silence for about 20-30mins I decided I head back home.
TIME: 09:00

The climb down was a smooth one. It took me about 30-45mins to reach back down. Breathing in a few long breaths I began my descent like the lizard king. Hovering from boulder to boulder I made my way down the last two stretches. After which the 3-point stretch was pretty scary initially but once I felt the rock face with my hands I feel it would be a walk in the park.
As I began to descent down this steep face, a new fresh me rushed within me. I made it down this steep stretch and met a few people making their way up. “Ayyio this way ah?” they asked, I smiled and said “mam, please take the normal route” Haha!
TIME: 09:30

RIDE 2: (Kabbaldurga – Channpatna – Bidadi-Bangalore)
After reaching back the temple premises, I took out my bike and rode out towards Kanakpura Road. I pulled over after 5mins and got down from my bike. Had one last look at the hillock, promising her a return I joined Kanakpura road at Sathnur. Even though it was a noon ride back to home, the traffic was dense and it took me some time to reach back home. But was just in time for some yummy birthday lunch.
TIME: 11:15

"Kind of weird way to spend a bday one might say. But it is just the thing needed for getting my centre right!"

Until next time Cia \m/