I thought I will write about this wonderful journey that we had, before I forget the details. The details may fade but the fun we had and the sights our eyes beheld will never ever fade away.
It was on the third weekend of November 2008 that we finally went for the trek, the Sakleshpur - Yedakumari Train route. We had been wanting to go for this from the first time we heard about it. But then there were a certain number of uncertainties. Goods train had started plying on this route and there was one passenger train also. Apart from it being risky , we were unsure whether the railway authorities will agree for trekking. Finally everything turned out to be like nothing we had thought about.
We were a group of 9 . We started late on a Friday night from Bangalore, reached Donigal very early in the morning. We had breakfast from Surabhi hotel just before Donigal and got fresh as well. Our starting point was a gate of Sethna Estate around a kilometer from Donigal on the right side of the road. The trek started at 8:00 A.M. .We walked for a few minutes through the estate and there we were staring at the infinite lines of rails. It did not take long for us to hear the first long bellowing siren of an approaching train. .
We had started at distance marker 47/100 . ( We didn't know what 47/500 meant of course. We had innovative interpretations as to what it can be. The 47th curve out of 500.The gradient of the curve. But we were proved wrong when we reached 47/600 and there was no curve at all. Finally we got to know it is 47km and 500m).We had to reach 67/300. That means twenty kilometers of walk. That should be easy. But with tents and food weighing on our back it was not as easy as I thought.
We came to the first bridge in short time. We were like a bunch of excited kids. Cameras clicking away all those moments. Then we reached the Donigal station. An inquiry there told us we had 20 odd kilometers to go to reach Yedukumeri.
The first tunnel was exciting but equally exciting were the rest of them. The tunnels ran a length of 50 m to half a kilometer. In a pretty long tunnel we were accompanied by a train as well. There is enough space in the tunnels to stand by as the train goes. And we were also armed with torches to show us the way in those creepy tunnels.
We had lunch at a place where there was a small waterfall. The lunch - Chappathi, butter and jam... Yummmy, YUMMMY...
As if the train in the tunnel was not enough we hear the long bellow again when we were mid way on a bridge. The bridges had intermediate places to stand by. But we did not trust the strength of the footing to hold all of us. After a moment of blankness. Somebody shouted run from the front. The people in the front ran towards the train , those at the back ran back. Manja (Manjunath RG) had full confidence in the footing and he was not failed.
A few seconds passed and all of us were safe on either sides of the bridge. We saw the engine pilot smiling at us. Imagine,SMILING...
We continued after a brief rest. There were many sights on the way the beauty of which cannot not be described (can be translated as too lazy to write). The trek didn't seem to end for a while. We had gotten really tired. It was around 5:00 P.M when the big yellow board announcing "Yedakumari" appeared. That was my favorite sight from the previous one hour.
We camped on the platform there. Played anthakshari, slept and woke up, to summarize things. Morning came, and we had cup of black tea to rev up our engines. Then we had cup o noodles , we packed up our tents and started to Kempehole. What was supposed to be a 3 hour trek turned out to be a 5 hour one, inclusive of a jeep ride.
After trekking downhill through a path through formidable vegetation, we came to a stream and had our bath. We relished every second of the one hour we were down there.
We left there and would you believe me, we took a wrong path. instead of going downhill we went uphill. We walked up hill for 5kms. Then reached back to a point on the railway track declaring that we had just walked 3 kms . We went a little further in search of hope. And then a little more further. We found civilization, which were a bunch of guys working on the rails. And to out great relief they had a jeep. They agreed to drop us at Kempehole for a fairly large amount for 6 kilometers. We were so worn out that we had to agree. The jeep carried around 11 people + luggage, thats all!!!. We reached Kempehole finally. We had to cross a stream. Stones had been placed across the river so that people could walk across. Crossing the stream brought us to the main road and we saw our tempo traveler.
Yippeeee!!! Hurraahh!!! we had done it at last. We had hoped to reach Kempehole by 11:30 and here was the watch showing us it was 1:30. We went to Sakleshpur had a sumptous lunch . The trek had not taken the full energy out of us of course. We had an entertaining bus ride with a long round of Dumb Charades till most of us , except Varsha , Indu and poor Binu, fell asleep. And we reached Banglore by 9:00 P.M.
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