Vellarimala Trekking, Dec 07

Vellarimala trekking: Within few days after coming back from kodai, we started to plan for the next one. Lot of options came up and finally we decided to visit God’s own country. Wayanad topping the list, when searched for treks available in Kerala. Wayanad seemed to be a trekker’s paradise, offering lot of trekking routes. We finally rounded up the place called Vellarimala, which happens to be the Highest Peak in Wayanad. 20 guys decided to join the most challenging trek.

We started on Friday evening, rather I should say afternoon, and took a train to Calicut. As soon as the train started we also started the much awaited game UNO. I would say people are so excited about playing UNO rather than the trek. UNO has become our favourite in all the trips, making our time filled with lots of fun. Next morning we got down at Calicut station and from there we took a bus to Kalpetta.

We refreshed ourselves in a room in kalpetta and had our breakfast. There we packed all the things needed for trek. Everyone got one sleeping bag and the tent was planned to share among while walking. From kalpetta we took a jeep and reached the point from where we had to start the trek. Food packets and water bottles were distributed to everyone, and also some more food for the next day morning.

Around 12:30 pm, we started walking in the trek path. First few meters, it said how tough the rest will be. It was quite steep upwards and people started walking in groups. We had two local people accompanying us with the guide, so one of them was with each group to guide us. The path was bit difficult to walk in some places and quite easy in some places. After walking for more than an hour, we met some of our worst fear “Mr.leech”, YES the first blood.

We had people carrying salt with us, so all our shoes and socks were filled with salt. The path was quite exciting to walk; we walked through almost dense forest upward. Then we had our second meeting with “Blood sucking” leeches. This time they were not few, they outnumbered us. Everyone was running like anything. All I could hear was “Run run!!! Leeches” and “Don’t stand… Run”. We were walking on a wet land, which seemed to be the leeches territory. First people used stick to remove them from shoe, later every leech was given a hand treatment.

After running for more the 45 mins, we reached a nice place with a great view. We had lunch in that place and started preparing for the further journey. We got prepared for the leeches buy applying anti-leech oil and salt in the legs. After lunch we started to walk again, this time leeches were not there. We finally reached the top point where we could put a tent. The hill top was a fantastic place to be. We were fully surrounded by mountains and the air was so chill. As the darkness started to grow, cold started to hit the spine.

It was so chill that we were waiting for the camp fire. Fire helped us to stay warm. For some of us the great companion old cask helped to keep the body warm. Our tents got deployed and everyone was really tired to do anything. Dinner was completed and everyone went to their tent hoping to get a sleep. Since the tent was not so comfortable to sleep, most of us got up early next morning. Chillness in the air was much higher than the night, and everyone was searching for some wood to start the fire.

We walked few meter uphill and reached a point where we could sit and watch the nature at its best. The view from there was amazing and that showed the purpose of 5 hours walk previous day. We had bread and jam for breakfast and started early for the back journey. Coming back was pretty easy when compared to the upward journey. We didn’t have much pit-stops while coming back.

But the last few kms made us to rethink the logic of walking down was easy. It was steep down, and we were walking continuously for more than an hour, I was like “God please get me thru this”. And at last we reached the place where we started. Thank god, jeeps were waiting for us. We took the jeep and went to a place to have lunch. Since we came back a bit early, we decide to visit a nearby falls.

Everyone was completely out of energy. As we reached a beautiful falls, everyone took a dip there. It was so relaxing and really felt like heaven. Again back we took a bus to Calicut and train back to Chennai. Body pain stayed there for two days but the memories will stay with us forever.

Text: Balaji
Photos: Peter

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