Mission Dead For Sure 2 – DFS/2, September 26 to October 1, 2009

This, so far, is the biggest mission in CTC.
The idea of trekking 9 days in forest was exciting. We were dreaming of sweet Venkateswara pools but Peter had a different idea in his mind. Since he missed the DOA7 in OG, he changed the DFS location to Kabinale forest to conquer OG and other peaks. We finally decided the food materials which will make us survive for 10 days. We had several issues in sorting the food items and getting gas canisters for the gas stove. Finally we were able to get 4.5 canister cylinders. Guru was new to western ghats trek and brought snuff powder and tiger balm for the leeches. They proved their worth when we finished the trek 6 days later.
P1040711 Day 1
Finally the day arrived and Peter, Divya, Guru, Kannan arrived Saturday morning (Sep 26) to Bangalore. I joined the guys at Majestic. Rajiv gave the gas stove and the canisters. The bus conductor were able to identify that we were from trekkking group and helped to dump bags. We had a boring bus ride and the traffic was heavy till we reach Neelasandra. We tried to kill time by going through news papers. By 1 PM we were near to Hassan and we had a small break. We filled our stomach with tender coconuts. Again we went to dozing mode and by 2.30 PM we reached Sakleshpur. We filled food with Rotis, Bisibellabath and nuts knowing that will be our proper food for the rest of the days to come. Finally we were in Gundiya checkpost by 4:00 PM. We missed a sleeping mat inside the bus while boarding down from the bus. We had few snaps and a tea before we start to walk. We were walking with fully loaded backpacks each about 10-15 kgs and few more items with plastic covers in hand. This is the heaviest backpack after the disastrous Picnic. The cars and the oil tankers zoomed past us in the road. Finally we were at the start point near the bridge. We dumped extra clothes and a gas canister in the house. The women around there were enquiring about the week before DOA 7 where they had the same start point. We changed our clothes and the weather was ideal for trek. The women there were wondering our plan of staying 9 days inside forest.
P1040517 We started trek inside the forest and we could see the lush green and the soundy stream all along the trail. Suddenly the weather changed and it become cloudy and started to rain. We were crossing small streams which I could remember was just flow of tiny stream in last OG3 trek. Also the path was so bushy and lot of trees had fallen due to recent rains. But combined with rain the current was strong and chill. We were crossing the streams slowly and as a group. Now the leeches started their first thirst of blood on all. I was running to get rid of leeches in my fingers and fell down directly in a stream and had few bruises. The rain increased and the water flow in the streams were also increasing at alarming fast. At one stream the current was so high and we werent able to cross the stream. Now the team DFS were thinking of to return back to the same house where we dumped the backpacks. We started walking backwards towards the houses and the rain stopped. Now one and only Peter took the decision of proceeding the mission. The plan is to pitch the tent near to river and start trek the next day. We waited for few minutes and the flow of water reduced drastically. We were able to cross the stream where we were stuck up and proceeded towards the river. Peter took the right decision even though we were hesistant earlier. That was the first test for the DFS team.
The chill weather and the rain made our backpacks heavier but we progressed in a steady pace to reach the river by 7:30 PM. Peter and Guru started pitching the tent and Kannan and me went to collect water in the nearby stream. We werent able to use the river water since it was brownish due to rain. All this time it was drizzling and we made hot tomato soups and rotis. Arun gowda bought rotis and polis for us and the rotis and we were required to use them for the next five days. After we had dinner we played few card games and we slept. I was fearing some elephants might come and stamp us. The first day campsite was very next to river.
P1040893 Day2
The Day started fresh and we had sun light and rain had stopped. We had tea and rotis again. We were conserving rusks to be used later. The rotis tasted like teplas. It took more than a hour to pack back the items and start trekking. We didnt crossed the river and we sticked on to the left side of the river. We had the leeche medicine snuffpowder+coconut oil to keep them away. We applied all over the hands and legs before we started. We crossed few ups and downs. After some time we were in a place where two bigger streams met. We missed our planned trial towards OG in taking the OG1/2 trial and hence we  proceeded on the right side of the stream. After some time we stopped for a dip where 2 streams met. The current was strong and good enough for sliding inside water. We had videos of all swimming along with strong current. Also there were lot of butterflies in that place and took pics of them. After taking bath we started walking in the stream direction. It was cool and the boulders were with green patches which made the progress slower. By 11.30 AM I could identify the OG2 lunch point. The amount of water it flowed earlier was nothing compared to this time. We stopped at the place where it was idle for sliding with water in rocks. Peter pushed us all to the jacuzzi bath and took few polis as food. We were planning to pitch tent on top of OG  that day. We started from the jacuzzi rock and we proceeded on the right side of the stream. Then we had a steep climb to reach the grasslands. We were delighted to reach the grasslands as there were less leeches compared to the forest. But the grass were so thick and it cut the hands and legs with small wounds. We were walking up the grasslands and were so tired becoz of the heavy backpacks and the plastic covers in hands. Finally we were able to see the  OG peak by 4 PM. We were still some 2 kms away from the peak and it looked very steep. Peter guessed it would take 1 hour to climb the last stretch. We were progressing slowly up the hill with the view of OG peak in front. By the time we reached the last stretch it was 6 PM. Peter decided to pitch the tents there. We were delighted to pitch tent there. This time Guru and Kannan went to fetch water after pitching the tent. We were planning to start camp fire but it started drizzling again.
We cooked soup and had polis and rotis again. We were desperate to finish them first to taste other items. We had a nice dinner and by the time we were about to sleep it started raining. Kannan became the savior of our tent by making few canals around the tent to prevent water coming inside the tent. The  rain was continously pouring and the flow of streams sounded heavier. We were discussing of Peters good decision as it would have been a disaster pitching tent on top of OG with heavy wind and rain. The sound of streams was roaring like anything and we had a wety camp site for day 2.
Day3 also started late and our destination was to reach the base of Jenkal beta after climbing up OG. We were happy to find the methi rotis gone bad and we dumped them all. We still had polis for the rest of the trek. We had hot tea and rusk. Guru started camp fire with the puncture lotion he had. Also we had the energy drink which Kannan bought. After finishing breakfast we started towards the peak. The climb was very steep and we reached the peak around 10 AM. We spent lot of time taking fotos and taking rest. Peter was reminding everyone about the tough terrain to reach the base of Jenkal Beta. On the way Divya spotted a deer but it disappeared very quick. Guru ran to catch a glimpse of that but was unsuccessful. Finally we started to trek downwards towards Jenkal Beta. Peter was counting the times we slipped and Kannan was the one who fell lot of times. Divya fell lot of times. We were walking downwards towards the forest cover for about 1.30 hours. At one point we entered the forest cover. We were protected of leeche medicine to some extent. We were now walking in the forest cover in a used trial and were happy to be on trial. Everyone were feeling thirsty and we reached the stream. We were supposed to take the downstream for sometime before we climb up.
P1040767 We started trekking downstream and we crossed a big stream to the left side. We were taking bath and the rain started. It was heavy and we were lucky that we crossed the stream at right time. We had few polis as lunch and we started climbing up in the forest cover. We were in jeep trial for sometime and there were thick bushes and leeches all over. We were required to follow the stream along the boulders. But the heavy stream didnt allow us to be near the boulders. By evening we lost the jeep trial. One point we were climbing a steep climb up and climb down towards the stream. Later Guru and Peter identified we missed the trial and hence we climbed up the stream. Due to wetness and rain all had become slippery. The thorns, bushes and leeches made the progress slower. Diwi was telling that I had less leeche bite. I was sure that it might have climbed up. Finally I found several leeches climbed up the legs and they were sucking blood from stomach and hands. Also was so tired becoz of the weight and were desperately looking for the campsite. Peter was explaining that no naxals can live in this leechy wet forest when compared to the dry , warm eastern ghats. It is true. Peter and Guru went back to find the jeep trial and it was already 6. They came back with the news that unable to find the trial and we decided to pitch tent. The place was near to a small stream. There were no flat place to pitch tent side to the stream and finally we pitched tent on the small space near to stream itself. We were able to hear the main river where the stream joined was flowing heavily. All this time the rain was heavy and were shievering most of the time. We finally pitched tent and had hot soup and maggie noodles for the first time in the trek. Peter was noting that noodles and soup were the best items to carry for n days trek. Other items are too heavy and bulky. We had a rocking bed for the day. We were under the big tree to which tent was tied and other end towards the stream. We were expecting anytime to wake up and trek if it rains heavily and the place goes inside water. Luckily the stream didnt increase and we had a rough sleep on the rocks.
4th Day
P1040815 The next day except Peter none wanted to wake up. It was already raining heavily and we were hesitated to trek. But Peter brought us to sense by preparing tea and waking up all. Also we shifted all over hand luggages to our backpacks to make things easier. Also he changed to wet clothes and said we were required to catch the jeep trials and finish two peaks the same day. JenKalBeta and the tougher Deepadakal Beta. We were initially on the forest cover and finally we reached a nice trial towards Jenkal Beta. The places reminded that we were in the trial during one day conquer of OG3 trek. At one climb up in the trial Peter saw a poisonous snake and asked us to stay away. Then we were on the trial through thorny leechy bushes. Finally we reached some coffee estates with nice jeep trial. We decided to dump our backpacks and come again to pitch tent for the night. The time was about 11AM and we dumped all our backpacks and food items. We carried oneday meal and dinner in case we werent able to reach back to that place. We took the jeep trial for sometime and we were in grasslands. The GPS showed that we were at altitude of 1200 and we were hoping to reach the peak in another 10 minutes. But we were in wrong trial. We went inside one more forest and a stream and we were exactly north of the Jenkal Beta which is a very steep climb. We climbed up the hill using bushes and it was hell of a climb. I could remember in the last OG3 that climbing up the hill is not at all possible. But this time we were climbing up the same path. During OG3 we climbed the hill from a gradual slope from the south direction.
Finally we all 5 were on top of JenKal beta. The view was amazing. No view after 10 meters. The fog , rain and wetness blocked us all the great views from JenKal Beta. We took few pictures before we started for the next peak Deepadakal beta which was just 2 kms far from Jenkal Beta. The Deepadakal Beta is slightly lesser in height and it was in the south east direction to Jenkal Beta. We climbed down the last stretch of JenKalBeta and took a left turn when we reached the forest cover. We were walking with Peter always in front to lead us to DeepadalKal. It was wet, rain , leechy. I could remember the chillness of the path to the peak. Finally we reached the peak and we found that we need to climb up a rock to be on top of the peak. We climbed the rock from the right side and we were able to reach the another base. Above that there was one more rock which was too slippery. We decided to climb down as Divya stayed at the bottom of the rock. Climbing down the rock was much difficult and Guru warned that I should not take such risks since I was the first to climb up the rock. We had few fotos in that rainy wetty place and started climbing down towards our luggage dump place. The rain didnt stop at all and all were shievering. After an hour about 4 PM we were at the base of Jenkal beta last stretch and the clouds cleared for a while to have a look at the mighty JenKalBeta.
P1040837 But that was a only for a short duration and again the rain started heavily. We found a relatively easy trial from that place to the dump place and Peter amazed how we missed the same trial during climb up. While coming down Peter asked for some chocolates. I gave them the good Finland Chocolates which my colleague bought during his visit the last week. We had some great views while climbing down and we were at the Jeep trial by 5 PM. We went to the dump place and found all our belongings were as it is. We took them and we were happy to end the day earlier. Finally we reached a grass land ideal for camping. Peter and Guru went to fetch water. Meanwhile we started cooking. Since we had only a liter of water left I prepared Semiya Payasam. Divya gave the idea as we had nuts and resins to make it better. After about an hour Peter and Guru came with news of no water. They had to cross a stream which was full of leeches and terrified all about the place which had lot of fresh elephant shits. Now Kannan and me were required to take water from the place where we dumped our bags. Meanwhile Guru and Peter pitched the tent. Everyone enjoyed having Semiya Pal Payasam and we decided to have Raagi for dinner. We had our regular soup and none ate Raagi which was cooked. Peter and Guru took critical notes on that day without that this writing would not be possible.
The night was horrible. It rained heavily and the tent fell several times on us. We were required to make the tent upright several times in night. One time the tent fell down and everyone were trying to fix it and Guru was snoring well. Peter noted that without the tent in western ghats it is hell and was very careful while pitching the tent so that it dont leak. That day was the day which I wanted to remember for a long time. That was my birthday and none known or able to contact me. It was a different experience of reaching two peaks on the same day with friends.
5th Day
P1040977 The fifth day was a dull day as I went to refill bottles of water. There were few villagers who were with cows asking about us. When I came back everyone were still in beds and started the day with hot tea and rusks. While we were packing we found some villagers and children walking towards our tent and asking questions. They were wondering how we were able to reach the places inside forest. We showed them the maps and gave the children our energy bars and chocolates. We didnt had a single energy bars till that day and for the rest of the trek too. By the time we packed and started trekking towards Ballekallu it was already 11 AM. We were too lazy in that morning. The plan is to reach Ballekallu base by evening. We went back in jeep trail for some distance and we took the same path where we came the earlier day. Guru decided to go up the hill at one point. After 10 minutes walk Peter decided to stick on to the older path itself and took a U turn. Then we were walking in the jungle. While climbing down we were having few views here and there when the clouds moved. We crossed the main river and proceeded along the side stream where we found the jeep trail. Peter found another snake lying ready to attack and we moved  away from it on the right side of the stream. Soon the jeep trail disappeared and we proceeded along a foot path marked by sickle cuts which climbs steep uphill on the left side of the valley. Kannan was leading this time and was quick in identifying the sickle cuts on trees.  The climb up the hill was toughest and it was full of thorny leechy area. It was climb up and up and up. Still the backpacks were heavy and no words to tell about the climb on 5 th day. Finally Guru said to Peter to reach the other two peaks and leave once we conquered them.
P1050076 Peter said that we are losing our focus to remain inside forest for 9 days and took foto of the place. Later after sometime we reached the grasslands and was happy to see the grasslands. But again climb up the grasslands. With heavy backpack, rain, leeches all places looked identical. It was again climb up and up the grassland. We were able to see the start of the streams in the grasslands and the thick forest cover started. The visibility was very less and we couldnt see the jeep trial. Our mission is to catch the jeep trial and camp before 6. Finally we were required to climb down the grasslands and enter the forest cover to reach jeep trial. The GPS gave information that only 500 metres but it seemed like it said in altitude. We climbed down inside the forest and finally we reached the jeep track. We decide to camp at the same place where the DOA6 people camped. I had leeche bites and the blood was flowing and not clotting at all. After setting up the best tent in the whole trek , Peter took fotos. We cooked soup and maggie which made us alive again. That night Divya was trying to convince Peter to get back to civilization the next day. She was our spokeswoman and we were very tired carrying backpacks. Also it was raining and our spirits dimnished due to wetness and rains. Eventhough we had a nice camping place the wind was cold and it was the coldest night of the trek.
6th Day
P1040921 The 6th day started with a hot tea and rusk packets. We were planning to dump the backpack near to campsite and reach two peaks and a 100 meter waterfall. We started towards 100 meter waterfall. It was still raining but we were still brisk. We were walking all through the grass lands in clear jeep trial. We reached the end of the grasslands where there was a stream. We descended along the stream and found lot of elephant shits all around. It was cold , damp, wet leechy place again and we were on the top of the 100 meter waterfall. The wind was blowing heavily and this water falls is right in center of the valley. We could see heavy wind up the waterfall but the views were reduced to 10 meters. We had few fotos there. We found the correct jeep trial while coming out of the stream on the right side while climbing up and took the jeep track. Finally we were in the jeep track and our plan is to reach Ballekallu that day. Next day plan is to go to Murukallu and go back to Gundiya checkpost. Divya surprised all with the news that Peter decided to end the mission and we were going to catch the same 2.30 bus the DOA7 people took. All were pumped up to go back. Peter said that only 3 hours left to make to Ballekallu and catch the bus. That would be the last peak of that trek. We decided to go up the peak and dance at the top of the hill. It was a grassland and climb up the hill. Divya was reminding of the great views which they had last week during DOA7. We were unlucky because of rain and cold.
P1050069 Finally we reached the top of Ballekallu at 12:00 noon and we danced on top of the hill. It was a funny video. We started descending down fast as we had only 2 hours left to catch the bus. Guru and me went ahead after reaching our camp place first. It was a proper Jeep path and it was fully muddy. Due to rain it had become super slippery. Guru was almost running and whenever I tried to take long steps I fell. I fell lot times on that road. Finally we were in sight of villagers and locals who work in the estates. While we were walking down the jeep , we found Peter, Divya and Kannan on a jeep. Guru and me too joined them and we had a great jeep ride. The road was  beautiful and the jeep driver dropped us to a near by town. We then took a jeep to Saklespur. People inside the jeep were closing their noses. We didnt know how bad we smelled. Finally we reached Sakleshpur and we went inside a restaurant where we can change clothes and have good food. We went to restaurant “The Prestige”. It was a nice one and clean. We dirtied their restrooms and had a great food. We made calls to Arun, Vinodh to tell about our exits. Vinodh booked tickets from Bangalore to Chennai. We took a Volvo from Saklespur to Bangalore around 4:30 PM. We viewed fotos took by Peter and it were feeling good to return back to home. We reached Bangalore around 10:30 and we had dinner at KFC where we departed. Guru went to his native Vellore and I stayed back in Bangalore.
Victory Dance at Ballekallu
This whole 6 day trek tested everyone’s limits and the human endurance. Peter was pushing always to higher limits and we are yet to find our limit. Personally I think that this particular trek is not possible for anyone other than Peter. The trails he chooses and the approach is unbelievable. I never thought in my life time that I can do such things. But we did. Guru , kutti Peter we can call him. Amazing always with heavy backpack and finding the paths. Kannan the trekker who with his never down attitude and coolness was a great companion to have with. Divya as usual will be seen in front but when she runs I always fails to catch her in climbing uphills.  I dont know how to thank you Peter but you are the Trek God for me and lot of CTCians .
This particular trek taught us lot of small important things during treks. They are
1. Good Back pack.
2. Gas with canister cylinders. For western ghats and raining conditions it is a must
3. Plastic cover.
4. Dry clothes to sleep at night
5. Leeche medicine (Snuff powder and kerosene, tiger balm)
6. Good jersin material trouser and tops.

Written by: Senthil
Organized by: Peter
Image Galleries:
Participants: Peter, Divi, Senthil, Kannan, Guru
Posted by: Karthick Sundararajan

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