The trek to Kanoor Kote had rekindled my love for long walks in the forest, so when this trek was proposed I was all set to go.
This trek was to 2 hills in Charmadi Ghats, Ballekallu and Kodekallu. Aravind had done some research about the place and had all the details that were required. We packed food at Kotigehara and after 15 minutes bus ride we were at Bidurtala village deviation the start point of our trek.
The deviation was blocked by 2 jeeps. We first thought they belonged to the forest guards but on closer look they looked like estate jeeps. When we spoke to them they mentioned that Bidurtala was attacked by elephants and they were waiting for forest guards to come by. They suggested we turned back and trekked elsewhere. After some discussion with-in the group, we decided to carry on and access situation once we got to the village.
The slightest sound as we walked had us jumping out of our skins; we approached each curve in the road with caution as we didn’t know what it had in stored. And then suddenly we heard the jeep. We thought it was the forest guards; imagine our surprise when we saw the jeep from earlier drive past with tourists in them. Our guess of the whole situation after that was maybe the guys we met earlier had promised an exclusive trek to these guys and didn’t want us there. Hence they tried scaring us off. The truth we will never know.
Once we realized there was no threat of elephants attacking us our pace was relaxed, we stopped every now and then to take pictures
and soon reached
The trek to Kodekallu was a short one, within 45 mins of walking we were there.
The scenery all through was beautiful. Kodekallu offered us respite from the heat and had enough place around to camp over night if one wished. Since none of us were tired we decided to carry on towards Ballekallu.
The walk to Ballekallu was mostly through open grassland.
The sun was merciless and some of us stopped constantly to drink water and rest
. When we were about a kilometer from the peak we stopped for a break and suddenly after about 5 mins we could hear crackling sounds. We looked up to see that our guide had set fire to the dry grass;
it took us a minute to realize that we were in the middle of man made forest fire. The fire was spreading fast but our guide didn’t seem bothered, he wanted to walk through it. After some argument, we decided to follow him. So we walked through the burnt section and crossed it to reach the peak. While we monitored the progress of the fire, we managed to rest for some time on the peak.
As it was getting hot and the fire was still spreading we decided to head back to the village.
Once at the village Aravind enquired about a waterfall he had heard about, the guide took us there. Since it was hot we decided to spend the afternoon by the waterfalls. At 3:30 pm we decided to head back to the main road and hitch a ride from there. It turned out none of the KSRTC buses stop; finally a kind-hearted jeep driver stopped and took us all the way to Kottigehara
From there we took a bus to Chikamagalur. Since our bus to Bangalore was only at 11pm we walked around the town, visted a local fair, played games and sat in giant wheel. Finally when we got into the Bangalore bus we were exhausted and within minutes fallen asleep.
Route Map- Horanadu Bus to Kottigehara – Bidurtala village stop (on route Dharmasthala) – 4 Kms hike to the village and then trek to the hills.