Mountain Trekking

Saturday, May 28, 2011

It is Saturday our fourth and final full day in Masinugudi.

The website for Glen View offered Rock Climbing as one of the many activities that they could arrange for us to go on. I have found that India websites especially hotel websites often offer more than they can really deliver. So I wasn’t too hopeful about this possibility. However, no harm in asking. Yesterday before leaving for Ooty I asked Muthu if it would be possible to go rock climbing. He said he would arrange it for us “tomorrow morning.” While eating breakfast at six in the morning, just to double check I asked if they would have all the equipment for us at the place. Muthu was a little confused at first but finally understood and explained that we weren’t going rock climbing but mountain climbing, basically extreme trekking. The same guide from yesterday showed up and we headed back towards the hills behind the resort. Today however instead of sticking to the paths and doing a relatively light climbing to a moderate height we avoided the paths and struck out for the tops of the “hills”. Extreme is exactly the right word. We cut our way through brambles and bushes, wandered around the bamboo forests, scrambled up over and down boulders, and generally did our best to keep going up.

In one of the pictures from yesterday you can barely see a house on a hill in the far distance and behind the hill with that house, a mountain rearing up behind and above. Today, we ascended to the top of that mountain. In fact you can see a picture of us looking down from the mountain to the hill with the house again in the far distance but from the opposite side.

During this trek we twice ran across elephants packs. Both times the elephants were not that far from us and we got really good looks at them. However I was never able to get a picture. The elephants were moving at a leisurely but steady pace and by the time I got my camera pointed at one spot they would be hidden behind a bamboo grove.

We also saw a sloth bear. This appeared suddenly out of the thickets and into the clearing and we scrambled quickly to back up before it felt threatened. The bear was probably only 60 or 70 yards away. I did get some pictures however they are a bit fuzzy because I was also trying to walk backwards away from it while taking photos. We also saw some monkeys, birds, and fresh tiger and panther tracks.

Our destination was the top of one “hill” upon which was an old wall of stones which used to be a hut for some tribal Indians. Once we reached this point, we descended the mountain by the most direct downwards path. Again through brambles, bushes, over rather difficult and steep terrain. We then walked around taking the paths back to the hotel.

We tried chicken curry for lunch, but also ordered fried chicken as a back up.

The rest of the day was sitting around waiting for Vanessa to wake up.