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Trekking/Island Camping/Water Sports in Sharavathi Back Water

Like the desert misses the rain! (not my line) 
          The rest of the following  lines are fully mine and copyrights protected :-P
Like the men miss the cup of coffee &  newspaper in the morning
Like the women miss the year’s half price sales at the malls
Like the Bollywood misses the ‘SRK Kajol’ Jodi
I have missed BTC more than anything!
Yea yea! Those lines were really crappy, but no trekking with BTC for a month had really driven me insane and this was a way for my vent out. Do you now get the intensity of how much I missed BTC? :P
So here I am after a long break; the much wanted, two days to Sharavati back waters trekking, my 'sweet escape' after a hectic month of academics.
Shantala house (The legendary place where the fun begins J) 13th Dec: People say life is so unpredictable, so is Bangalore traffic! To spare myself from being stuck in the traffic jam I reached our meet point Shantala house at 9pm, an hr before the said time. After few mins, Divya was there, it was her first BTC trek. We went on chatting till others reached. By 10.30 all of us were there and had a short introduction session and we started our journey to Sharavati in our hired TT. The night was uneventful, except for some delay due to a KSTRC bus being toppled up on the road. 

Day full of surprises 14th Dec
@ Jog Falls
We reached Sagara by 6am. Am sure all the people of Karnataka have grown up reading/listening to this Kannada poem/song -                                                 
           “Manavanagi huttidha mele enen kandi
  Sayo thanaka samsardholage ganda gundi
 Herikondu hogodhila satthag bandi
Irodhraloge nodu omme jogadha gundi”
This little poem says, what have all you seen after being born as a human?  Till the death, you go through up's and downs of life and not that you can carry everything when you die, so make sure you visit Joga at least once in your lifetime! Though Jog Falls was not on our plan, we decided to visit Jog waterfalls! That was such a nice surprise! And one item less on my "to do" list :) The Jog Falls didn't have much water but still it was a pleasant sight, all of us got busy identifying which is Raja, Rani, Roarer or Rocket! and our Channa as usual working his magic!(with his camera) Without wasting much time we headed to our homestay which was "Muppane" ( Old Elephant in kannada) , and everyone had a story how this place would have got this name, though non seemed believable!

Dharma and Lakshmi were the guys who received us, and lead our way to the dormitories to get freshen up. So our trek started there, even to reach dormitories we had to trek inside the jungle. After a ten mins walk we were let open to an absolute bliss, we were on the banks of the backwaters, even a blink of an eye then, seemed to be a sin. We were totally lost in this beauty, that we decided to freshen up right there itself instead of using the dormitory! We then trekked back to have our breakfast, which was rice poori, chutney and avalakki. 

It was one hr journey to Gudanagundi waterfalls, I was in deep sleep so I really don’t know what was going on in the TT during the journey! The day was pretty hot, we started walking, passed many grasslands and also the trail continued into thick forest.

@ Trekking to Gudanagundi Water Falls

A beautiful stream ran through, couple of them (Kaushik, Divya, Ashwin ) crossed the stream, without taking off their shoes and rest of us crossed the stream barefoot! ( Those guys who got their shoes wet appreciated us so much, as we had given them some take home trekking tips :-P ) And I think it’s never complete without leech bites! These creatures didn't spare us here either.
While BTC guys in Bangalore were generously donating blood at the blood camp the next day, we were donating blood to the leeches:-P
@ Gudanagundi Water Falls
After a good amount of trek and crossing many streams we reached the falls! It was just beautiful. We again had to climb a bit to play in the waterfalls. In few mins all were under the waterfalls! What an awesome natural Jacuzzi bath it was, and then there was Sharan trying to click pics with his phone! We were first shocked to see him risk his phone to capture us but then we were like, we first want photos and later lets think if the phone is fine :-P so we were all back posing to Sharan! This guy was also washing his phone in the waters! We thought he must be total nuts, then realised it was a water proof camera, as soon as we got to know it was waterproof we played water volleyball with his camera!
@ Gudanagundi Water Falls
It was noon by then, Dharma and Lakshmi called us for lunch. We couldn’t believe our eyes, they actually cooked us lunch with firewood while we were busy playing in the falls. Nothing like food cooked with firewood! Simple rice sambhar papad with pickles was heavenly.  All of us ate till our stomach could no longer stuff more! Some took short naps under the tree and some became dhobis! Washing and drying their wet clothes.
Dharma took us to another waterfalls “Belligundi” so we had to start trekking again, which took us almost an hr to reach there. We could only see this falls from a distance, Dharma also opined that the sunset view from here was not to be missed. So we decided to wait till sunset, it was 3ish then. We had more than an hr to kill. Sharan introduced us to a new game, the game goes like this; you name a place and with the last letter of that place we continue naming places. We were giving the other team tough time by giving them places ending with E, A & R while Channa, Prakash, Ashwin, Harisha and Santosh of that team took us on a ‘Bangalore area tour’, without missing any nagars or circles! The game then continued with movie names. We laughed till tears ran down.
It was time for the sunset! We could see the sun set into the sea (Yes! Into the sea, we could see the western coast J), the sun was down and no light! Now we had to rush as we had left our torches back at the dormitory, staying back to see the sunset was not on our plans earlier.
BTCians @ Belligundi Water Falls
So what if sun didn’t keep us company, we had the moon :) and our day trek had just become night trek ;) we were walking in the moonlight and our additional phone torches helping in some way.
With a feel of satisfaction we reached our TT and left to homestay. The dinner was ready. Even though it was night, the day was only getting better. The dinner was just amazing. Chapathi with Bindi, Bisi bele bath, curd rice, mirchi bajji and ofcourse the dessert- Payasam!
After super batting (I’m sure everyone agrees that I was the top scorer :-P), we had to trek with our heavy stomachs to pick up our luggage and go to the camping site. So trek again!
While Dharma and his guys were busy pitching tents for us, we were collecting more woods to keep our campfire burning entire night. Yes! we had a campfire and tents on an island, And no other sole out here, except for us. It was like our OWN PRIVATE ISLAND !!
Deepak had got his own tent and I didn’t miss this opportunity to learn how to put up a tent. The night was getting cold, we were all sitting around the campfire and warming ourselves!
BTCians Enjoying Campire
Dumb charades was the choice of the game. The game didn’t seem like ending! Santosh and Deepak turned into stars with their performances :-P while Sundeep gave the weirdest movie names to enact. Nobody had the heart to end this wonderful day but we had to catch some sleep. All of us crawled inside our tents and went to sleep.

Day full of action-15th Dec:
Wake up wake up! Sun is gonna rise soon! Was the wakeup call from Channa. I was still rubbing my eyes when I walked out of my tent and to see everybody all set to welcome the sun with their cameras! With no sneak peeks, the sun slowly rose high up, and it was up there shining with its full might! Marking the beginning of another bright day ahead!
@ Its Sunrise Time
Click! Click! Click! It was just that for next few hrs till our stomachs rumbled. We were trying all our martial arts skills, yoga poses and not to forget the kung fu panda pose!
Dharma insisted us to come for breakfast; we got freshened up and left our camping site. We are ‘Bangalore Trekking Club’ guys so we had to trek to get breakfast :-P. Hot idli vadas with sambhar gave us the morning boost of energy. We made sure we ate enough as we had a whole day for water activities. Breakfast done and now we were trekking back to the backwaters, carried lifejackets along. Everyone made sure that Sharan didn’t go missing for a sec! (For his waterproof camera :-P)
BTCians Getting Ready for Water Games
We all wore lifejackets (Santosh and Saravana wore double jackets J) and plunged into the water. The cold water was so refreshing on a hot day. All the self proclaimed swimmers began to swim to the other side of the backwaters; Channa didn’t let us, the non swimmers to go far. We were splashing at each other and trying some swim strokes in the shallow waters. After a while we spotted few monkeys on the tree branches somewhere in the middle of the waters, so we decided to take the coracle and started rowing to reach that tree. 
BTCians Enjoying Swimming
Ashwin and Divya took the responsibility of throwing water out, which seeped inside the coracle, he got so exhausted and he shouted that he hates this job domain and it was much tiring than swimming! Channa and Harish had mastered the skills of rowing by then, and the monkeys turned out to be none other than our BTC guys who had swam earlier! Sharan’s camera was in demand throughout.
The guys in the coracle rowed back to the bank to start with other activities like Kayaking and Canoeing. While I stayed back there, to try my swimming skills. Thanks a ton to Kaushik and Saravana for having great patience, they kept me company till I swam to the banks. Yes I did swim! (BTC founders- Viru and Chaits may laugh reading that ‘I can swim’ but guys I really swam 7.5kmJ). Apparently the backwater is 15km wide, so I have swum 7.5km!
@ Sharavathi Back Water 
We then went Kayaking and canoeing by taking turns one after the other. The feel of it was like; I was living a life from Nicholas Spark’s novel! The serene water with different shades of blue in the water, green forest anywhere you look beyond the bank and absolutely nobody’s presence around! The best part was, we had no restrictions or dos and don’ts. We could swim or row any distance with no boundaries!
@ Sharavathi Back Water
It was past afternoon, we couldn’t believe that we were in the waters for so long! We then packed our luggage and went for lunch. Lunch was as good as the day, pulav with curd raita and rice sambhar.  After a superb lunch we got into the TT, we were going to another viewpoint for sunset! What seemed like just one km trek (As told by Channa) it was almost 2 km trek just one side. After a heavy lunch we were trekking uphill! But the trek was worth it. Another beautiful sunset, what a visual delight it was. Oh yet again, it got dark so we began to descend down in the moonlight, which accounts for second day of our night trek J
@  Sunset
We met Mr. Sampath, the owner of the home stay where we stayed, thanked him for his and his men’s hospitality. We also had our feedback session there. The two day experience of all the guys were as good as our last two days, which makes me feel proud for being one among the BTC organizers!
We had our dinner at Sagara and our journey back to Bangalore began.
Last but not the least; this was my tenth trek with BTC!! And which had ten surprises for me!
Surprise 1: Jog falls visit (which was not a part of our initial plan)
Surprise 2: No packed lunch, but lunch cooked with firewood right beside the waterfalls
Surprise 3: Gorgeous sunset, watching the sun slip into the sea in the west coast, from miles away!
Surprise 4: First night trek of mine with BTC on two consecutive days!
Surprise 5: First campfire ever! Besides the bank of the river.
Surprise 6: Got a chance to pitch tent and that too besides the river.
Surprise 7: The best sunrise I have ever seen (even the sunrise at Kanyakumari had disappointed me)
Surprise 8: Yes! Swimming that long stretch, and which wasn’t in a pool.
Surprise 9: Unplanned trek, to view sunset before we end our day.
Surprise 10: Is that you guys have reached till here without dozing off :-P
Channa thanks so much for organizing this event and all the guys who were simply fun to be with! It only gets better and better with BTC, BTC just rocks!!!!
Written By      : Deepthy J
2nd Blog By     :Sundeep Agarwal 
Organized By   : Channabasappa Nad(Channa) & Deepthy J
Date of event  : 14th & 15th December, 2013
Members Count: 12 (10M, 2F)
Place              : Sagara/Shimoga/Talaguppa
Pictures          : ChannaSharan SBTC FB Page

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