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Sun,sand and waves - Gokarna trek with BTC

Some warm sun, white sands and calm cool waves. Check. Some rocky cliffs, with corals and sea shells attached. Interesting. Some muddy slopes, and loose pebbles on a steep seaward face of a hill. Challenging. A flat hill-top with mesmerizing grassland springing up as you climb behind the fort wall. Rewarding. A wash in cool sacred waters after a dip in the sea. Definitely worth it.

That is what trek was all about. But, summaries are just that, they leave out the spicy details. The rest of this article is just about the stories as I like to tell them.

I am part of a trekking club, called Bangalore trekking club (BTC as we fondly call it). From time to time, to remind myself that I am part of a much larger scheme of the universe, I am speck on a speck of sand, I go trekking. In the wild I connect with my fears and hopes. It liberates me to be away from the ho-hum of the electronics and the nitty-gritty of work and life. And this time, it was a beach trek!

Where did we go? We went from beach to beach, along the west coast of Karnataka from Kumta to Gokarna passing the Nirvana beach, paradise beach, half-moon beach and the beautiful OM beach finally reaching Gokarna beach.
A compact 20 seated accommodated the 20 of us. On teaching Kumta, we waved a last bye to all the many shops, eateries and other comforts. A quick breakfast and we geared up for the two days trek. It started on a  beautiful beach with many boats on the shore and a few fisherman still visible at the horizon. The sands were white and clean. All through the sand we could see little holes surrounded by beautiful spheres of wet sand. They looked like the diwali fireworks without the heat or light. 
We reached the first hill, on top of it was a little fort ruined and watching time go by. This was a photo moment and do we pose!

Then another beach, and slowly the fun started. We crossed the longest beach in the whole trek, barefoot in the by the waves, this was Nirvana beach, long stretch of white beautiful sands. By mid-day after a decent distance covered, stomachs grumbled a bit. I think the grumble reached the trek-leader's ears too, we decided to take a small detour to a little town by the coast. Here, in a small shop, we ransacked for any eatables. We discovered the local delights. The best of which was the thirst quenching "Ragini", at least some of us thought that is what it was called. It was actually called "ragi neer" translates to the juice of ragi (a grain found in these parts). Someone made the mistake of offering home cooked rotis and tomato chutney, then some chutney-powder, bhindi (ladies finger) curry and rice rotis and the food kept coming to the table and disappearing in a blink. Then thanks to Shakti, we got to know how each one of the "Amma" cool drinks tasted. Only if wine tasting also had an extension of cool-drinks tasting, Shakti would have won many awards. To close the meal we had MTR made dal-chawal. And we started to trek again. Refreshed.

We started trekking again, and this time the terrain got interesting. The slopes were steeper and loose gravel made stepping tricky. While i fell a couple of steps behind, i found inspiration from the 11 year old who made the uphill look like a child's play. My new hero was ahead of me and i followed her stride. Slowly and steadily we reached on top of the hill, at one point we could hardly see a trail ahead. Bushes and thorny shrubs surrounded us, at the bottom white waves crashed into large black rocks. The landscape across the fort wall was completely different. The grass covered the entire floor in even golden. The mist of the morning still lingered here adding a beautiful haze. It felt like a dream.
At the end of the day we reached a small beach adjacent to a village hidden behind the trees lining the beach. The fishermen were roping in their days catch as we reached. We pitched tent and jumped into the waters.
How could we not!? After freshening up, hunger surfaced again and campfire was set. In the simmering fire, we heard the story of "Ek thi daayan" (once there was a witch) from our little story teller. I liked Bebo, the little kid in the story, but the narrator was much more mesmerizing. Then I made my first ever barbecue onion in the campfire, luck was with me and it tasted great, and we were hungry. Thanks to industrious efforts of the guys, we got cup noodles and loads of yummy MTR food again. Then the games began.
We played dumb charades, and strange facts came out. Got to learn what happens when you hug too much and that there is a phenomenon called "baba Mulayamgiri"( hermit named smooth hills). With the sound of waves we finally retired to our tents and slept, while a friend to be stood guard by my tent all night. He made sure no other dogs would disturb my sleep and only he would. In the morning we made peace and became friends.

Morning next to the beach, the memory itself refreshes me now. For some however the peace of the morning was interrupted when someone trespassed a peaceful natural call unknowingly. The said person was aloof and seemed uncomfortable for the best part  of the trek that followed. When one has to go, one has to go. We started on more rocky faces on second day. We reached a small hotel after a long trek. The hotel only served eggs and omelettes from them, for vegetarians like me, this was disappointing. To rescue the vegetarians like me, one brave girl took up the task of teaching the cook how to cook amazing Maggi. We pooled all Maggi packets and gave her, she managed the show so well. Meanwhile, idle hands were at mischief, lets say yada yada yada, and about seven of us tasted the green grass that deserved to be eaten by cows. I am still surprised how is that one has never eaten grass?!  After a while, I got a plate of the best Maggi after a tiring trek.

One more fort later, we had the view of the Om beach., shaped like the Om word in Sanskrit. 
On Om beach we lounged and had lunch. Long chats about this and that. Refreshed we started on the last leg of the trek. We finally reached Gokarna and a dip in the seas and a shower in the holy waters. Just the perfect end to a trek. But, wait, there is more. Then we went and saw the temple in Gokarna. After the temple visit, we had the yummiest free food from the anna-daan (rice donations). What a fitting end!

And we returned to the same buildings and mundane lives, but the shine of the sun and the smell of the seas for two days stayed for the next few days in me. As it fades, I am preparing for my next exciting trek in the wilderness.

PS: Photos are from different people, just the memories are mine. 

Written By     : Sree Krishnamoorthy
Organized By : Sreemoyee & Virander
Date of event: 1st & 2nd Nov, 2014
Place             : Gokarna
Pictures        BTC FB Page
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