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Above the ocean of Clouds : A trek to remember

     On the evening of May 16th 17:45 , 9 adventures bound to Horagina Betta began their journey by bus towards Devanahalli.  We were led by Abhishek and Swathi, both experienced trekkers. Earlier in the day, the clouds above the city of Bangalore broke loose and threatened to derail our plans. Little did we realise that rain would be our companion our much part of the trek.

     The city seemed to hold a grip on our plans, for there were traffic jams till we reached Hebbal, where one more joined us.  We alighted at Devanahalli at about 19:00, our intermediate stop where some of us packed dinner. Two more people joined us directly here. After much haggling we boarded an auto towards Karahalli cross, further 10 Kms away and the starting point of trek. Myself and two others got seats at the backside of the auto (facing traffic) , where we got to admire the narrow road behind us, bereft of the streetlights , very little traffic and light rain.

     After about 30 minutes we reached Karahalli cross , it was not until then we had our first round of formal introduction . The rain halted for a while as if it was keen to eavesdrop our conversation. For many of us it was first time experience with BTC and this being a night trek, and we couldn't have asked for much more.

     Led by Abhishek and Swathi, Mithun, Nagesh, Swajit, Satvik, Shashikala, Pratibha, Amith, Prateek and Ashutosh were others who were going to make ascent that night. We started along the mud road right away, with our flashlights out. With rain making its presence felt every now and then, it was proving difficult to find the trail. Nevertheless our progress was healthy, thanks to the experience of the trek leaders who showed great persistence in such tricky conditions.

     As we treaded our way up the hill, we caught a glimpse of species like snake(small one 2 feet long). We soon realized that we were surrounded by dense clouds of mist, with visibility dropping to less than 30 feet. I must admit it was one of the most erethreal experience I've ever felt. The continuous gentle breeze creating sounds like a nearby waterfall further added to the allure. It was a phenomenon which just couldn't be caught on camera due to pitch darkness. I've always longed to witness such a beauty which was beyond human realms of capture.
     Amidst such beautiful moments, we saw hilltop rising out of dense blanket of cloud, like an Island only to disappear a short while later. Some sections of hike were steep with damp rocks, which needed to be carefully trudged. As we neared the top, the path became narrow with feet or two wide. Thick foliage on both sides hindered our advance, for we had to look out outstretched thorn laden twigs easy reaching out to our faces. We found a Temple on the way indicating that we were almost at the top. Following a section of rocky staircase, we were very soon on top of the hill by which time rain had ceased completely. The sleeping city down below, with the airport at the distance looked charming. With clouds high above us beginning to clear, we could glimpse the hidden stars finally. 

     After finding a relatively flat place, we settled down to have our much awaited dinner. From chapatti's/parathas to bread/Jam, we shared whatever we had brought. Only thing we were missing was perhaps non-veg.

     We passed the remainder of the night playing games and had some great fun. As time flew by, we came to know each other on another level. Only thing missing was a campfire. It was getting real cold with each passing hour. While some of us took refuge in jerkins, others took comfort in blankets. The rain earlier had made it difficult to find dry wood. We struggled to get the fire going for a long time. But thanks to relentless efforts led by Shashikala, Prateek, Swajit, we were finally successful. We enjoyed the warmth of the fire under the starry sky with shooting stars making their appearances every now and then.
     Low lying clouds quickly blanketed the city entirely, blocking any light from down below. At about 5:00 in the morning faint light started emanating from the east. We geared up to greet the morning sun amidst the clouds below. As the sun rose gently into the sky, the clouds started to turn colored with faint hues of orange and red. It seemed as if a giant invisible cosmic paint brush was at work. We marveled at this spectacular beauty and captured as much of it as possible with our cams.
     We started packing our bags and began our descent at about 7:30. As we rolled down the hill, we were quite taken aback at some sections of the trail, for it would completely be lost over the rocks only to discover it somewhere down below. It's beyond my understanding how the guides were able to steer our ascent last night. After reaching a flat area of the hill, we could see vehicles streaming to adjacent Nandi hills along the twisty roads.
     We reached Karahalli cross where a bus stood waiting and dropped us at Devanahalli. Many of us elected to have our breakfast right here. After which a round of feedback was given and we split up the costs of the trek. We boarded a bus to Bangalore, a few of us got down at Hebbal and the rest at Majestic Station.

     We exchanged farewells and parted our ways. After the trek, I've realized that although it had been quite long with no sleep for over 20 hours I was not really tired. Most of us indeed felt it that way. All I am carrying is memory of beautiful nature, company of good Co-trekkers & friends, a blissful time spent. I consider myself fortunate to be among this select company of friends and on behalf of everyone wish to thank BTC and the organizers for making this trek happen.

Photo Credits     : Nagesh
Written By         : Srinivas & Swajit
Organized By     : Abhishek & Swathi
Date of event    : 16th May, 2015
Members Count  : 12
Theme               : Night - Trek
Place                 : Horagina Betta

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