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1000 shades of Green: Trek to Jog Falls, 15-16 August, 2015

Shantala Bus Terminus, 14th August, 2015, 10:30 PM: The team of 21 bound for the Jog falls Trek on 15-16 august let out a sigh of relief. After 4 months of planning, money transactions, forms and all, finally the trek was on. Yes, the original plan had been replaced, but who cares when it’s a BTC Trek..!!

After the above group pic of 50 odd BTCians, leaving at the same time for 3 different treks, the Journey to Jog falls started with the good old Dumb-charades introduction. Post this ice breaking ceremony, all members were at ease with the others and the game of antakshari “with a feel” ensued. Only after singing their throats hoarse did the gang called it a night and went off to sleep, to be woken at dawn by the special stream of multiple speed humps on the way to Sagara. The bumpers ensured the members had a good massage and were up and ready for the day to come. Thanks to the traffic, the programme was a bit behind schedule and they got a deadline of 15 mins to get ready for school. Yup, just 15 minutes, so most rushed to brush, while some resorted to mouthwash.

Hence, the gang started the day by saluting the national flag at the school grounds and moved forward to the cultural programme the school of 30 little kids had been decked up for. There were many a performances by the students, some enchanting speeches by the guests and an appreciative audience formed by the parents and staff members. Now, this is where the one thinks, in such a close-knit affair, where could they fit in..?? And they did exactly as expected, they fit in anywhere.. literally everywhere! A couple of them gave speeches, some of the prepared for the next activity on their agenda, and the rest just blended in seamlessly with the kids. Yeah, as Gaston Bachelard said, “Childhood lasts all through your life”, they were all students of that school then.

As 3-4 BTCians frantically sharpened 40 odd pencils, some of the kids gave them suspicious looks, as if saying: “Come on, not pencils. Today was supposed to be a holiday.” Though the kids were pretty much surprised when it turned out to be a sit-and-draw competition, the excitement went a notch higher once they received a set of crayons each. The care with which they handled the drawing sheets, placing it on a piece of newspaper lest it gets dirty, won them all a chocolate and many hearts. The angelic innocence of toddlers in the Pre-nursery on the other hand, was best depicted when they danced away for a piece of chocolate distributed in pieces by their teacher.
Though the hearts never wanted to leave, the gang had quite a few activities for the day to leave the kids & the school and head back to the guide’s place. The 1st activity of course, was food.
The food, as expected was awesome and they had a wholesome breakfast before heading to the Saravathi backwaters to take a dip. With the waving tri-colour leading the way, they head to the waters. Swimmer or non-swimmer, each one was strongly gripped by a life jacket as they got into the water and moved around. Some honing their swimming skills, others floating or taking a hump back ride behind the swimmers.
The 3 hour dip was exhausting enough to leave their stomachs tingling for food and the guide foresaw the obvious as he offered them all some food he had got packed from home while leaving. Though this was just a starter course and the gang was served an awesome meal once they reached back in the afternoon.
In the evening, the group head out into the wilderness of the forests after the lunch break. This 5 km trek through the dense foliage, among the chirping birds and humming insects, over the electrified fences and the little streams while balancing on the dangling roots of the trees, was what one could call, nature personified. Though they were together, the group was more so in a trance, lost in the beauty around and made little noise on the move. And when there were some noises by chance, the guide or the organizers subdued them in their own charming ways.
The shadows had crept in when they began, growing larger as dusk drew nearer, and then had disappeared as they reached the end of the trek. Most things went unnoticed during this part of the day, most, apart from the beauty of nature, which was exactly the aim of the trek.
The hunger pangs were treated with hot pakode and steaming coffee. This followed by an hour of antakshari around the campfire and then some awesome food, the only thing one could ask for after such a happening day was a good night sleep. Hence, the gang, or at least most of them, called it a day and dozed off in their respective tents. As for the rest, meeting your buddies after a long time does call for a chat that goes on till one of you dozes off in the middle of the conversation!
16th August: A new day, a new plan. The place was abuzz from 6 a.m. itself as the members scrambled around to freshen up and pack, well in time for the breakfast and the rest of the day’s plan. The plan, was simple. Take a ride till the starting point of the trek, dump all luggage in the bus, and trek 15 kms towards the final point, Jog Falls. Like any other trek, they started with one lead, a person to trail, and the rest of the gang sandwiched between them. The 1st half of the trek was towards Bheemana Hejje (Bhima’s foot) and took them over the top of a hill. They moved at their own pace, some greeting the accompanying rain with open arms, others with open raincoats. This part of the trek showed them some vivid shades of green they had never seen before. After some fooling around and exploration, they moved ahead towards the 1st pit-stop for the day. Their bus came along carrying lunch and soon they were again ready to hit the path. There was a minor pause to apply leech repellent oil and they started again towards the destination.
The denser the forest, the slippery the things get. Moving through the dense forests, they slipped, fell, crawled their way through the flora as leeches rolled up their shoes or jumped on their necks. The dense forests gave way to a rather pleasant surprise: a small stream with a couple of humps, deep enough to take a dip in, if and only if, one lies down completely. Don’t know the exact reasons, but man’s affinity to water has always been enormous. The gang of 21 therefore, gave in to their desires to play in the water like kids, as the village kids (below) from a nearby home watched, bewildered, probably thinking to themselves, “and they call us KIDS”
As all good things come to an end, so did this trek, as the gang trekked the final leg through stepped rice farms into the opening where the sign board read: Jogina Mane.
Once there, they changed into dry clothes and head towards the majestic view of the Jog falls.
All’s well that ends well, as was this trek with a lot of positive vibes, many a praises for the guide and the team. This was followed by dinner where the BTCians hosted the guide and his team before bidding goodbye and boarding the bus, for the sleepy tiring journey to Bangalore.

Well, this was just the bird’s eye view of the trek. For a more detailed and fascinating step-by-step take on this trek, to live / re-live the whole trek altogether, do read this Blog by Vijaykumar Metri.

Written By          : Anonymous & Vijaykumar Metri
Photo Credits     : Hrishikesh Baruah, Deep Sengupta, Sagar Patil & Kumar Kislay
Organized By      : Gaurav Kamath & Ankit Maheswari
Members Count  : 21 (15M, 6F)
Date of event     : 15th & 16th Aug 2015
Place                   : Jog Falls, Shimoga
Pictures              : BTC FB Album

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