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Makalidurga Trek with 40 others..

Hello to all you awesome people of BTC.
This blog is about the trek to Makalidurga on the wonderful morning of 26th June, Sunday.

A lovely Bangalore morning: Nippy weather, the refreshing morning breeze. 

(Disclosure: I have never woken up at that hour in Bangalore except on this occasion) 
The Bangalore cantt railway station is teeming with people. I reach, with a wee bit of apprehension clouding my mind. 

Meet the BTC crew there-all geared up with backpacks and trekking shoes. It is a mixed group of guys and chics, surprisingly very good looking ones. There is something good about the vibe. Pleasantries are exchanged and then we head for a super quick and duper cheap bfast at the station canteen. The idli sambhar, as advised by my fellow trekker Ashwini, is a bfast of choice before a trek. She has done several treks, so I readily take the advice. Next up is catching the train.

This trip is about connecting with nature and that should not be an expensive affair at all. Soon, a second class compartment in a passenger train is filled with enthusiastic souls, grabbing window seats. Train moves... a lil coo coo here and there. A dog barks and a small bird flutters, wishing us well.
Train chugs along... as chatter begins. BTC organizers are now in pristine white t-shirts and saying hello to everyone. Soon the party is joined by a few others, who board at Baypanahalli. A round of fun introductions follows. By now we have broken the ice. Its a group of 41 people and to get them all talking is no easy feat. But we are all bound with the excitement string and so connect with each other. A long but super fun train journey ends when the train reaches Makalidurga.
After a headcount, a round of intros is done. A small birthday celebration for Aman with chocolate follows. By now, I am convinced its going to be good company.
The trek begins...
A railway track.. walk ..walk..walk as the beautiful scenery on your right distracts you from balancing on the rails. Nonetheless, a left turn onto a dirt road shows promise. Nature's call is taken care of in some bushes. (I am secretly happy to relieve myself here in the bushes rather than those awful toilets on the train). And the trail walk begins. Slowly the terrain changes from muddy to gravel. Then another left turn and the trail is greener.

We start walking up.. stopping here and there to gaze at the sky, the hills, the greenery. Soon we reach a spot with lots of boulders strewn amidst the greens. It looks like an amphitheater to me. These small rocks are sitting there witnessing the follies of nature.
Pics are taken. Group moves along.. and ascent begins. Rocks.. small ones at first and then bigger ones, placed one after another in a delicate balance. Its easy for a few minutes and then you realize the price of missing those gym sessions and the walks. The cool wind pats your back and urges you on. The climb gets steeper and soon you start feeling the weight of your backpack. One sweet voice from behind tells you to walk slowly in small steps. She notices I was out of breath. That voice is Raksha's. She is softly and encouragingly offering me advice to make the climb easier. Some short breaks are taken and each break is then punctuated by Mr. Enthusiasm personified - Ankit's call.. Ooye, chalo chalo..!! I gather myself, my breath and my sense of wonder. Start climbing again. A dog walks along with us. Giving company and a wag to all.
When the backpack starts feeling heavier, a cool dude named Srikanth, offers to help. I am touched by the gesture but too proud to let him carry it. We go along.. passing by rocks, shrubs, some tiny flowers. The wind is singing to us and wiping off our sweat. I stop and stare in disbelief. There is a vertical rock face. Thoughts in my mind : humse na ho payega. And just then Srikanth offers a hand and in seconds I have crossed the rock face. Phew! I catch a breath and have some water.

Slowly we all keep inching towards the top. We finally reach the 'Durg' (fort). 

The view is outstanding. The vast expanse of green and the lake shaped like south america, literally take your breath away. It was all worth it. You smile at your feat. Just then there is a rumble. Your tummy is demanding food.
We are guided by the BTC dudes through a lil door. It almost feels like I am entering Narnia. The magic is in the air. We settle down in flat area and there is a small temple there, where some ppl do a quick prayer. Lunchboxes are opened and the delicious aromas mix up with the fresh air. Hunger doubles. Soon the group is chatting and sharing food along with stories of their lives.
A 1 hour rest is declared. After the food is wiped clean and all trash gathered, the group disperses. Some take a nap, others take pictures. Some soak in the beauty and some others indulge in some quiet time. It is sheer bliss to be up there, away from the maddening crowds and the voices full of demands. In those few moments of solitude, being surrounded by nature, the worries disappear and your soul is recharged, mind is refreshed. You understand why nature is referred to as Mother. She comforts you.

And then its time for descending. 
I am already a lil heart broken to leave this beautiful view but we must go on. The descend begins and so does antakshari. Singing and laughter fills the air. A feathery light and nimble footed Veera (our team lead) passes by my side. Descend continues...it doesn't take too long to come down and soon the weary travelers need a break.
Ankit takes a nice group pic and we carry on again. The dirt track ends and the railway platform begins. The sight of a water tank fills us with joy. Some people wash their faces, others almost shower. 
Then we sit down for a quick feedback session, full of positive comments, good vibes and some suggestions. Hiren, another handsome organiser gives a very respectful nod for each suggestion. Ankit writes all of them down and reiterates all of them later. BTC sure takes itself and the feedback seriously. 
Soon we are on the train again. Not everyone gets a seat, in fact very few do. But despite having walked over 8 kms, each person offers their seat to another. Can friendships not be built in a day? Sure they can be. Chatting ensues and soon we reach Bengaluru. Its time to go home.

We head out in our own directions, carrying the memories of a wonderful day, lessons about our fitness levels and promises made to self about doing this again.
With this I end this long blog. A Sunday well spent, reconnecting with myself and all that nature bestows upon us. Big thanks to all my co-trekkers including the organizers and the photographers.

Written By      : Ishita Sharma
Photo Credits  : Amol, Premal, Archana, Deepak & Sudhier
Organized By  : Hiren, Srikanth, Raksha, Veera & Ankit
Date of event  : 25th June, 2016
Place               : Makalidurga
Members         : 41
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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