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My 1st Trek: Kuntibetta

I joined BTC just a couple of weeks back and was longing to be shortlisted to go on my first trek and there came a shining opportunity in the form of an email about a trek to Kuntibetta (being a person with a sedentary life involving heavy appetite for sleeping and sitting and practically no physical exertion as a daily routine I checked that the level of trek be EASY) and I readily signed up for it and was shortlisted as a part of the “GANG”.
So the next few days went preparing for the stuff needed for the trek and being super ecstatic about the trek I bought new raincoat (which wasn’t used, luckily!), lots of food stuffs, planning how to reach majestic on time without getting late (and eventually banned)! And then nearing the day of trek the rains hardly agreed to stop. Poured from heavens continuously day and night and almost making me think to dropout the last moment…THANK GOD , I didn’t !!!

Reached Majestic at an exact 6.30 a.m. to find a small group of people standing exactly at the pinned location sent with the instructions email and I was like these people seem to be working pretty professionally! Actually I discovered later on that they were perfectly friendly people working, enjoying and having unlimited dozes of fun but with some RULES which they followed strictly… YES! I really liked BTC for this working environment.
Everyone huddled up, some informal Hi and Hello were exchanged. Tickets were bought for a passenger train which was late. That gave time for a scrumptious breakfast on the station. I feel although everyone mostly cursed the train for being late, it was only because of those spare minutes, the ever-hungry gang was blessed with some food. A formal introduction was held on the platform and then began the journey, thanks to the Indian Railways Passenger trains that the Gang got some place to sit. Mostly everyone was pretty excited. Few first timers and lots of seasoned trekkers sharing past experiences of treks undertaken. The stuffy compartments and uneasiness seemed to disturb no one and exchange of ideas and talks stirred the spirits of each and every one.
Finally after chit chatting for some three hours came the PANDAVPURA station. A small station. Within a couple of minutes everyone was out of the platform and few members of the Gang got active finding transport to KUNTIBETTA. Arranged after successful haggling by the Kannada literate group, the auto was on its way to the base. Of course a special mention here goes to the politics played by the organiser and the skinny members of the gang in getting the back seats of the auto!

As mentioned earlier the trek was an easy one and the KUNTIBETTA hill seemed like a mole hill from the base. A small temple, few visitors here and there and a nice idol of Ganeshji adorns the base and then, ACTION! Climbing a steep slope is the first thing that starts the trek. Everyone climbed like a cake walk and I was the one who started trailing from the beginning because I never had climbed this steep something. But BTCians, organisers, experienced trekkers were all pretty helpful and within finite period of time I gathered confidence to move ahead. A special mention goes here to the way BTC operates. The first timers like me need not worry because you always have a hand to pull you up if you can’t take the leap of faith all by yourself.
Everyone kept the spirits high, especially the trek organiser who was a constant driving force whenever we were slightly fatigued. My breath ran out quickly because as I told I have a lack of physical activity in my daily routine. I wanted breaks at every possible step. But everyone at BTC cooperated and the overall pace of the group was such that it gave ample time for people like me  to catch a breath when short of it or for others to take photographs in between when the scenery around was breath taking!  With many more of such breaks and of course photos we leaped ahead and climbed. At many moments when I felt that I would lose my balance and fall off, I discovered that it was not that easy to fall off and soon I learnt the trick to balance. By the time we were just a quarter hour short of the uphill trip the first timers were exhausted! No more going up. I wanted to sit where I was but again the organiser didn’t allow (to make the mistake) and we were almost pulled up at small and big climbings eventually we were at the top of KUNTIBETTA.

A view to take your breath away! Feeling the cold air touch your face and feeling that you could fly away like a bird (literally for the skinny ones)! Seeing the majestic fields of sugarcane around geometrically distributed looking like graph sheets, actually it was like seeing google maps or the bird’s eye view only this time I wasn’t looking at my cell phones screen but it was in real. I was at a good height for the coconut trees, buses and temples to look like miniature toys. Initial couple of minutes up there felt like trance and then when we realised it was for real, we couldn’t stop ourselves from taking selfies, groupfies, cover photos, sound images(That’s real J),GIFs , time lapses, slow motion pictures( of attempted suicides), videos and whatever possible format of capturing the feeling of that moment to keep with us for a lifetime. And then began the reality…The fight for food! Suddenly the trek transforms to a picnic where everyone is sharing their food (all those who got and even those who didn’t) and I almost forgot that the journey downhill is still left! We ate and ate and ate till our food ran out! Special mentions about the cherry at top and the Poha which was magical and it disappeared within moments.
The down hill trek was not as tiring as the up hill. A reason for that could also be my special ability to slide on the bigger rocks rather than stepping down. Yes I had the time of my life sliding down. Again I learnt that on slopes if you wish to walk down, walk sideways… some of it was harder and again had some helping hand whenever needed. And with more breathlessness, chameleons, lizards, snakes, thorny trees and shiny stones, we were again near the base, but the end was the best as I  got  a whole long slant rock to slide back to the ground. And viola! My first trek which seemed almost endless while going up had come to an end and now it seemed rather small and everyone exclaimed that too!

Now my heartbeat had normalized and I was in a state to fight against the politics this time and get the backseat of the auto while back to the PANDAVPURA station. Again group tickets were bought for the way back home and a feedback session was grilled out of us not to forget we were bribed with 7UP ! On the way back we got a spacious compartment for the entire GANG and lazily played the ever favourite dumb charades with some hilarious movie names! And then come the Bangalore station which marks the official end of the awesome trek but the beginning of my passion for trekking. 

Written By      : Palak Lekhadia
Photo Credits : Amol, Prasanna, Premal, Suresh
Organized By  : Ankit
Date of event  : 31st July, 2016
Place               : Kunti Betta
Members         : 15
Pictures          : BTC FB Page

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