With 2014 coming to an end, something different was planned within the cousins group and it was decided that we would go for a trek/camp considering that majority of the people hadn't experienced trekking and camping in the wilderness. After researching over the net came across this nature camp "package" offered by Sharavathi Nature Trails (aka Sampath Kumar, http://sharavathi.blogspot.in/) which promised us lot of things such as island camping, boating in the backwaters of the Sharavathi river, trekking etc.
|Jog Falls Enroute|
So all 7 of boarded the overnight bus to Sagar from where the local taxi would pic us up. From Sagar the lodging place was around 25kms near Talaguppa and this lodging (Camp Tiger Rock) is situated in middle of an forest with some great bird eyes view of the backwaters. The plan for day 1 included driving to spot from where we would be able to indulge in activities such as kayaking/canoeing/coracle rides etc and camping for the night in an island formed by these backwaters. So after having a good breakfast and travelling for nearly 2 hrs we were let into the quient banks of the backwaters and were provided with the safety equipment such as life jackets. Just then when everyone asked where would the water activities be conducted, we were informed by our guide that it has been cancelled because a DFO was visiting on this particular day and the organizers expected us to spend the entire day just playing in water and without even having a basic courtesy of informing us in advance. Anyway we made the best of the moment having a good time in the group, playing in water. Floating around lifelessly in perfectly still water with eyes closed almost felt life floating in space :), an awesome experience.
For lunch we were taken to a local tribal home wherein they had prepared a simple lunch of rice, sambhar , papad, pickle etc and we gulped it down within no time. We returned back to the lodge/resort , had some fun around a bonfire and some of us slept in tents to get a feel of sleeping in one. Just then it dawned upon me that it has been exactly 5 years since I went for my first camping trip in Kemmangundi :).
The plan for the next day was to trek to a viewpoint from the resort from where the entire backwaters can be seen and to catch the sunrise. This viewpoint is around 45 mins climb from the resort and it was a decent climb. But unfortunately by the time we got up and ready, the sun was already up and we still trekked to the viewpoint. The view from the top was breathtaking with an birds eye view of the huge expanse of the Sharavathi backwaters and the various tiny islands dotting them. Spent some time at this place absorbing the view and after that got down to have our breakfast and then left for the trekking spot for the day which unfortunately was around 3hrs drive from the lodge. The trekking route would take us to Goodanagundi falls and Bellagundi falls view point deep inside the Sharavathi Wildlife sanctuary. The organizers had all got the necessary forest permissions for our entry to this place and surprisingly there were no other team/individual who was trekking on this particular weekend.
|Sharavathi Backwaters Viewpoint|
|Trekking to Goodanagundi falls|
After close to 2 hrs of trekking along the dense jungle flanked by the rivulet we came across Goodanagundi waterfalls, a virgin and an untouched falls. All of us took a shower directly under the soothing water of the falls for some time. Had a simple lunch prepared by our guide and driver and then started the trek towards Bellagundi falls. It was around 3.30 pm and we were already running short on time since we had to catch the 9pm bus back to Bangalore and therefore it hastened our pace to Bellagundi falls viewpoint. Spent just a couple of minutes at this place and we were back on track towards the place where the taxi was parked. Reached there at around 5.30pm , after spending close to 4.5hrs in the wilderness. After this it was a boring journey back and we caught the bus back to Bangalore just in the nick of time, hence bringing down the curtains on our first ever cousins trip :P. Apart from the fiasco with the organizer explained above the guides and resort caretaker were good and provided good care, especially the food throughout the duration of our stay. Therefore we ensured we left a good tip for them :).