Thursday, April 14, 2016

lncrdible Bavalakki Cave with Waterfalls

Early morning of Sunday five of us started our ride from Arun’s house best part of this trip was we were supposed to cover 2 falls and 1 cave. Drive was very smooth on the way we stopped for a while Arun went to the nearby village initially I thought he went to meet his relatives but when he returned his friend also joined our team for guide us. After a short drive we parked our bikes and started our trek through areca plantation. Under the canopy of trees so the sunlight didn’t actually dry them so they were slippery beyond belief. At one point the trail goes through narrow edge on top of the waterfalls.
To reach the cave we had to follow a small stream flowing which led us to the bottom of the cave and actually this stream created 2 stairs of waterfalls next to the cave, the winding path to the right of thick vegetation leads to the base of the second stage of the Bavali falls.
There is 30 feet high waterfall, its bottom covered by a vast pool.  What an incredible sight. A stunning, tranquil Waterfall and cave hidden in a bowl of craggy, jungle covered peak. In front of the waterfall grows a massive and gnarled tree with beautiful red flowers. A colorful fresh water crab skitters away from my foot, shocked at this unwanted intrusion.
This unique geographical area has been eroded away over many years and is now full of narrow ledges snaking out into the densely forested valley. Though the fall was a little disappointing with very little water the place around was simply superb.
Later we stepped into the cave, entrance of the Bavalakki cave is partially covered with a thick hanging carpet of tropical vegetation. The view back out the cave entrance and down the cascading stream is mysteriously beautiful. The view out the entrance to the cave made me feel like I was in a tropical jungle, with the roar of the waterfall and the thick green forest all around.
Just as I am about to crawl deeper down a series of small tunnels I spot the gleaming eyes of several spiders clinging to the moist rock walls. Each is the size of my hand and proudly reigns over a thick cluster of web they appear to be some sort of tarantula and do not look particularly friendly. We spend another hour exploring the gorgeous limestone rock formations. In places we pass solid walls of glittering crystal guarded by exquisite trunk like pillars.
Thousands of bats chirp overhead as we penetrate deeper into the heart of the cave. Exploring the cave in winter may wake the bats from their hibernation, causing them to use up their fat reserves and placing them at risk of dying of starvation.  Exploring the cave in summer may disturb mother bats from nursing their young, who may fall to the cave floor and die.  Spring is the safest time to explore a bat cave because there are plenty of insects for them to eat outside, and they haven’t given birth to their young yet because without bats, all humans would starve to death.
 Our relationship with bats is as important and symbiotic as our relationship with honey bees that pollinate all the crops that we eat, and that we feed to our meat animals.  Bats work on the other side of the equation by eradicating crop pests like grasshoppers.  The bat population of a single cave can devour the equivalent of 18-wheeler truck full of insects in a single night.  From just one cave’s bat population.
There’s not enough bug poison in the world to deal with the kind of insect swarms we’d be dealing with if the bats weren’t there to eat them.  Organic farming would impossible.  And the toxic sprays that would be necessary to keep pests off our crops would pollute our waters, killing many other species, and causing untold human health problems.  So that’s why we should care about bats.  They’re not evil, they don’t attack humans. So the long and short of it is that, without bats all human life perishes.  So don’t explore this cave beyond its entrance. We noticed the very large water snakes on the stream bed.
A winding downer path on thick vegetation led us to the base of the second stage of the Waterfalls. We romanced with cold water sprays. Everyone took bath and enjoyed some time in this place, a wonderful soul stirring experience under a waterfall. It truly is a breathtaking place. Best of all we have it all to ourselves very few travelers make it to this corner and although this is likely to change I feel very lucky to be here.
We whole heartily thanked Arun and his family members for the hospitality, soon after having our lunch we back packed and started our ride back. In the end we were only left with loads of memories to cherish.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Muktihole Waterfalls

There are many beautiful natural places and things to venture in this world among them the waterfalls. It seems people are naturally drawn to water, falling from soaring cliffs or dropping in short bursts among a river’s edge. Trying to find a waterfall can be an adventure in itself and when you arrive there you are rewarded with a majestic beauty of nature.
There are few Waterfalls in Western Ghats that can qualify as a true winter trek. The Muktihole is one of them situated in an area that received rainfall for about 8 months a year. The tranquil Surroundings, gurgling streams, crystal clear water, rolling green hills, dense forests and full moon night will blow you off your feet on fantasy world.
 The weather was quite hot and humid with occasional breeze, we 16members team started our trek, 2 of my local friends also joined our team to lead us. The trail begins next to the Hirebailu bus stop, through the village and into the woods. We started venturing into the thick rain forest with a slow ascent.
The areca plantations, impressive hill ranges and green scenery is outstanding. The thick cover of vegetation provides adequate shade and keeps you cool. After about 30 minutes of ascending through the woods journey becomes a little more difficult. The terrain becomes steeper heavy load on us made us get exhausted very quickly.
After walking through the forest for an hour, we finally took right deviation into the valley the further forested trail going inside the dense forest. We were walking on a mountain range overlooking a valley in which Muktihole river was flowing. The section from here onwards is a steep downer climb of over 1.5km into the valley and by 12 pm we reached to pristine river. The beauty of the place hits you the moment once you step in to the river.
 Most of us wanted to take rest after an hour long descent so we decided to get ourselves relaxed a bit. Many couldn’t resist the beautiful clear and cold water and jumped into the stream. The water was so cold. Can you imagine a beautiful, pristine surrounding with a nice wading stream to dip in, we had nice bath and we finished lunch on these rocks.
 Continuing from here, another 15minutes walk through the stream which was flowing with good speed and we had to find a suitable place to crossover. We were able to cross it with reasonable ease using sticks for support. The journey seemed endless and we finally arrived a flat rocky terrain which surrounded with vast pond, stream and forest.
The view from here of the entire valley is really a treat to the eyes, as you can see clear waters of Muktihole, with its several twists and turns flowing down. This place is so serene and peaceful that we decided to setup camp right there.
We unloaded our backpacks had nice tea and continued our journey. The last 3o minutes of the trek have multiple boulders along the bank to negotiate. The walk along the stream itself will be a memorable experience.
One the way we witnessed similar type of ecology comprising the fauna and flora- flowers, shrubs, mushrooms, dead trees. As along our way it was evident that the Mukthihole was truly acting as a flawless mirror in this so far unadulterated and untainted space on planet earth.
Overwhelmed with the splendid beauty of surroundings we continued and after continues walk still not reached the exact base of the falls and hence ventured into the forests to decent view of the falls. It is located in such a place covered with dense forest towards its approach that it is not visible at every point on the approach path.
At 5 PM we reached another rocky clearance from where we had to decent view of the falls. Proceeding further along the boulders way our grand view of the full height of the falls eventually gives way to just the lower waterfall as the views of the upper waterfall become blocked.
The waterfall drops in five major stages. The first three stages, which is said to plunge around 200ft. Since the falls faces out towards a wide open valley, it also happens to be one of the toughest waterfalls to both see and access. Just the fact that it was a long and tiring hike with some serious elevation gain made us appreciate just how beautiful Muktihole really was!
What makes this falls unique is that it’s shaped like a curtain of waters falling from umbrella like rock formations. Since the water is separated by several rocks, the water drop is not that strong compared to other waterfalls. But that’s the beauty of it. It’s different from other waterfalls.
One can reach to the level from where you can see the three stages of the fall but to see all the five series of the fall, you may have to climb higher and tread difficult terrain. We decided to end the quest here since the path ahead to the ultimate level of the falls was difficult and it was already well past sunset.
It was almost dark by the time we reached back the camp, we had refreshing dip in the cool mountain water and spent some time playing cards enjoyed campfire and had dinner and slept after a long adventurous day.
This is probably one of the favorite vantage point for photographing Mukthihole Falls. That's because we were able to see the falls reflected in the huge pond.
It was a good plateau area and we were right in the base, of mist covered mountains. The sound of stream next to us was amazing, full Moon welcomed us soon. Her glow was serving us at this picturesque camp. The Moon at a hand’s distance and looming large was accompanied by Milky Way in the background and devoid of any clouds. You simply can’t ask more for a better view from the Mother Nature. Mother Nature grants us her blessing on this night have been written.
 We were all relaxed after having slept adequately in a comfortable environment in lap of Mother Nature. It was a chilly however the hot cup of coffee and noodles for breakfast made our spirit come alive. The Sky was blue without a single spec of cloud. The sun felt warm and relieving. We started for our trek immediately after breakfast. We had to take frequent breaks, leaving behind the river course, we started climbing the ascent way the climb was steep and steady. With the knees and the toes exhausted by the continuous ascent.
 On the way back, it took two hours for us back at village. It was not just about the falls, but this also turned out to be good trek worth remembering. This waterfall has special place in my heart and lots of fond memories remained here that I love to reminisce.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Abballi Waterfalls

Abballi waterfalls was long time dream but the call had to come from the Mother Nature and yes there was the beaconing to the mountains and it was time for me to pack my bags. Some kind of urge for adventure into the wild made me to plan a trek to an unknown destination a totally wild and new place in Uttarakannada district.
An Abballi waterfall is a less known water body is situated on Uttarakannada district; it is a four tiered waterfall plunging down from a height of around 200feet into the valley to create a magnificent sight. We humans feel truly blessed to witness such artistic creations of Mother Nature. Away from the human eye Abballi found its habitat in a very secluded place inside a deep forest.
My three friends, brother Prashanth, local villager and his boys and I started our hike through Areca plants and paddy fields. The waterfalls could be seen from the village road the approach to it was complicated through forests farm fields and waterways. After 15minutes walk soon we encountered a milky blue trickling stream.
This was the beginning of trek; as we continued up the trail, the volume of water multiplied, and eventually we immediately changed into our suits and followed the stream, along the way we saw lots of beautiful mossy creek scenes and wild flowers as we got closer I could hear the roaring waterfall in the distance and my heart started beating faster.
We reached first stage of the cascade. First stage is not much attractive after taking some pictures then we proceeded to the upper part. We then continued our hike to the second stage of the falls scramble up a path with no trail. We all had to hang on to trees, weeds and branches to climb up. Finally we hear the sound of waterfall from far. The lush green cover all around made us nostalgic it was pure air that we were inhaling that tickled our senses too. As we hurried towards the main falls, we were captivated by the beauty of a spot and just couldn’t move ahead.
The climb was a fairly hard made our way through dense forests, being bitten by numerous blood sucking leeches, chartering through the rocky terrain, climbing uphill and sliding downhill, treading on non-existent paths a real adventure in real life. With the aquamarine water and riparian vegetation backed by the green walls, this was the most colourful landscape I had ever seen. The roaring sound of the falls which created fumes all over were relaxes my body and soul.
After 30 minutes break again we began hiking, this time the trail will get even steeper. Finally crawling up a steep mountain, holding on to wet rocks, trees, whatever we could find we finally made it to reach 3rd stage of the waterfalls. The sight is just so amazing, as the drizzling water pecks you on your cheek. Such a modern way to welcome guests! When you climb up to get a top view of the falls, you will feel captivated with a panoramic view.
Finally a complete adventure in an unknown unexplored wilderness, everyone has his or her own concept of adventure.  An adventure can be something as simple as spending an afternoon hiking a local trail or going on that bike ride that you’ve been thinking about. Really all that matters is that you get out there and live.
Now months later, I’m still glowing from our experience: getting out into nature, hanging with friends, working up a sweat and swimming in waterfalls. To me this is the ultimate definition of adventure. The Trek was enticing and challenging, and the breathtaking waterfall and natural formations made this hike most memorable for me.