Friday, April 26, 2013
Trek to Haddina Bare Peak
Haddina Bare is nestling in the heart of the Western Ghats, where the grass remains greenish and the trees do not shed their leaves even in the harshest of summers which is in cool clean mountain air some 700 meters above the sea level. As the sun climbs higher with summers onward march stepping outside an air conditioned environment is almost unbearable. So here's a brilliant option for the adventurous soul in search of cooler climes and beautiful vistas.
We started fairly early in the morning from Agumbe so that we can sight wild animals and birds. There were absolutely no one around and enjoyed the peace and quiet. But we could hear the sounds of nature - wind, leaves, some creatures moving around. The initial trail passes through thick evergreen forests, meadows and mountain passes which offering an incredible array of biodiversity to appreciate. Actual our plan was to cover Haddinbare, Meenagundi and Karadigudda in a day time but our senior guide said its not possible to cover all the three places in a day time so we chose to take the Haddinbaare first. There were neat jeep track half track it was fun and a workout. The first 3kms are the casual easy walk throughout the fine jeep track but the minute we crossed the stream it turned grotesque and deep chested inside the woody.
It was an absolute treat to our ears. Our hike was made even more special when we entered in more deep. Our 4½ hours hike winds through evergreen forests, the stunning Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary Trails allow access to different parts in pristine, community owned evergreen forests.
I got excited because I encountered many spiderwebs and spiders everywhere! spider's web that spanned the width of the walkway. I stopped and turned around and went another way I didn't want to disturb the web and destroy one of Mother Natures most beautiful food-catchers. I really felt bad about wrecking all of the spiders hard work and meticulous attention to detail and symmetry. Spiders build intricate webs of various kinds to trap their prey and wait in the web. Some wait outside the web! Some just lay a small single line trap. Some others just jump around and catch their prey! They are simply ingenious!!
On few places we were facing the sun and could see the iridescent shimmer of the thousands of webs. Almost all spiders spin silk. Spider silk is a fibrous protein. On the abdomen are located the spinnerets, used in secreting silk. While I knew that spiders spin webs to entrap their prey, I known that some spiders live in silk-lined burrows and leap out to capture passing insects.
Some lie in ambush on plants, tree bark on the ground or under stones. Others are hunters that go in search of their prey. Most spiders are lone predators. They live for about a year or so. Most spiders can inject venom to protect themselves or to kill and liquefy prey. The bite of some spiders are dangerous to humans. Spiders feed on live prey, digest them outside and suck in the fluid. Spiders are the largest group of predators in the world!
Gaint Wood Spider is a Large Spider. Huge webs made by these spiders and it is very colorful and large spider. Many we saw had only seven legs. I read that spiders do give away a limb or two in order to save themselves! Large webs built next to each other by these spiders made a huge canopy about 6 to20 feet above the road below. The internet has a plethora of information on any subject so also spiders. I did some browsing and soon found myself finding names and information on the spiders I was shooting.
The grandness of this hike is that much of the trail is in the shade of covered woods. Walking through forest and shade is very pleasing and less exhausting. The entire area is full of thick evergreen forests and therefore totally devoid of grasses. We completed hike in 5 hours stretchy walk.
A continuous breeze caresses the skin and brings relief from the heat and dust of the plains. And the pretty, green and undulating landscape uplifts the spirit like nothing else can. The highest point of Haddinabaare, which gifts an uninterrupted view of rolling hills in three directions. It's almost too much to take in at first. Below the clouds, waves of ridges line up one after other as far as the eye can see, their colors changing from lush green to a gentle blue until they blend completely with the horizon.
We had our individual pack food and rested for few more time on top. Few years back on top of the Haddinabare a wireless network with a repeater was established but its destroyed by the Naxalites and hence not working condition. We took some snaps on top and headed back with different shorten root.
The sanctuary consists of tropical evergreen, semi evergreen and moist mixed deciduous forests rich green clothing to the slopes of the Western Ghats. Machilus Macrantha, Lophopetalum wightianum and Artocarpus hirsuta are some of the species of flora found in this sanctuary. Mammals in the Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary include Tiger, Leopard, Wild Dog, Jungle cat, Wild Pig, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Common otter, Wild Dog, Jackal, Gaur, Barking Deer, Lion Tailed Macaque, Bonnet Macaque, Palms Civet and Common Langur. Reptiles are represented by King Cobra, Python and Monitor lizard. Someshwara Wildlife sanctuary also houses some interesting birds like Malabar trogon, Ceylon frog mouth, Malabar pied horn-bill and Malabar whistling thrush.
Spotted deer, Mouse deer, Barking deer (Muntjac is timid and shy animal), Sambar, Gaur, wild boar, Indian Hare, Langur, Lion tailed macaque (This is an endangered primate found only in dense evergreen forests of mid western ghats and It is found in groups of 5 to 10. They are reported from the Agumbe Ghats and Balmane section The Lion tailed macaque population in Someshwara WS is the only largest viable population among the protected areas.) King Kobra are found all over the sanctuary. Jackals are the chief scavengers of the sanctuary. Seethanadi, Golihole and some of the other big streams form the aquatic habitat of the sanctuary. They contain the rare Mahasheer fish and otters. Gaint squirrel is an arboreal mammal normally restricted to the relatively undisturbed areas of the forests. Flying squirrel, Land monitor lizard, Tortoises also occur in the sanctuary. Cane turtle a rare species, which is on the verge of extinct, is seen rarely.
The sanctuary covers western slopes of Western Ghats. Terrain is hilly and very undulating. Ghat forests are principally of gneiss composition interspersed occasionally by quartzite, mica-schist and granite, out crops of which, occur in long stretches along the sharp edges of the ghats. Upper reaches of ghats, which form eastern boundary of the sanctuary consist predominantly of rock precipices and are completely inaccessible from Agumbe up to a place called Hosaghatta, a distance of 10 kms. These rock cliffs are very steep and exposed over long stretches. Wild plantain and grass slips are nested in them.
Weather is cooler during monsoon and up to December. It becomes increasingly hot and sultry from January onwards till the onset of southwest monsoons. Due to the proximity to sea, the diurnal changes in temperature are low and extremes never occur. Climate is humid and warm throughout the year because of the proximity to sea. In the ghats and foothills, weather is usually misty during the early hours of the day. Trees are very tall and majestic. Crowns are narrow. The boles and trunks are swathed by a mat of mosses, orchids, ferns etc. Someshwara Wildlife Sanctuary is home to a wide range of wild animals generally found in South India.
Bird life is plentiful here and the avian denizens of the forest put on a splendid show. On the drive to the sanctuary, you can spot restless babblers, flocks of oriental white-eyes in search of flowers and scarlet minivets whose crimson plumage stands out brightly amid the greenery. Bea eaters scout for dragonflies, suddenly darting to catch them mid-flight and then returning to their perches with their prized catch trapped in their beaks.
The sanctuary has a good population of a variety of birds typical to the western ghats of Karnataka. Avifauna found in the Sanctuary include Jungle myna, Peafowl, Common fowl, Common myna, Red vented bulbul, Little cormorant, Cattle egret, Little egret, Black drongo, Jungle crow, Crow pheasant, White cheeked bulbul, Brahminy kite, Grey jungle fowl, Pea fowl, White breasted water hen, Red wattled lapwinger, Spotted dove, Bluerock pigeon, White breasted king fisher, Malabar gray hornbill, Great Indian Hornbill, Golden backed threetoed wood pecker, Scarlet minicret, Ashy swallow shrike, Paradise fly catcher, Magpie robin, Taylor bird, Purple sunbird, White backed munia, Golden oriole.
On return I spent few time in nearby huge lake which adjoins Agumbe village is a 10-minute away from the town and catches the flow from the nearby hills to form a large reservoir. Its deep, placid waters reflect the greenery of the surroundings in surprisingly vivid detail, its beauty further enhanced by the last golden rays of the sun as it goes over the undulating hills. Here we spent quiet in meditative evening at this picturesque lake, a perfect antidote to the end of the day's exploration.
Location:UDUPI Agumbe, Karnataka, India
I documents my visits to lesser known places in Soth India. It documents places nestled deep in the beauty of the Western Ghats and historical monuments.