I had some new plans in my mind. It was to give the people who accompanies me for the trek a new experience and differentiate the events from normal trek and camps. It is something which is not done by anyone now in Kerala now and hence it was challenging. The thought has to be developed and things to be formulated. My first task was to find out a place where we can do a pilot run for this activity and do the trail. Yenthayar and adjacent areas seemed a good option to me and I wanted to discuss the same with Manoj Sir. Just called him up and fixed the very next week end for that. He was ready at the very thought. I didn’t wanted to discuss this in a confined place. I wanted to free my thoughts so that I can get the maximum result and output out of that thought.
On the decided date I started from Kuravilangadu and drove towards Yenthayar which is at a distance of 60 km. I started by dawn so that I can reach there fairly early. I wanted to get the cloud formation at Yenthayar which I missed in last two visits as I was late. As expected I could get that view from Kaipally to Yenthayar route. It was a heavenly view and I spend some quality time there till the clouds got dissolved into the rays of the rising sun. By 7.30 I reached Manoj’s house and he was also ready. Had a hot tea from his home and started in an auto to reach Vembala which is the base of the trek.
I could get my first pretty close view of the Kozhipoovan mala which I wanted to scale for a long time now. I was realizing that it was not as easy as it seems from Irumulachikallu. The terrain is pretty rugged and difficult. The gradient which is could see on the way to Vembala was very rough and difficult but Manoj was still pretty confident that it can be done. A peculiar “Manoj Attitude”. We reached a place where a large tree was the end of the road and from there we had to take steps.
No sooner than we started walking I could hear the sound of flowing water. As it was raining for the past few days there was considerable amount of flow in the stream and that caused concern and joy at the same time. We were not sure how far we could traverse through the river if the water flow is high, at the same time the real beauty of the place gets revealed in the rainy season only as it is a river trekking. We soon reached the river. Unlike the streams of Urumbikkara or Thoniyamkadu this one was really wide and wild.
The course of the river which we supposed to take was full of boulders and there were deep pools which cannot be walked over. In Pappani River trekking there is no much deep pools on the way and hence can be easily passed over. It was turning a bit difficult to keep balance in the slippery rocks with camera in one hand and back pack. This is a place where we would require both hands free for balancing and supporting. But I could manage. Manoj lead the way into the trail. There were no inhabitants close to this and hence the wilderness was clearly visible. We covered some really wild places. At some points we had to deviate from the river course into the banks of the river to avoid deep pools.
The flora was lush green due to the recent rain and depicted the untapped image. As it was only two of us we marched fast covering more distance without much stops and intervals. There were still places where I could not stop myself from stopping to capture the beauty of nature in my mind first and then into the lenses. It was exactly bouldering which we were doing for the chunk portion of the first stretch.
Carefully we criss-crossed and zig-zaged the stream many a times. The day was not sunny as it was in the previous days and I feared it would rain though it didn’t. Rocks were enormous in size some of them were as big as out houses and some ones bigger than that. All this contributed to the challenges. Small and medium falls were all over and I wanted to get a dip in each pool there, but at the same time wanted to cover the maximum distance. So I parked the pools aside and moved further along the course of the river.
Rocks were really tricky and slippery at some points but we managed to safeguard ourselves. Small and medium falls were becoming bigger and wilder. We were unable to reach their bases due to deep pools. Dangerous pools and steep rocks were there at some points. Remnants of the last rainy season landslides were all over. Scary at some places. Couldn’t even imagine the events considering the debris washed down from the hill tops.
Enormous rocks and mud washed ashore the stream from hill tops and were even blocking the way of the flow at some narrow places. By noon the sky become somewhat clear and it was sunny. I Could see the blue sky margined by the distant view Irumulachikallu into the horizon. It was almost impossible a task to complete the trail at this pace and this climate. Yet again we wanted to move as further as we can.
We moved further down the river. Deviating from the course at some points were it was very difficult to traverse through the river. Got some beautiful views of many falls and landscapes. Finally we ended our journey at a relatively high falls and decided to return after the lunch. We only had enough time to get back to the civilization. We carried food items which we could cook easily. It took roughly an hour to prepare the food and have it. After that I took and dip in the falls and took rest for 20 minutes.
It was 3 pm by that time and sky started to darken and there was a small drizzling. We could deduce that it is not wise to stay back further as if it is rains, it would be difficult for us to get back to the civilization in time. We took a deviation from the river course and managed to get into some trails which were used by earlier inhabitants. Following the trail for about 2 hours we reached road where we got mobile signal. We called up for a jeep and waited there. I have exhausted the energy levels by that time but still was belligerent to take a few more turns. Luckily our jeep came in 20 minutes or so and I reached Manoj’s home back by 6.30.
I was planning to stay back at his farm house and hence we straight away went to Muthukora. On the way we gathered some chicken and rice which we prepared there for the night. We discussed about our plans and gave it a rough outline. Some more ground works has to be done before going live and we formulated that also. Went to sleep late at night. Early morning I woke up to the chirrups of birds. As it was a working day I had to reach Cochin. Started from there without wasting time biding good bye to Manoj.