Thoniyamkadu – Muthukora Trekking Day One
It was mid-March. Treks across Kerala were put on hold due to the forest fire accident in Kurangini. I was at my wits end. No events committed neither planned. April first week being my Sons first birthday followed by a much awaited annual leave I was not planning any adventure in between. But Mother Nature has other plans. We cannot deny going when she calls. It all started with a watsapp message. A group of doctors and MBBS students were enquiring for a vacation trip. I had very less options to offer them due to the ban and invariably Irumulachikallu and Thoniyamkadu – Muthukora trek were the only feasible option for the time being. The summer at its peak there was issue with availability of water at Irumulachikallu and team comprised girls also. The chances of Irumulachikallu were ruled out due to these facts. Finally the team also agreed to do the Thoniyamkadu – Muthukora trek. It was finalized for week end of Easter. The ease of doing treks for exclusive groups is that our part of the job is pretty easier as we can liaise with one or two members and all coordinates are pretty simple. The team started from Pondicherry on Friday night so as to reach Yenthayar by Saturday Morning. I reached Manoj’s home by Morning and waited the team to join. They were on time and we started from Yenthayar by 10.30 and reached Elamkadu top to start the trek.
The trail started from Elamkadu initially through the Plantations. The terrain was little steep in the beginning and some of the team members were almost at the wedge of giving up in the initial stretch itself. But we always tried motivating them and they rose up to the occasion and gained pace. After 30 minutes of walk we entered into the revenue land and into the forest area sooner after that. We took intermittent breaks so that the team can catch up with breath. Lot of first timers were there in the team and all this were a new experience to them. The terrain was changing rapidly. Plantations turned into forest and then into rocky patches. The bouldering was difficult for the team as they were not used to such terrains. Some of the team members were extremely good and some first timers really adapted to the changes. But we always had to realign with slow runners.
The forest canopy was thick enough not to allow sunlight to enter inside and we had shade throughout the trek. But crossing the boulders, fallen trees and creepers were challenging. The team gradually gathered momentum and were getting used to the terrain. Once they got the feel of the terrain they started moving fast and our job was easy. As all were mutually known people they helped themselves and motivated the slow ones.
Breaks were inevitable and proved helpful for them. As we started somewhat early we had enough time to cover the distance. We touched the main view points and not to miss places. Team was enjoying the terrain and exertion. It was more or less an overcast day and hence the humidity was not disturbing much. I have traversed this trail 1 year back and didn’t felt many changes there. I could feel the dejavoo at some places like a thought inside that I had been to this place earlier. The significant difference I felt with my earlier expedition in this trail is that it was very wet in my last trek. We could see lot of water falls and stream. Every now and then we had to get into water etc.
Terrain was becoming tougher and tougher. At some points we had to use ropes to climb vertical walls of rocks. It was all very new to the Doctors turned trekkers and they were enjoying it. Manoj’s and Bino’s expertise helped a lot and their knowledge about the terrain was our key for the successful and safe completion of this trek. It was becoming wild. At some places we could hear crickets making noise all of a sudden and we recorded their voice. Large trees were replaced by smaller shrubs and bamboo growths. Safety of the team members were our prime importance and we deliberately skipped some portion of the trek which was more challenging and dangerous. We had a portion to cover in the regular trail wherein we had to cross a rocky ridge through its edges. We took an alternate route instead of taking that way and derisked the danger. By noon we stopped at a place where water is also available for lunch. Team member had lunch and we had an extended break here.
After 45 minutes we started again and this time took a detour into the second half of the trek through thick forest followed the bamboo growths. The trail was very thin and was moving through the edges of a hill. One side was a steep fall and other side was wall. A small slip may cause one to fall full length into the bamboo growth which may turn fatal. We took utmost care to avoid mishaps. One of the team members fainted in between. She was literally drained out of her energy sources. It was her first trek but she really did well for a first timer. We had to take a break there to nurse her to the normal state. Soon she recovered from the dilemma then slowly gathered back her physical and mental strength and continued the trek. We reached the bamboo growth soon. The growth was very thick at some places that we had to squeeze ourselves between the sticks. We had a small photo session there as it was undeniable a location to ignore capturing and proceeding.
After the bamboo covers we headed down and were on the way back to our base camp. The zig zag trail was steep and tricky at some places. The dried fallen leaved made the trail very slippery and most of the team members slipped atleast twice. The descend was equally exerting. As the trail was slippery we took more time to loose altitude. Team members helped mutually to support getting down. We could see a barking deer swifting down the slopes in lightning speed realizing our presence. We could hardly take a look at it and it was way ahead of us in seconds.
We reached the base by 4.30 pm and some of them took a quick dip in the natural pond of the steam. Our Jeeps came in sharp timing and we were picked up and dropped at our camp site at Muthukora. We pitched our tents and the mud house also was ready to occupy for the ladies. The night went well with camp fire and delicious dinner. The team members were awake until midnight and went to sleep very late. I along with Manoj I slept in the temporary shed. The night was calm and comfortable tomorrow we had to trek the Muthukora hills. I was doubtful whether all the team members would join the trek tomorrow. Muthukora trek travelogue will be publishes separately for the ease of publishing.
For arranging trekking similar treks please contact Rakesh @ 9745112411