Early morning, at 5:45 AM, we reached Subramanya. A jeep drive to the temple (12kms for Rs250), hunt for a descent room, negotiating one for Rs225, a quick freshening up, amazingly quick visit to temple which was least crowded at the early hour of dawn and a good breakfast got us ready to start our trek. The distance to the peak is 13kms, Mantappa- 8kms, Bhatra house – 6Kms. I called Bhatru (9448647947) and placed a lunch order for 8.
At 9 AM we started our ascent. Within few minutes we got our first warning, a man running all the way back and all he had to say is – “Leeches, beware of leeches, they are plenty.” Well, all I could think of was this was the best trek to overcome my leech phobia. :-) Back in 8th standard, when I trekked mountain Valikunja near Karkala, I had brought back home swollen leeches and bleeding foot, which left a mental block in me, against the species. But now with few encounters, I am perfectly out of the mental block; my funda- keep walking, don’t stop near damp areas and wear shorts to spot them clearly , in spite of that if you have a bite, come-on it’s just a little blood. :-)
In few more minutes, another group was returning with same warning. But it did not bother us since we had expected leeches anyways and had some snuff along with us to sedate them – Blood or snuff? Who gets to win? :-) On the way, we met several groups. A group of men aged around early 50’s with their big tummies where (physically) spread all over the rocks, drinking alcohol and were fascinated by their recent discovery that without any luggage they could climb easily. Another group had a very jovial person who greeted everyone with a smile and invited us for a chat. We named him CM for his idea to improve the trail with better roads if he would become a chief minister.