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Saturday, April 23, 2016

Makalidurga Night Trek

When the temperature in Bangalore refuses to reduce, the only way out for the trekking enthusiasts is to go on night treks. This time with my friends from French class and the summit we chose to conquer was Makalidurga. We were 10 to start with but few hours before the trek 4 of them dropped off. So, in two cars, we set off towards Yelahanka. Mir and I met Manohar at Yelahanka, where he lives. Dipali and two of her friends, Anusha and Kapil met us there. Thanks to our friend Aman for lending his car! At Yelahanka, around 11:30 in the night, we struggled to find a petrol bunk that was open. We searched for several kilometres and finally found one. That search seemed like forever though. We had another stop for some tea before we finally headed towards the hill base near Doddabalpura. 

By the time we reached Makalidurga base, it was 2:30AM. The reason I chose Makalidurga for this trek was that the route is well mapped on Google maps, including the trekking trail (Type Makalidurga Trek Trail). Considering that for everyone else except me, this was their first night trek, I wanted to be safe and avoid any unnecessary adventures. Moreover, I had been here once before, during daytime though.  There were two cars parked at the base hinting the presence of another group at the summit. Thanks to few previous trekkers who have marked directions on rocks, there was less possibility of getting lost. We followed the mark and took sufficient breaks to enjoy the night sky and the cool breeze. Conversing in French was a bonus on this trek. we reached the summit at around 4:30AM. There was a light green snake at the fort entrance to welcome us. I was about to set my foot on it when I saw it. It froze for a while when I pointed the light on it and then moved away. 

Listening to Mir’s hilarious narration of some the events from his childhood, the time just flew. We were rolling over the floor laughing at the monkey and nipple story. So thanks to him sleep was driven away and we witnessed the sky gradually turn brighter. Sunrise was beautiful and it was time for some pictures and selfies. There is a railway track running next to the hill and the summit presents an amazing view of the trains swirling on the tracks.






We met two other groups who had trekked during the night as well. While, we were heading back, two more groups were climbing. The descent was not very hard either. The lush fields and orchards in the villages below looked magnificent and a few peacocks screamed from the bushes. Before the sun could get higher up on the sky and burn us all, we were at the base. 





We stopped at Doddablapura for some breakfast and parted ways. It was an interesting trek filled with some great conversations; specially between Mir, Manohar and I, we discussed a lot of topics during our drive. By the end of this trip all of us had conquered one or the other fear we might have had. Fear of darkness, of bears, ghosts or snakes; fear of trusting, of accidents, of strangers or of taking risks with people. That is what I like about such adventures. You always return back losing one or more of your fears that has been clinging on to you for God knows how long. 

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