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Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Long Weekend Getaway: Part 4: Agumbe: Barkana Falls Trek


The next stop after the Jogi Gundi Falls was the rain forest trek to the nearby Barkana Falls, which is formed by the Sita River gushing down - one of the highest falls in the country - in the top ten to be precise - a curtain raiser before we went to the big Jog Falls itself. The auto driver Ashok took us a couple of kilometers further from Jogi Gundi Falls, and brought a "Guide", a local student who was happy enough to help us navigate through the forest to reach the falls. We were supposed to walk from there through the dense forest, to reach the destination. With incessant rains throughout the last month or so, the path was soggy throughout, and there were leeches, quite a lot of them, welcoming us gleefully. The choice of wearing the shoes instead of slippers for the trip (for the three of us, Thomas, Karthik and myself) was vindicated / looked foolish, depending on how you wanted to look at it.

There were enough warnings at the Dodda Mane about leeches at Barkana Falls and the precautions to be taken. They had guided us to preparing a mixture of castor oil and snuff, which is supposed to act as a deterrent for leeches (or "Anti-leech Solution", as Thomas preferred to call it). We applied it on our hands and legs before we started off on the trek with the guide, which also meant that we had very little opportunity to take more pictures as we progressed, with hands all dirty, smelly, and us needing to be on out toes (quite literally) to avoid leeches climbing on us.

There was that other group of four too, who had come well prepared with shoes tailor made for treks in rainy forests. But in the end, as we found out, all of us were in the same catch 22 situation when it came to leeches climbing onto us, and the anti-leech solution ended up becoming the postprocess suffocator for the leeches more than the preprocess deterrent it was supposed to be. (I sincerely apologize for the software developer language in this paragraph, but I seriously felt like sticking it in there, especially as this was about "sticky" leeches, and in any case, it is better than the management lingo like "heads up" which I pondered using for the word "warning" in the previous paragraph. Anyway, let us get back on track...)

So, we braved the leeches (towards the end of the onward journey, we were so frustrated at the sight of leeches that we threw caution to the wind and started ripping them out from their stronghold on our shoes and legs instead of being careful - it worked like a charm in most cases) and reached the "view point" for the Barkana Falls, only to realize that the whole area was covered in mist and we could barely see the person standing next to us. Heavy rains pounded for half an hour again, we braved more leech attacks, and then got the glimpse of the Barkana Falls far away from the view point through the clearing mist. The picture that was definitely worth taking all the pain of hiking in the slippery rainy forest removing leeches. The valley was filled with greenery everywhere, and although we could not be close to the water like in Jogi Gundi, the effort put in to reach this blissful place, and the elegant falls far away signifying the beauty of nature, made us forget everything and take in the sights, sounds and the fresh air for about an hour's time, before we headed back to the village.

Here are some photographs of the Barkana leg:

The starting point of the trek. Looked quite a simple walk in the park here.

We were surrounded by forests and mist as we proceeded further...

And we had to cross these streams regularly, this, the starting point for leeches

The view point when we reached there. The Falls must be there somewhere...

The path looks so serene when not raining, and when you blank out the leeches from the mind

The first glimpse of the Barkana Falls

And in full bloom...

The valley full of greenery

Folks drenched in rain, posing in front of the Barkana Falls "view"

Lush paddy fields back at the village


1 comment:

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