Third trek by ourselves - but only to the extent of choosing the place and transport. Don't remember who suggested, but we got to know about jungle lodges maintained as part of KSTDC. The site has gone through lot of changes now. As we wanted to do a day trek, we chose Bheemeshwari - a fishing and nature camp set amidst the river Cauvery near Muttathi.
The biggest trouble was contact numbers were misleading and one needed to know Kannada to talk to officials. One of our colleague did eventually speak and got verbal assurance of booking for the event but no stay. The current page lists the activities as - Trekking, Coracle ride, Bird-watching, Mountain Biking, Zip line, Parallel/Rope walk, Rafting and Kayaking. There are different packages and different tariffs plus some taxes. We were mainly interested in trekking and coracle ride (at that time, trek was mentioned as including coracle ride and the path to be circular one to avoid trekking same path twice) and avoid having to stay at the camp, thus allowing it to be just one-day event.
We hired a tempo traveler, got details from colleague but eventually were cheated around 500 bucks :D Meeting point was outside our office at RMZ infinity and started around 6:30AM instead of original plan of 6AM. The event proved ice breaker for new joinees and camaraderie improved too :) The distance to Bheemeshwari is about 110 km. On the way, some slept and for a while "Neethane En Ponvasantham" songs CD was played in a loop (thanks to Praveen). We had breakfast at Hotel Sri Srinivas Sagar, which is just before a state highway diverges from NH 209. The food was good but had to wait a bit due to crowd. NH 209 is popular amongst cyclists and an alternate route to reach Mysore. Lots of hills and lakes and ponds can be seen on both sides of the road.
After bit of hiccup through village roads, we finally reached Bheemeshwari at around 10AM. Not before we made oft repeated mistake (got to know later) of confusion between two-three different camps here. We had to sign on entering the camp and ran into immediate problem - we had no written proof or online communication to show that we had got permission earlier itself for the trek. And none amongst 12 of us knew Kannada. We managed to give the phone number we had and after some waiting near the office, got confirmation to trek. I think we paid Rs 300 per head for the trek (no coracle ride though). Another 50 bucks for lunch which eventually proved a wise choice - we were thinking of finishing the trek and immediately leaving.
Group photo to start trek
Trees on the wayAround 10:15AM, we started the trek after customary group photo. The weather was cloudy and pleasant. We had to cross a small pit to reach the wide trek path which seemed well used and surrounded both sides with generous spread of trees. We came across new and old trees, some only stumps and some like a withered old human. Within 10 minutes though, path became narrow and then we reached a small hill with bit of steep grassy climb to follow. While organizing for the trek, it was informed to be a very easy trek and so some first timers found the climb tough.
As we climbed higher, we took frequent rest to allow everyone to catch up, take snaps for profile pic and capture nature's beauty - mountains far and near and glimpses of Cauvery river. With rising altitude, the view got better and better. Despite having been to western ghats, the scenery here was captivating, perhaps enhanced by clouds.
Watch tower at top of hill
Half an hour's climb (including breaks) got us to top of hill where there was a two storey high watch tower. Just trees and hills all around us with river flowing to our right. Few patches of red sand showed up and we tried to estimate where we had started from. We started the descent from other side after about 15 minutes of rest and more snaps. I shared some guavas. Looking back, I should have encouraged lot of snacks to have been carried that day. But then, we were misguided by KSTDC website and lunch wouldn't have tasted so good ;)
Descent was more of grassy landscape, some more dead and new trees and some thorny ones too. It got humid by then as well. Another 15 minutes and we were at rocky shores of Cauvery. We dipped our feet for some well earned rest and spent lot of time playing by crossing stones set in water and reaching some far ones inside flowing water. A team passed by us rafting. Some birds on far side of river. The 20s something guide stood alone in woods, so it was good to see Sri talking to him.
Rafting - some other group
Though reluctant, we started back to camp after about 40 minutes. The path was all along the shores instead of going back the way we had come. So, after all, some part of the statement in website was true. But the path was trickier all the same, having to negotiate rocks and branches. Somehow, throughout the trek, it became two groups - one leading in the front and having to wait lot of times for our back group to catch up.
On the way back to camp
Our motive was to enjoy most and obviously lots of photo shoots held us up too. The dead leaves, new off shoots, butterflies, weird thorns with very thick cylindrical base, wild fruits, trees bent and leaning on river, trees with hole big enough for us to crawl in, lone young tree bending with river's flow, large and small boulders, mirror effect of still pond with dead tree trunk lying, stick on rock in middle of flowing river, trying to capture water splash when stone is thrown, uprooted tree trunk's diameter taller than us, two tall and large trees joined to form table to sit, sandy river bed with pebbles strewn around, our own profile pics, etc - uff endless pictures to take!!
Serene relaxing after all the trek
Some fun before leaving
In less than an hour, we reached back the camp. After waiting besides the river on useful benches and steps, we had our lunch - it was very simple but simply too fulfilling for our hunger. We relaxed for a bit after that - just sitting by the river, chit-chatting and capturing squirrel, butterfly, bird, dragonfly, etc. And then one by one started taking turns to swing - normal seater, tyre ones and one having just a sturdy stick. There was a hammock too, but we didn't actually sleep.
Around 1:50pm, we left the camp. Along the way, we stopped at a place to further explore river, but it was too dirty from all the cooking going on from villagers. And so, we continued to Bangalore. Most of them slept. We took Nice road to avoid traffic which cost us more. All in all, a nice outing. Could have been lot better if we could have communicated well with officials, but KSTDC is definitely a decent service and could improve - like they have already done with website and contact details :)
On the way back to Bangalore