|Signs of triumph|
Pushpagiri aka Kumara Parvatha. A breath-taking challenge of 5617-ft. height in the Western ghats of Karnataka. One of the toughest treks of South India. A total distance of 22 km by foot up and down the peak. Two days and a night at the top. Thirteen men. What a start it was to 2014!
The most-debated topic in our terrace conversations over the last few months was where to celebrate the coming new year. Several options from Besant Nagar to Andaman were contemplated and pushed aside in cycles for want of better ideas. We looked for something fresh and challenging. That is when a friend first floated the idea of Kumara Parvatha. He had tried in vain earlier in December 2012 with another social circle to ascend this peak. Unfortunately, their cool adventure turned soggy in incessant rains and irritating leech-bites, forcing them to return midway. The idea tickled our taste and then we actively marketed the trek among the extended circle of friends. You convince A by saying that B comes to the trek and convince B by saying the vice-versa and in a matter of days, the trip was scheduled and all arrangements were finalized. Not all of us are trek enthusiasts or hunks-by-physique. It was to be a story of amateur Jack and Jill trekkers going up the hill, risking a few falls, rolls and trolls. Nevertheless, we were ready!
The internet blessed us with more than adequate information for prompt planning. People approach the hill from two directions. Somwarpete and Kukke are two towns at either end of the peak. The distance by road going around the hill to connect the towns is about 60 km. If you take a casual stroll on the peak and get down at the other side, it is just 22 km! Kukke is a reasonably livelier town that Somwarpete. It has a famous Subramanya temple to add to its portfolio too. Trekkers can choose to start from Somwarpete and get down at the Kukke side or to do a to-and-fro from Kukke. We chose the former. For later, it should never bother us that we did not experience the other side of the mountain.