This is a continuation of a previous post. Read day 1 experiences in the post titled: Trek to Ettina Bhuja and Ombattu Gudda – Day 1 experiences.
So with the experience from day 1, our spirits were low. Our guide who had been in this place for more than 20 years, didn’t know the exact route. People rarely visit Ombattu Gudda and of the people who do, most go via Gundya, and hardly anyone ever does both Ettina Bhuja and Ombattu Gudda together.
So we decided to take a slightly shorter path than the one which was decided earlier.
We started off early in the morning. We went towards Bhairaveshwara temple and met some local people and asked them for the route. The routes here are usually forest landmarks and needless to say there are no other signs. We started moving towards one of the hills as per the instructions of a person we met on the way. We were out of water and we had decided to fill up on the way. This, in hindsight was a bad decision – and in future I will always remember to always keep my bottles full whenever I come across a water source. It is a tradeoff – more the water, heavier the rucksack, but I guess it is better to be with water than without.
We asked the guide if he is aware of any water source on the way – we were noticing small streams of water as we walked – so he said there should be a bigger stream somewhere on top, so we decided to continue. When we started climbing the hill, we decided to take some water from a small stream there, just in case we don’t find a larger source further up. The water was very slow moving. We had chlorine tablets – so we decided to use them and fill up our bottles. This in hindsight was a really good decision as we would be without water for the next 10km until we reached Lakshmi Estate.
We also had some quick breakfast to recharge our batteries since we had a steep climb ahead. The climb was the steepest in the entire trip – but it was quite short. As we finished this, we could see the legendary jeep track that most people know of (who have done this trek). The scene from here was really good – there were hills on all sides and of varying sizes. The jeep track that we see in the shot below is what we had to take and the place where it disappears is somewhere were Ombattu Gudda summit would be.
As you can see, there are hardly any trees on the way and it was extremely hot and humid and we had limited supply of water. We started following the jeep track.
You think that on day 2, since we have a lesser stock of food, it will be less treacherous – but you are wrong. You have all the tiredness from day 1 and so that compensates the decrease in weight.
As we moved towards what we thought was the summit, the guide was still clueless as to how much of the distance was remaining. The water stock was very low – we hardly had a liter of water per person. Suddenly I noticed that my phone had signal – so we decided to call a person who could help us out. We described our current position and I am not sure if he misunderstood our position, but he said that we were in the wrong path. He asked us to retreat back 1km and take an alternate path. We decided to do that and realized that the alternate path was a dead-end. At this point, we lost hope – it would be extremely dangerous to continue with no hope of finding water and not knowing how much of the distance remains. The guide also seemed exhausted. So we took the decision to retreat.
We had to go about 7km back to Lakshmi estate – I found this very tough because of the heat and the humidity. I also twisted my ankle a couple of times because of the heavy rucksack and the uneven roads. We were exhausted by the time we reached Lakshmi estate. We drank as much water as we could and rested for a while. We realized that we were just a km away from the summit. 🙁
The people at Lakshmi estate agreed to cook food for us. Meanwhile, we wanted to have a bath and what is a better place than a small waterfall nearby! It was a heavenly experience after all the things we had been through. Post that, we had a wonderful meal and rested a bit more.
We then had to go another few kilometers to the gate where our driver was to pick us up. When we sighted the Tempo Traveler we were shouting – it was a sigh of relief that all went well and we were heading home!