Oct 4, 2008

A day at Sathodi Falls

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A trip planned by - Archana, Haseena, Ajay, Mahesh, Preeti, Roopa, Shilpa, Shweta, Ushalata, Vani, Vidya, Vijayalaxmi, Yasmeen and me.
We assembled at my uncle Prof. A R Desai’s (Hangarki) place. For such a group, everybody was on time, even the vehicle (Trax Cruiser). We started off on our journey at 6.15AM. Everybody in good spirits.
On the highway connecting Hubli and Ankola, heading towards Yellapura, we saw the sun rise to our left, painting the sky around it with crimson and gold. Haseena and Vani started singing (which is a must for journeys)... followed by Anthyakshari – more and more songs. We reached Yellapur and then realized that we over-shot the turn to Sathodi Falls. (Vidya was grumbling that we are not paying attention to the road and we might end up else where)
We turned off the highway towards Sathodi Falls. A narrow road with trees on both sides. As we drove further, the jungle was getting thicker... We passed through a hamlet. Here ends the good roads. Now it was a narrow, winding, dusty dirt track through the jungle.
According to the information from people with whom we had inquired, we were supposed to trek 6 kilometers, one way, with bags laden with food & water. We were prepared for the walk.
At one point, I felt we might be close to the falls, may be within 6kms. I was hungry and asked to stop for breakfast. As usual, ladies opposed... one of the ladies. But I insisted that we stop and have breakfast. At the next turn, we stopped... of course against few ladies' will. As we got off the Cruiser, we realized that we had stopped a very nice spot indeed.
Bed-sheets spread out on the ground, Vidya, Shilpa and Haseena got to make sandwiches while I helped them get things from the bags. I could not find the tomatoes! I was really worried about facing the ladies wrath for being careless! Later we got the tomatoes. What a relief! But I got fired for not getting enough bread!!
By now the four cameras (two digital and two mobile phones) had got busy.

We went on a short adventure climb... all of us. These girls were quite brave to climb through a narrow, slippery dirt path on the edge... one wrong step or slip, the next point of contact with the ground would be 25 feet below.
We decided to move on... packed and stuffed everything into the Cruiser. We decided to trek down to the falls. Talking, cracking jokes, singing, shouting, shooting pictures, throwing stones... most of us had become kids for the day.
We saw tall trees, wonderful flowers, a buffalo (some girls thought it was a wild one), dry stream beds, young tender leaves, bright red wild berries, a beam of sun light through a gap in a tree, bamboo... We picked up stones, pebbles, fallen leaves, sticks, flowers...

As we walked through the jungle, we saw a huge water body just next to our path... a reservoir formed by the dam across Kali river. We climbed down slope and spent some time next to the water. Started pitching stones on the water. That was new to so many! Shot few group pictures.

The weather was humid and getting warmer. We reached a point beyond which no vehicle could pass... Cruiser waiting for us. The falls was just another kilometer from here. We could hear it. We took our bags now and headed to the waters and falls. Vidya, Shilpa and I were the last ones to reach the falls.
The clear fresh water felt cool on the feet. I washed my face and wet my hair. It felt great! The girls had found a good place in the stream to sit in the water. They looked so relaxed. The stream bed was scattered with huge rocks and boulders.
I saw Ajay and Mahesh exploring their way to the falls... trying to get as close as possible. Finding a way through the rocks and water was fun. Hungry!!!

Lunch; so many types of food!! Chapathi, salad, peas, brinjal, lady's finger, a sweet, fried rice, curd rice... the list goes on. I had a heavy meal. And slept off.
This time round, except for Shilpa, all of us went real close to the falls. We spent some time admiring the beauty of the falls, the pond at the foot of the falls, rock formation... We pitched more stones on the water. Vani learned to pitch and was excited about it.

On the walk back, we stopped for tea. As we waited for tea to be prepared, I was attracted by the beach like look of the stream bank and I decided to go down take a look at the place. Shilpa joined me.
We walked on the dry, cracked stream bed... it was still wet and spongy at spots. A little further towards the stream, the bed looked like quick sand. I took few pictures. Ajay and Mahesh joined us. We found some paw prints... belonging to the cat family.
The sun was going down, giving us long shadows. That gave me an idea to shoot pictures of Shilpa, Ajay and Mahesh with their shadows. It was fun!!

Except for Haseena, everybody joined us on the stream bed. More shadows...
What a wonderful day!!!


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