A trip to Kurinjal peak @ Kudremukh by PGPEM students
On Friday, 31st August, 20 PGPEM alumni returned to their Alma mater, IIM Bangalore. Some came from different cities, and many traveled from the far-away lands of Whitefield. This reunion was the beginning of two fun-filled days and a fantastic trek. We were headed 300kms west of Bangalore, towards Westerns Ghats to the Kudremukh forest range located in Chikkamaguluru district, Karnataka.
Late at night, we left in a bus filled with eager beavers. We spent most of the night awake, talking, laughing, and catching up. We relaxed and rekindled old memories.
It felt like the bus journey was a trailer to the main trek, the lumbering bus swaying like a drunken monkey on the unevenly muddy roads. We reached a homestay in Mudigere at dawn, our first milestone of this short journey, and our base camp.
As we got off the bus, we saw clouds draped around the hills like a shawl. Locals told us that it had been raining on-and-off for many weeks now. We were longing for some steaming coffee but sweating thinking of the upcoming trek.
In a few hours, everyone was back on the bus leaving for the trek. Around noon, we reached our starting point, and the sun was shining brightly. It was going to be a 15kms trek, with about 7.5kms uphill to the Kurinjal peak and a midway resting point
On a bright and sunny afternoon, we headed out to conquer. In a few minutes, groups (unsupervised clusters) were created based on individual walking pace. Some raced to win, and some strolled in leisure and enjoyment. Midway and a few hours later, suddenly it started raining, and just after drenching us, the rain miraculously stopped! What the Fun!
By this time, most of us had the real taste of trekking. We had leeches dance and parade on our shoes and slowly trying to find the skin. Most of us stopped every two meters to clean these climbing worm-like animals. Few encountered a cobra on the way up but were brave enough to continue. Many were afraid of being left alone and chased by wild animals, so despite feeling tired they pushed to keep themselves closer to a group.
All pain was gone, as we reached the hilltop. White fog surrounded us, and we felt like floating in the clouds. Our hearts were pounding hard, but there was a slight smile on the faces. Few ate their lunch, soaking in the scenery. The descent was fast, and we boarded the bus to return to the homestay.
Music played, and we danced around the bonfire. We connected and exchanged stories. There was even a late night haunted storytelling session.
On Sunday morning, the next day we headed back to the families and life, all rejuvenated and refreshed.
Looking back, it was more than a trek. The triumph of reaching the hilltop enduring a long walk, but also confronting the army of leeches made this conquest worthy. And more satisfying was an opportunity to come together. Few hours to disconnect from the daily rut, to refresh, reach-out and connect despite that busy life. And now we have a fresh set of amazing memories to cherish.
Thanks to everyone who helped organize this trip. Thanks to everyone who made it to the journey, as without you there wouldn’t have been one.
WaaaaaoooooW! No more Pakaaaaaooooow! Signing-off!
Parveen Sharma, PGPEM Student (https://www.linkedin.com/in/parveensharma/)