Saturday, August 9, 2008

Driving in the darkness - From Kemmanagundi to Chikkamagaluru

Our official driver, Mr. Shrikanth had viral fever and the Doctor advised him to take rest with a course of antibiotics and some paracetamol. This is the blessing in disguise to me!!! From past 3 nights, I was asking Shrikanth to allow me to drive in the high altitudes of Bababudan hill ranges and he denied every time. But today, I finally made him to take rest in the lodge where we were stationed, and started off with Mr. Dinesh of ZSI, Calicut and our evergreen hero from Kumta, Mr. Vishnu D Mukri at around 3:00pm. We have Mahindra CL 550 from the Department, a vehicle suitable for two, but we carry as many as 6-8 in it.

I took the road that leads to Bababudan hills. This possibly the oldest hill formation in south India (of Archean type) making a semi-circle attachment to the long standing Western Ghats. We were at Attigundi at around 4:00pm and had a nice cup of tea and kodbale from hotel Bismilla! Rain started as we started moving up, at K. Kindi, where we cut across the Ghats and move to the other side of the hill range, the breeze was too heavy and fog reduced the visibility to just 2/3meters. This is just amazing and I have no words to explain apart from few snaps. I felt the whole stretch to be very romantic, especially for the chill, breeze, fog and greenary. Simultaneously, it was seeking my knowledge on geology, vegetation and faunal components.

By 8:00pm, I really had tough time in driving. Heavy rain, plus fog and added to it are potholes, for every one hole, three are free. Thanks to Mr. Dinesh, for regularly cleaning the glass for me and to Mr. Vishnu for constantly telling me that a guy is sitting behind. We reached Chikkamagaluru by 10:00pm via Lingadahalli. More on the field visit in the next blog.

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