An Adventure in the Western Ghats

Exploring the great outdoors is something we all love doing. While most of us do it with the help of vehicles, Human Powered Endeavours took a completely different approach to exploration with their weekend ride and trek to Ajjikunj peak. Ajjikunj is an extremely picturesque hill in the Western Ghats.

Participating in the ride required the members to fit certain criteria. All participants had to fit these criteria since they would be cycling for 100 kilometres and trekking for sixteen kilometres throughout the course of the day.

The entourage included Prof. Ganesh Nayak, who took the picture.

As a prerequisite for the ride, the candidates attended a bicycle maintenance workshop, and were hosted by St. Anthony’s cycle works in Udupi on the 27th of October.  The workshop was carried out by the owner, Mr. Reagan Silva. He covered everything from basic upkeep and cleanliness of bicycles to major repairs a cyclist may face on a ride.

After adhering to all prerequisites and cycling consistently for the weeks preceding the ride, the participants geared up to start their ride at 6 am on the 4th of November.

The ride to the base took two hours, with the entourage arriving at the village at 8 am, having stopped for breakfast at Ajekar.

They started the trek at 9 am, after meeting their guide and keeping their cycles at a villager’s house. The trek was extremely challenging since the vegetation was extremely thick due to the extended rainfall this year. HPE were the first ones to do it this season. They came across a lot of leeches, spiders, and even spotted a Malabar Pit Viper, one of the most poisonous snakes in the Ghats. After coming across a stream and freshening up, they continued on their way. The thick cover meant that it was very easy to get lost, but after cutting their way through bushes, they could see the peak engulfed in thick clouds. The route after was extremely tough as it had a lot of grass and extremely steep slopes with gradients of up to 60%.

Getting back down was no easy task either, with loose and slippery rocks and the lack of water since everyone had emptied their bottles. They refreshed themselves at the same stream and started again after getting some rest. After reaching the base and thanking the guides and the villagers for their help, they started cycling back. Being on their feet for 16 kilometres made the participants hungry and they stopped for a quick bite before continuing. Riding back under the starry night sky is described as magical by Anish Pai, the President of Human Powered Endeavours. The lack of light pollution and thick clouds meant the sky looked extremely mesmerising. The entourage reached Manipal at Around 8 pm.

This was HPE’s first trek and they hope to hold many more in the coming semester.

Written by: Salekha Reddy for MTTN

Picture Courtesy – Prof. Ganesh Nayak (instagram.com/ganeshabybike) and Anish Pai

Image editing credits – Ateeq Rafiq

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