The excitement of a fresh beginning, a pitch-dark track bordered by shrubs reaching waist height, slippery slopes, and a friendly group of individuals are all part of the experience. In the end, “you’ll never know if you never try.” One such experience was the night hike from Bengaluru to Uttari Betta, popularly known as Hutridurga, which was one of my favorite memories. True to the remark, I had no idea that night treks could be so much fun while yet being quite frightening at the same time.
Night of many firsts
I would have never known about it if it hadn’t been for this expedition. In a similar vein, I would have never guessed that I enjoyed trek guiding as much as I did trekking, or that I enjoyed staying up all night when I was doing something interesting. That was the case that night. It was a night of many firsts and, as predicted, a lot of enjoyment. In the end, it all started with my saying yes to something new yet again, this time for the opportunity to guide a group up to the summit of Uttari Betta from Bengaluru at NIGHT.
Throughout this voyage, I learnt how to overcome my own worries while also guiding others to a destination, which was nothing short of thrilling. A true journey from darkness to light, which unfortunately takes place during a night hike.
Embark on this journey with us! We’re on our way to Uttari Betta.
We boarded the bus at HSR, like we had done for all of our earlier trips with Plan The Unplanned. We made a quick pit stop at Domlur to pick up a few more folks before making a final pit stop at Mekhri Circle to pick up the rest of the group. That afternoon, I was reading up on interpersonal interactions for a class I was teaching. I discovered that we frequently utilize our work as a protective shell to express what we truly desire or want. According to my prior trips, more and more people come to the realization that what they are doing is not what they had intended to do.
So I came up with the idea of asking people to introduce themselves without identifying their occupations or positions. And boy, did it get folks thinking, and then they opened up with fantastic introductions as a result of what I said. It was extremely inspiring to observe what everyone in our immediate vicinity does to keep themselves occupied. To make matters worse, practically the whole party was making their first excursion. Well, it was my first as well, but this time as a trek leader.Journey From Bangalore
Our attention was diverted by the introductions, but the driver couldn’t give a damn about them. He kept his foot firmly on the accelerator pedal as he drove. It was as a result of this that the distance between Uttari Betta and Bengaluru trembled with fear and was shortened to just one furlong. By 1:40 a.m., we had made our way through the dark roads beyond Magadi and arrived at the basecamp. I rose from my seat and turned to face the rest of the group.
Is it better for us to stay or should we leave?
Surprisingly, everyone remained alert and alert. It’s not like I’d be asleep by that time on a typical day (or night), but today is different. Today, more than any other day, I needed to be fully alert. So, despite the fact that the initial plan was to sleep at the base camp and begin the trek at around 4 a.mThings didn’t go as planned. However, everyone was so enthused that they were unable to sleep. Additionally, rousing someone up at that hour of the morning can be difficult to accomplish (even more for a newbie trek lead like yours truly).
So I went around asking others whether they were interested in starting the hike straight now. Everyone nodded their heads in agreement. After that, we hurriedly disembarked the vehicle and sat in a circle to listen to some cryptic instructions. I stated that it would be dark (as if people couldn’t see) and potentially dangerous (obvious!). Let us not rush to the top; let us instead work together as a team. Those were possibly the only rational words I could voice (this is one line that I continued to use in all the treks I lead thereafter).
Some Pep talks
And with that, the pep talk was over, and we began walking. Trailhead is located in the middle of a community, and there was an opportunity to take a left at the point where the streetlights stopped working. However, we were fortunate in that most of us had torches. And so we started strolling down that path, completely oblivious to what was going on in the space outside the area illuminated by the torches.
Uttari Betta’s Royal Entrance is depicted here.
After a few minutes of walking, we came to another fork in the road. An unmarked T-junction in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by complete darkness. After making a right turn, we came across a massive boulder. It was someone up ahead who flashed a light over the boulder, causing it to fall into an entryway. Suddenly, all of those horror films when the hero flashes the torch on a door and something crawls out of it flashed before my very own ears and eyes.
But I didn’t tell anyone about it since I was embarrassed. Yes, that’s the way, I yelled, gesticulating toward the gleaming entryway. A quick recap was held at the door, and then it was time for us to make our move into the building. More specifically, I’d like to make a move inside the front door of the building. I clasped the torch in my fist and took a few tentative steps towards the front door of the building. The rest of the group followed me. I told myself to take it one stride at a time before sprinting out of the door on the other side of the room. The rest of the group followed me.
We were greeted by another steep rock as soon as we entered the entryway. However, because it reflected so nicely off of the moonlight, we had no issue scaling it up at all. On the cliff, we were blown away by the brisk breeze. I looked around to see if everyone was doing OK on the ascent. However, something else took my attention away from the task at hand.