I just wrapped a magical weekend at Munnar with Tripbae community.
This is a simple journal entry which I plan to revisit a few years from now to relive the magical weekend.
Journey Begins — Bangalore
Pick up was delayed, however, I met some of the other folks travelling to Munnar while I was waiting. It was a group of college boys, interning in Bangalore for their last semester, and their energy and discussions momentarily took me back to my college days (not too long ago). We were supposed to be picked up around 7:20 PM, however, the pickup happened somewhere around 8:30 PM. It was a Traveler car. We were then supposed to assemble at a point and then switch to a better vehicle, may be a bus (sleeper/ semi-sleeper). However, that didn’t happen, and we had to go to Kerala in the same traveler, with our bags on the floor and it was pretty uncomfortable.
Along the way I had a minor cut in my feet, because it was difficult to walk around while getting up and down due of all the bags on the floor, but I was in no mood to let anything spoil my trip, thankfully I had bandaids, and the sceneries along the way were way to serene for anything else to be on my mind. Thankfully I was sitting on a window seat just before sunrise, and the view was mesmerizingly beautiful, and there was this fragrance of freshly cut grass, that you only get in the countryside on a misty morning, and everything seemed perfect. On the way, we literally kept going through misty clouds, and it felt magical!
Unluckily, an elephant had strayed into Munnar and our camping site area, and Section 144 was declared till 4 PM, and we had to wait for further instructions. The overall trip lacked the management prowess that you would expect from an organized trip-group. The trip leads were on their first trip with tripbae, and were not given enough information from the top management, and were clueless as us. We finally made a pit stop at a homestay, and freshened up. 8 people freshening up in a bedroom for two. Then we had breakfast at small local breakfast joint, and started our trip to Eravikulam National Park after having a joint with few folks I met and instantly became friends with.
Eravikulam National Park
Eravikulam National Park was magical -“I am not sure what good I had done in life to deserve such views” magical! It was straight out of a dream, I had scene nothing as serene like ENP. I don’t know if we perfected our timing or what clicked, but we were floating above the clouds. Misty clouds would come towards you and you could feel the mist on your face calming your whole body down. You could look down at the shorter hills through the clouds. The peak was covered in clouds, and felt like a scene out of a video game, only an artist could paint something like this. It was as if Midjourney was asked to paint how heaven would look from earth. I stopped taking pictures and videos and just tried to soak it all in.
A few people gathered and kept pointing towards the peak, one of our tripmates had binoculars, I borrowed them, and finally spotted what it was all about. A Nilgiri Tahr and its baby was strolling around the beautiful peak. It felt surreal to look at them against the heavenly backdrop. And just like that they went behind the bushes. The best views in life are momentary! And I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse!
One day you will visit places that you thought only existed in your dreams.
Night Stay — In for an adventure
After ENP, we were on our way back to our stay. And we were in for a surprise/horror/… umm lets go for adventure. Tripbae had not planned optimally and after hiking down a risky, slippy and muddy trail, we found out that there was no accomodation ready for us. Most of the group lost their mind and there was a lot of arguments going on inside the forest, with nothing but the moon, a bit of drizzle, and us in the forest. For some reason, probably the joints, I was chill and was taking all of this simply as an experience. Things do go south and much of life is about whether you are reactive or responsive. Things have a way of falling into place, and I trusted my insticts enough to find a way out if nothing else worked. But more importantly, we were a huge group with mixed demographic and I knew we would figure something out. The trip leaders were clueless too since Tripbae hadn’t communicated with them properly as well.
We then hiked back up, and waited for a while. Another homestay was prepared, which comprised of tents at Royal Tent Camping (Suryanelli). The tents housed three people, had a 3 inch EPE foam as the mattress. Thankfully the bathrooms were pretty good. But what mattered were the people around us, and when it came to that I had an amazing group of people around me. We were laughing, sharing stories, movie recommendations, listening to music on mini speaker that one of our tripmates was carrying (Best thing about the whole trip, apart from the views and serentiy, and people would be the songs — damn, did I have a great time all weekend thanks to the amazing playlists from 90s Bollywood, to rock and pop, to indie India and what not).
Kolukkumalai Tea Plantation
We wrapped around 3 AM, to wake up again at 6:30 AM for a trip to Kolukkumalai Tea Plantation. We missed out on the sunrise trek due to exhaustion of the night trek (that’s what we call the initial mishap of yesterday nights stay issue). We opted for jeep trek to the top. One of our tripmates had hash oil, and we tried it out at 7:30 AM before starting our trip, and finally after a long time, I was high! The jeep ride to the top was absolutely terrifyingly amazing. Our driver again had the best playlist and we were jamming to 2000’s Bollywood at full volume, as other jeeps kept checking our jeep out. The trail was scary enough to trek or walk on, let alone drive fast like our driver did. And instead of being scared, we enjoyed the hell out of it. I actually slept for a few minutes at times, thanks to the combination of being sleep deprived, high, cooler weather and misty breeze! We then trekked to the top and it was again heaven on earth. Cool misty clouds kept breezing past you, and we were literally walking on clouds, through clouds and towards clouds. It was magnificent, mesmerizing and magical.
Way Back to Bangalore
Finally on our way back, we made our way through Anamalai Tiger Reserve. Zipling, waterfalls, and plans for kayaking were cancelled because of all the issues of last two days. On our way back, we sighted a wild elephant. Then we stopped at a pretty good restaurant for dinner, celebrated the birthday of one of our tripmates. And then had an amazing time dancing and singing at the top of our lungs as we played loud punjabi music on the speaker of the traveler.
Despite so much chaos, everything turned out pretty amazing and I had an absolute amazing time.
“Throw that guidebook away.”
“You are not a tourist. You are a traveler.”
“What’s the difference?”
“A tourist wants to escape life,
a traveler wants to experience it.”
“What’s so bad about trying to escape life?”
“You never know how long life is gonna be,
So why waste it on escape?
Spend it on experience instead.”
Tripbae let us know that we could plan a day trip on Tripbae’s expense because of all the mess that we had to endure, however, the best bit about this for me, is that probably there’s a slim chance that I would get to meet these amazing people again. I still meet some folks that I ran into in Goa, and am planning trips with others. I am planning to meet some of this gang too pretty often too, but to be able to go out with the entire batch again, now that’s a chance that I would love to have!
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