Friday, January 15, 2010

Parambikulam Wildlife Sanctuary Trek

Parambikulam wildlife sanctuary was the setting for 2 day trek / stay in the forests with cousins. With my brother Vishnu's return to India after 1.5 years, the 2 day break was a great bonding / thrilling / interesting experience for all of us.

Stats from the trek into the forest.

Most of the trek was on flat terrain, except for day 2. The steep incline can be seen from this map. Thanks to my garmin , for the stats :)

Route we followed : Coimbatore - Pollachi - Top Slip - Parambikulam. Except for 10-12 km just before top slip, the rest of the roads were in top condition, especially, the road between top slip and parambikulam.

Vishnu and Niranjan on the long straight section on the hills.

At a place we stopped by to have lunch..

Car parked, it is time to head into the forest...

Went past this dam, a km into the trek...

On our way to the forest stay..

Scenic, wooded pathway .. had elephant dung all over the route

It was an easy stroll all the way - the guide kept enthralling us with the stories of the forest

Tiger's pug mark that we came across , on the trek - apparently,28 tigers are found in the Parambikulam sanctuary. The place we were staying at night, was in the home territory of 2 tigers.

The Samba deer that we spotted on our trek in..

A massive tree that was on the way ..

Some more deer on the grasslands..

In front of the place we stayed at night - 6 km into the forest.

The view from the house...

Stay at the house was the scarriest experience in a long time - as the night enveloped all around us, with the guide taking us through the stories of the forest, we got increasingly nervous about staying outside the house.

With every movement around us being keenly observed by us, the wild cat droppings from the top of the tree was enough to get us running inside the house :)

With the doors closed tight, we had our dinner ( cooked by the guide , at a place with basic facilities ) and we resigned for the night.

Crossing a river, early next day, to reach a grassland..

We then returned to the base and drove 15 km to the parambikulam dam, to start the trek on day 2. We set out to climb the peak seen below , enveloped by the clouds ..

Thick wooded route -

There was thick vegetation all over and it was quite steep, going up the mountain ..

That was the steepest section - all of us struggling to go up...!!

A wild elephant had passed though this bush!!

And more climb!! There were leeches all over the place !!

Vishnu "skating" down - it was the best option given the steep inclines! All of us were struggling for foothold and stability. Coming downhill took almost twice the time of going uphill.

A leech on Ram - we burned the leech ( and his leg! )

Jam in the tubes came in very handy!!

More deer that we spotted on our drive back to the base camp.

This was the most thrilling moment during the entire trek - it was worth all the money and more. Vishnu was at the wheels and when we took a turn, we came right in front of a wild elephant crossing the road. After taking a few steps to cross the road, the elephant stopped and came charging at us.

I was sitting next to driver's seat and my heart almost skipped a few beats. Vishnu kept his cool and kept the car still. He switched to reverse but kept the car still / idle. Elephant took a long, hard look at us. That was probably the longest / scariest 5 minutes!!! No lights / flashes or anything to distract the elephant

Elephant slowly decided to move on - took a few steps to cross the road and waited to see our reaction. We stood still and the elephant moved into the forest and we went our way...

An awesome 2 day break - i hope to return to this place again and explore more. Next time, we will spot the tiger :)

Friday, January 01, 2010

My Sports Plans - 2010

Probably, the only part of my plan that i can talk openly :)

  1. 35 km running per week
  2. A sub 2 hour half marathon
  3. 1 full marathon
  4. Improvement in flexibility and strength
  5. Cycle more – errands / in city commute, as much as possible
  6. No 2 days without an activity – Run / Cycle / Frisbee / Cricket / Yoga
  7. Cricket – Play atleast 1 tournament with RnW. Improve bowling accuracy and bat longer innings
  8. Frisbee – Play atleast 1 tournament with Chakraa. Learn to handle
  9. Atleast 2 days of yoga, per week
I believe this is possible. Wish me luck :)

My 2009

My 2009 ( in no particular order ... )

  1. BITS2Marathon – An idea we ( Vignesh in UK , Mahesh in US and Me in India ) discussed over a skype call in September 2009 , took off really well. The group organised the 1st ever BITS 5K Run for the BITS community ( ). Over 250 BITSians are a part of this group,currently. None of us quite planned for this at the start of 2009. BITS2Marathon was a happy surprise of 2010 :) . Hope the BITS 5K Run will be a ‘Tradition’ / yearly activity and inspires many to take up running / stay fit.
  2. Deepam has had a special 2009 - Lots of people have now stepped in and are contributing, truly a collective effort. Felt really happy when the 2009 childrens day celebration at Deepam was a success , with *NO* contribution from me :)
  3. Deepam library project getting off the blocks , Deepam UK / KC / PUD centre functioning in a steady way , New centre additions , Improved visibility for Deepam through social media, Partnerships with other organisations and many more at Deepam. India Today mention is a recognition of collective contribution
  4. Chennai Heat 2009 win – Enjoyed playing this Ultimate Frisbee Tourney with Chakraa ( ). The 1st tournament victory for Chakraa. Also helped in my “ 1st strike”.
  5. Couldn't have asked for a better personal life in 2009 :) - The 'dip in the ocean' has been fun. The swim should start soon :)
  6. Probably the best B'Day party i've had in my life, so far !!!! Thanks to some fantastic pals who came over and made the day very special
  7. Watched so many movies in 2009, "hindi ones" especially ;) and enjoyed the road trips to Vedanthangal and the ones in December. Also, i always seem to have a new dress to wear for every occasion. Influences ;)
  8. BITS 30 Under 30 award was a bonus :) - I've done more work / got more recognition from BITS, after i graduated from BITS, than during my times there :)
  9. RunsnWickets has become quite active. Team is gelling really well and i've quite enjoyed the NETS / Matches with the team in 2009. Though we lost a series in 2009, i expect 2010 to be much better , enjoyable year at Runs n Wickets. Personally, i'm more 'aware' of my bowling / batting. Can't wait for a series to start in 2010.
  10. Ran / finished 2 half-marathons, officially. No Marathons in 2009. But i am happy i learnt a few tricks - now i know the areas to work on / know a bit about my running, especially the technical aspect of my running. Earlier, i was shooting in the dark. This awareness , hopefully, should be helpful in 2010
  11. Enjoyed the interactions i've had with the college students through the NEN Entrepreneurship interaction series. Met / spoke with 100's of students at colleges in Chennai. Hope to see atleast some of the students, taking the entrepreneurship plunge
  12. Work has been on the 'slower' side in 2009. 2008 was a much better year for me, professionally. But, if the signs in the last 2 months are an indication, 2010 should be an interesting year.
Oh, if i have missed out something, feel free to refresh my memory ... :)

Thanks and have a fantastic 2010.