Rebecca Vargese

The 'Fellowship' at  the Wonder Caves.  Photo Credit : P.C.Abraham

The ‘Fellowship’ at the Wonder Caves
Photo Credit : P.C.Abraham

Most of us are easily excited especially when we are to go on a holiday. Daydreams of what might be, the people we might meet and a flurry of various thoughts creates a sense of anticipation in each of us. Now, why wasn’t I feeling it? Probably because, my idea of a holiday was not the same as spending four days on a trip with my brother and his friends. But as a younger sibling, I have learnt not to say no to gifts, clothes and of course an all paid holiday trip.

A four day trip to Wayanad, Ooty and Coonoor that included trekking, rock climbing, biking and rafting indeed seems like a good opportunity to lose a bit of that holiday weight that I had put on baking many batches of Christmas goodies.

Train travels are fun as long as you have a seat of your own but sharing a seat especially when you are trying to fall asleep finds you in an almost lizard like position; you sticking to your half so that the other won’t fall off the seat. Thus ended a train ride to Calicut and began the journey of “The Fellowship of the Sticks.” (Which technically translated to, a group of ‘The Lord of the Rings’ fans armed with trekking sticks.)

Wayanad, a favourite tourist destination has all that one could want for a holiday; endless greenery, fog, mountains; the perfect backdrop for countless pictures. Our first stop was the “Wonder Caves”. Equipped with sticks for the trek into the caves, the 11 of us began the first day of this adventure tour.

Excitable tour guides are hard to please. While every rock looked like an animal to our guide, we could identify a couple of rocks that looked like a dinosaur head, a loaf of bread and even a slipper. On other occasions all one could do was smile and nod. Caves almost pitch dark, a couple of streaks of sunlight coming through and layers of rock formations in the caves brought out the adventurous spirit among the “Fellowship”.

Fish Rock at the Wonder Caves  Photo Credit: Rebecca Vargese

Fish Rock 
Photo Credit: Rebecca Vargese

Most of the fascinating caves would go below 3-4 storeys, sometimes even 10. Though the surface layers of the rocks are cool, they heat up as they go deeper into the earth. As rain drops trickle down these storeys of rocks, they heat up and begin to form steam clouds which rise out of the caves. Next in store was a visit to the Soochipara waterfalls, a trek that lead us almost 2 kilometers downhill, only to find ourselves in a sea of humanity and hope reaching the water a distant dream. The walk back seemed a gruelling task and only the chant of, “Sugarcane juice at the top, Sugarcane juice…” kept us going.

By 7.30 the next morning we were all set to go. Biking, trekking and rafting were what was in store for us. The bike course ran 13 kilometers; through tea plantations, off-road paths and mostly uphill. Cribbing and grudgingly we continued pedalling away at our geared cycles, stopping along the way, gasping for breath, yet trying to race the other. What makes an uphill ride worth your while is the downhill slope. The last three kilometres down a well tarred highway, whizzing past cars, going down bends and able to see of the edge of the hill was what took the cake.

Off our bikes and onto the trekking trail, we trekked a kilometre and finally came to a water body, but this was just the beginning. “The Fellowship” trekked upstream, climbing over rocks and trees, jumping over stones, wading through water and two kilometres later we came to the end of our trail; a small water fall. Lunch and many pictures later we finally headed back to the last portion of the day’s tour; rafting. Guarded by life jackets we took our positions on a bamboo raft and drifted slowly down a stream that resembled the lake from the movie “Anaconda”. While everyone tried their hand at rowing the raft, I sat there enjoying the laziness and the chatter around me.

We thus ended our trip to Wayanad like a bunch of happy campers and off we went to our next destination; Ooty.

Off road biking through the tea plantations  Photo Credit : Babu

Off road biking through the tea plantations
Photo Credit : Babu

Staring outside the window, watching life go by reminds you that nature and new friends sure do have a couple of things in common; they can inspire, they can make you smile and there is certainly more beauty, love, laughter and pictures to come.

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