Ten months ago, a friend of mine told me about a friend of his, Teja Murthy, who had gone trekking with friends and went missing. Teja, I later learnt from team mates, had taken our entire team for Rock climbing the year before I joined, as part of a team building activity. There was a lot of talk about how it was unbelievable that these experts from a group of professional trekkers called ‘Safe Outdoors’ could go missing in the forest. This was a topic of discussion among my friends for a week or so. It was all forgotten until last week an article from the Vijay Times caught my attention. It was titled ‘A Trek to Nowhere’.
After 10 months of agonising wait of their families, the skeletons of Teja and two of his fellow trekkers were found at Aramane Gudda in Shiradi Forest area of the Western Ghats. The three trekkers, Teja Murthy, Vasanth Kumar and Bhaskar Babu parked their Maruti van next to a tea stall at Chamundeshwari temple in Gundya and set out on yet another adventurous trek to explore a new route, not knowing that it would be their last. The police say, heavy rainfall, attack by wild animals ,starvation or improper navigation could have caused the death of the trekkers. The skeletons of the trekkers were identified by the accessories they were wearing and by ATM cards.
The route that the trekkers opted has always been regarded as one of the most difficult places to trek due to the Steep gorges, slippery paths and mist covered ambience that characterise the Aramane Gudda region of the Western Ghats. Some of the most dangerous and hence exciting routes in Karnataka are:
- The Muttodi Forest area.
- The Shiradi Ghat area.
- Kumaraparvata and Narasimhaparvata.
Trekking is one of the main recreational activities that is popular, equally among the young and the old, in Bangalore. Many treks are regularly organised to the famous trek routes time and again. Now, the fun way to spend the weekend or a team building activity can also end in a disaster if the required attention is not paid.
Some of the Dos and Don’ts for Trekkers are :
- Take a permit from the forest department.
- Hire experienced guides.
- Take maps issued by survey organisations.
- Carry plenty of dry fruits and cereals.
- Take first aid for snake or insect bites.
- Take small weapons like pocket knife and machete.
- Avoid taking radio, walkman or any other noisy instrument which could attract wild animals.