Guest blogger Andy Damant here! I’m just back from a weeks trekking with the ever so lucky to have me Tango 6, here’s a run down of what we got up to:
We left field base at 06.00 for the two-day journey south into Kerala. Of course, we made regular chai, cake and ice cream stops and spent the night in Munnar to break the journey up.
Day two meant more travel by bus to reach the Silent Valley base camp aka the start of the Misapulimala Trek.
The moment we stepped off the bus the rain began! Spirits remained high though and we completed the 4km walk to camp in just over an hour. With darkness fast approaching we set about erecting tents as the guides made a huge fire for us to huddle round and dry off. Unfortunately, during the night one of the ladies tents gave up against the wind and rain and was swiftly abandoned for hard cover!
The day started as the last had ended, heavy rain and even stronger winds! We set off at 05.30 to conquer Misapulimala herself; in English this translates to Tiger Moustache Mountain due to the shape of the ridgeline.
At 2638 meters high (8654ft), Misapulimala is southern India’s second highest peak, the scenery is staggering. As we descended, we passed through the worlds highest organic tea plantations and of course, we stopped for chai! We were so cold we ordered 36 cups between the 12 of us!
The group learnt to fend for themselves on what turned out to be a brilliant survival day. They learnt how to get drinking water from their own urine and how to make cold water from a water bottle and a sock for use in hot climates. Then with Suthakar on cooking duty the group ate like kings and queens, the menu was veg and chicken curry topped off with a sponge cake, yum yum.
The first dry day and a very welcome blue sky as we headed down to the lake for a spot of rafting. The rafts took about 2 hours to put together and thankfully kept us afloat! Once on the far side we cut the rafts apart and trekked on to our lakeside campsite, talk about room with a view.
Another great day trekking through cardamom, tea and coffee plantations with some stunning views of Shantanpara.
Sadly I had to say goodbye to Tango 6 and head back to field base to take care of logistics. The group were excitedly preparing for another long climb, safe in the knowledge that day 8 was a scheduled rest day!
That’s all from me, I really enjoyed my time with Tango 6... Stay tuned for more updates from the other groups.