Monday, 25 January 2010

Dawn Hike

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India; October 23rd; Day 32; Munnar

We are up at 5pm to set off on our early morning hike. It’s just me and keith and a guide. It;s about a 13km jeep ride back to the pass where we came over yesterday and we are dropped off just as the sun begins to rise. I’m a bit disappointed as I would have liked to have been on the top when the sun began to rise. No matter it’s good to about.

Trek: 4hrs 5mins starting at 6.10
Low: 1784 at 10.15
High: 2281 at 7.46
Descent: 6181m
Ascent: 498

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It takes about 2 hours to reach the top as the sun comes over the ranges behind us. The path is quite clear though we have to scramble up some bare rock faces at times. They are not too steep. Although it’s hazy the views are good all round.

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At the top our guide produces a flask of coffee, some egg sandwiches and some fruit and we sit in the sun having our breakfast. It’s unfortunate that we have to descend the way we had come but now that the sun is up I am diverted by the many butterflies and dragonflies about. There are also plenty of interesting wild flowers about and we are told that this is quite an unusual micro-climate and ecosystem up here. Whilst at the top we are surprised to see a troop of monkeys clambering over the rocks/ We are also privileged to see the Nilgiri Tahr which is endemic to this area. It’s a type of mountain goat a bit like the European Ibex.

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The descent is very pleasant in the warm sunshine and we take our time. When we reach our starting point our guide telephones for the jeep and whilst we are waiting we walk down the road towards Munnar and enjoy the views over the tea plantations. In retrospect I think we could have walked all the way home through the tea,. But we didn’t and arrived back at the hostel about 11.

We strolled into town to try and get a second breakfast but we didn’t have much luck and ended up having scrambled eggs in a fancy hotel.

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As has become customary we whiled the afternoon reading and tried not to start on the Kingfishers too early. We would be leaving Kerala tomorrow and entering Tamil Nadu. This meant that our Kerala Lonely Planet was useless. Fortunately Keith was able to lift an old guide book to South India from the hostels library!

We went to the same place for dinner as it didn’t seem worth the effort to try and find somewhere else. The food here is good anyway even if it’s always chicken.