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Old 2nd December 2009, 02:24   #1
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Lightbulb 'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...

Ooty seems to be the flavor of the season and this was a trek through the Mukurthi national park which is very close to Ooty. This was done over the weekend of 28th & 29th Nov 09.

Mukurthi National Park is sandwiched between the Mudumalai National Park and the Silent Valley National park.

Wikipedia says:
Quote:
The Mukurthi National Park is a part of Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, India's first International Biosphere Reserve. The Western Ghats, Nilgiri Sub-Cluster (6,000+ km˛), including all of Mukurthi National Park, is under consideration by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee for selection as a World Heritage Site.

The park is characterized by Montane grasslands and shrub lands interspersed with sholas in a high altitude area of high rainfall, subfreezing temperatures and high winds. It is home to an array of endangered wildlife, including the Tiger and Asian Elephant, but its main mammal attraction is the Nilgiri Tahr. The park was previously known as Nilgiri Tahr National Park.
'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-001.jpg


The park is named after the distinctive looking Mukurthi peak, which at 8,379ft is the fourth highest peak in the Nilgiri range.

This 1852 water color painting by a British artist captures the unusual shape of this peak... resembling a pointed nose!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-002.jpg
(Pic courtesy - British Library)

A trek to Mukurthi was on our to-do list for quite a while and our old friend Mr.Chandrashekar coordinated for the permits, logistics and took care of all the ground work. The dates were confirmed and we were quite excited and looking forward to the trip... but it turned out that Sangeetha had to go to New York on an official trip and she had to drop out :(

The group planned to meet up near Majestic Bus stand at around 9pm on Friday evening. I rushed home from office, Sangeetha had already kept my bag packed... a quick dinner and I caught an auto.

Having had a tiring day, I slept through out the journey, waking up only when we were close to Ooty. After getting delayed due to some blocked roads / traffic jams on the ghat sections, we reached Ooty only by around 6.30am on Saturday morning.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-003.jpg


We stopped at the Ooty youth hostel for freshening up and a light breakfast.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-004.jpg


James, the caretaker of the Mukurthi fishing hut, would join us only at around 9.00am, so we had some time to kill.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-005.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-006.jpg


The guys exercising their SLRs with the customary macro pix!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-007.jpg


After James joined us, we went into Ooty town to buy some provisions. Ooty town is quite commercialized, crowded, noisy & polluted. Here is a typical scene, complete with a garbage truck, the milling crowds, haphazardly parked vehicles... and a cop screaming at the top of his voice!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-008.jpg


But there are quite a few areas in around the town which are quite picturesque...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-009.jpg


Shopping completed, we headed off towards the Porthimund dam from where our trek would begin. On the outskirts of Ooty, we found mountains alright... mountains of garbage that is.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-010.jpg


Bad roads... really bad roads!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-011.jpg


After about an hour, we reached the Porthimund dam.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-012.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-013.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-015.jpg


A Nilgiri Langur...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-014.jpg


We distributed the provisions between a couple of us to prepare for the long walk ahead...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-017.jpg


Public transport! 5 men on a bike.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-018.jpg


After a chai in the village shop, we started off into the jungle...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-016.jpg


The scenic backwaters of the dam...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-019.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-020.jpg


Progress was sometimes slowed down by the fallen trees...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-021.jpg


And the narrow path through the undergrowth...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-022.jpg


Our first glimpse of the Mukurthi peak - The sharp pointed peak at the distance, right in the middle of the pic...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-023.jpg


Most of the path was through a jeep trail...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-024.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-025.jpg


Found lots of signs that elephants too use this route frequently...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-026.jpg


More flora and fauna...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-027.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-028.jpg


A small waterfall alongside the track; close to the fishing hut...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-029.jpg


The Mukurthi fishing hut. Trust the British to find the most picturesque locations to build a house!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-030.jpg


Contd...
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Old 2nd December 2009, 02:42   #2
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Lightbulb Trek to the Mukurthi Peak

This place was once home to a gentleman named Richard Radcliffe, who was a Vice President of the Nilgiri Wildlife & Environmental Association...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-031.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-032.jpg


Very basic accommodation, with 5 beds in total; and the rest of the gang would have to sleep in the hall in their sleeping bags...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-033.jpg


James set about preparing lunch...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-034.jpg


Post lunch we headed down towards the lake...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-035.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-036.jpg


A stream that feeds into the lake...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-037.jpg


Crystal clear...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-038.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-039.jpg


A group photo...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-040.jpg


A mushroom...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-041.jpg


A mirror image...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-042.jpg


We walked alongside the lake for quite a while, taking pics while the sun was going down...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-043.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-044.jpg


And the moon came up...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-045.jpg


Skipping stones across the lake...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-046.jpg


As the daylight slowly faded away, we decided to head back to the hut...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-047.jpg


Had a simple but hot & tasty dinner and by around 8.00pm we were ready to bed down for the day. Some of the braver souls decided to try sleeping outside!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-048.jpg


By around 9.00pm the temperature had fallen so low that even the water in the taps was painfully cold. It was quite comforting to sit next to the fireplace in the living room...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-049.jpg


It was 9.30pm and I finally tucked into my sleeping bag. At around 10.30pm I was woken up by sounds of the guys who were sleeping outside rushing back inside since the temperatures outside were unbearably cold!

We were up at 5.00am, freshened up, had a light breakfast and headed out at 6.45am...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-050.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-051.jpg


The night temperatures must have fallen to around 4 degrees or less, since there was ground frost all around. Even at around 7.30am it was cold enough to keep the frost intact.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-052.jpg


A frozen spider and its web...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-053.jpg


We could catch occasional glimpses of our destination. The sharp peak is quite unmistakable...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-054.jpg


Defreezing back to life...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-055.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-056.jpg


There were patches of wooded areas...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-057.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-058.jpg


The ground continued to remain frozen wherever there was no direct sunlight...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-059.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-060.jpg


Contd...
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Old 2nd December 2009, 02:56   #3
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Lightbulb Trek to Mukurthi Peak

Ice on my shoes!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-061.jpg


A caterpillar...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-062.jpg


Mukurthi was still quite a long way to go. Took this pic with some zoom...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-063.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-065.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-066.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-067.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-068.jpg


Came across these pug marks near a stream. Took pics with my watch next to them to provide a scale...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-069.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-070.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-071.jpg


Through the grasslands...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-072.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-073.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-074.jpg


Closer to the peak...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-075.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-076.jpg


A stream coming down through the sholas...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-078.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-079.jpg


The going got steeper and the sun got hotter...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-080.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-081.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-082.jpg


The view got better and better as we gained altitude...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-083.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-084.jpg


While looking at the peak I saw some movement at the distance. Zoomed in to catch a herd of Nilgiri Tahr bounding down from the peak...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-085.jpg


They had heard us approaching from well over a kilometer away and slowly grazed their way away towards the other side of the peak...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-086.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-087.jpg


A rest stop...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-088.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-089.jpg


Contd...
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Old 2nd December 2009, 03:22   #4
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Lightbulb Mukurthi National Park Trek

The rolling hills and the towering mountains...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-090.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-091.jpg


As we made our way up to the peak, the last stretch was quite steep...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-092.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-093.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-094.jpg


Is this why they are called the 'Blue Mountains'?

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-095.jpg


The Mukurthi Lake...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-096.jpg


We finally reached the peak by around 11.15am!

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-097.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-098.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-099.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-100.jpg


After spending around 45 minutes on the peak, savoring the amazing view all around us, we started our descent...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-101.jpg


A photo that was hanging on the wall in the fishing hut shows three tigers walking along a path at the base of the peak. [Since Tigers are solitary animals, this might be a pic of three almost grown-up cubs that have not yet gone their own separate ways; or might be a composite image from three shots of the same Tiger]

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-102.jpg


What looks like a path is actually a gully cut across the hillside by rain water...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-103.jpg


Another waterfall along the way...

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-104.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-105.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-106.jpg


We reached the hut at around 3.00pm, had lunch and started walking back towards the dam where our vehicle was parked.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-107.jpg


Ok, the last couple of kilometers turned out to be another mini-trek. We were walking alongside James, who asked us if we wanted to take a 'short-cut'. A shorter route it certainly was... but it was again a walk up a hill and through the forest.

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-108.jpg

'Xing'ing around ! - A weekend trek to Mukurthi Peak near Ooty...-109.jpg

Some of us were contemplating whether to stop over Ooty to pick up some home-made chocolates etc. But considering the fact that the Bandipur route would be shut at 9.00pm, we decided to skip the shopping and raced off to cross the check post before it was shut.

Made it across into the Bandipur road with plenty of time to spare, stopped for dinner at Gundlupet, later that night a short stop at the Coffee day on Mysore road and we were back in Bangalore in the wee hours of Monday.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 03:46   #5
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Fantastic !

Do you have name and contact details of the organization which arranges such treks, especially in the Nilgiris?
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Old 2nd December 2009, 10:07   #6
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Loved the photographs - great read as well. The captions made it even more interesting. How much time did the final trek to the peak take? What's the altitude of the peak?
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Old 2nd December 2009, 10:38   #7
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The Road Less Travelled - excellent.

One part of the path seems filled with slush - how did you manage to cross that - I see one person on the border.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 10:42   #8
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Hotstuff, you really amaze me ,after the Andaman and Nicobar trip, this is really beautiful. Lovely photos, gives me memories of time spent there. We had camped near the lake in tents, that was back in 1989( i was in the 9th standard). The place still remains beautiful untouched by the tourism!
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Old 2nd December 2009, 11:07   #9
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Wow!!! Great pics Sanjay. Looks like you had a whale of a time.


I was planning to go to Mukurthy this October, but could not manage to get permissions. I even went to Ooty to talk to the Forest Office there, but could not meet the in-charge person and all others were saying permissions are not given. Let us know what was the procedure you guys took to get permissions.

Btw, I just completed the Parambikulam Tramway trek last weekend, the same day you went to Mukurthy. It was finally off my list after postponing it a few times. Thanks a lot to you & your travelogue for introducing me that place. I loved every moment of it.


EDIT: Even I found pugmarks of an Adult male Tiger on the Tramway trail. Talk about coincidence!!

Last edited by addyhemmige : 2nd December 2009 at 11:10.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 11:08   #10
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Good narration and fantastic photographs.Real hotstuff this is.Blue mountain snaps are good.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 11:21   #11
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Truly majestic ! I am blown away by the photos ! Will forward to others for sure! How did you get to know about the place and arrangements ?
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Old 2nd December 2009, 12:12   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hotstuff View Post
Public transport! 5 men on a bike.
The guy riding it is a cop

This is a fantastic trip log hotstuff. More info on how you got the permissions and the contacts would be highly helpful
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Old 2nd December 2009, 14:22   #13
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Wow, Superb pics and a great location to trek. Specially the picture of reflection of trees in the lake is amazing. Thanks for sharing it with us.
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Old 2nd December 2009, 20:38   #14
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Very nice travelogue!
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Old 2nd December 2009, 20:44   #15
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@hotstuff,
Awesome pics, i liked the one of Makruthi Lake .
Can you please post the details of where to get the permission,etc. I have already started to plan on this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by addyhemmige View Post
Btw, I just completed the Parambikulam Tramway trek last weekend, the same day you went to Mukurthy.
This is one more, which i have been postponing for last 2 years. @addyhemmige, do post your experience with lot of pics.
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