22nd July, 2016: It was late evening when we started from our home to meet the GBL team at designated pick up points to board the bus for Gokarna. We were a group of 32(29+3 leaders) in total. Gokarna is around 580kms from Bangalore. It took us close to 12 hrs to reach the destination. It was a fun trip, we played some games, slept for a while, kicked each other while asleep. By the time we reached Gokarna everyone was tired but excited about the trek ahead.

23rd July, 2016: Upon reaching, one of the leaders informed that the place booked for our stay had been occupied because we were late. They made some alternate arrangements and we checked into our rooms. After freshening up, everyone got ready for trek; we had our brunch and packed some more food for the trek. 

THE JOURNEY: of a lifetime

It was raining continuously there and hence everyone had to wear their rain jackets and each of us was carrying a backpack for our essentials during the trek. We boarded the bus from homestay and it dropped us off a little before Paradise beach. And we started our trek from there.

The trek path was wild. Our first hazard came soon into the trek when a rocky path which was supposed to be visible and dry, was submerged under water due to monsoons. It seemed we had no other way to reach the other side. One of the leaders was walking slowly into the water to check the depth and to see if it was at all possible to cross. He found it fine, given his height 6’ . We held each other’s hand and got into the water. Some girls removed their backpacks and gave it to the taller guys to save it from getting drenched. Slowly we started moving deeper into the water which at first seemed only 2 feet deep. But after crossing some distance, the leader realized it is much deep and won’t be fit to be crossed by all; he signaled us to move back. In the meanwhile; one person from the group had found an alternate muddy path which seemed slippery but better than the one through the water. We continued our journey helping each other, slipping, falling. At one point of time, I almost gave up since the trail kept on getting more treacherous. It reminded me of the trek in Wayanad (Kerela), I did in 2010 and the haunted memories associated with it. But then the group and my friend Swati helped me, motivated me to not to give up (anyways I did not had a choice).

At one point into the trek, we came across a narrow stream. There was only a wooden plank over the stream. It was fun crossing the stream; once we crossed it we found ourselves walking through a paddy field submerged in water.

Some of the team members wearing shoes had a difficult/nightmarish time since now their shoes were filled with water. Some of them changed into slippers but not all were so lucky having not been carrying a spare pair. But then what is a memorable journey without a little hardship.

We reached half-moon beach around after 3 kms into the trek and relaxed a bit there. Played in sands, drawing shapes, alphabets but could not go in the water since it was high tide and was not considered safe. 

From there we continued on to Om beach. Some way into the trek, one of the leaders spotted some branches hanging down from the tree and it was some feet above the ground. He grabbed two branches one in each hand and jumped down and encouraged us all to do the same. Initially only one or two guys agreed to do it. It looked like fun and challenge. None of the girls had volunteered by then. But once we saw some guys trying successfully, some of us agreed. We had to grab one branch in each hand and adjust it so that they are holding it at same level. After remembering all the Gods (the old and the New ;)), I let go off my feet from the ground and was swinging in air. I could feel the branches slipping through my hand. But I was caught by the leaders standing on the ground before the fall. My whole body was trembling, I felt a rocking sensation. It may be because of the fall, fear, excitement or adrenaline rush. It was good to have tried it since I became more confident for the path ahead. Upon reaching Om beach, the weather became pleasant and the rains finally stopped though for some time only. We removed our raincoats and ran towards the sea. For the first time in trekking we felt so light and happy. The entire trek now seemed worth it. Sadly, we could still not go into the water because of huge waves. But cameras were out now and we got some nice, chirpy and funny snaps there.

We ate; we chatted and had fun at the beach even without going into the water. Everyone seemed so relaxed. The leaders decided to have the evening snacks which actually turned into dinner at a restaurant by the beach. We made ourselves comfortable in the restaurant but since we were drenched due to continuous rains during the trek, many of us were shivering. Also some of us were not equipped with water-proof backups (a grave mistake and lesson for next time). The change-over clothes which we were carrying was wet too. Once we were all done with dinner, it had already become dark and was close to 8 PM. 

THE NIGHT TREK - from OM beach to Kudle beach - Memorable

The leaders had no plans of letting us go without having to experience the best. We were asked to take out our torches and since it had again started to rain, we all wore our raincoats back; flung the backpack on to the shoulders and started for night trek from Om beach to Kudle beach. Some people dropped out of this trek since they had got injured earlier and found it difficult to continue. The leaders let them go by giving them direction to reach the home stay. Since it was full dark, we had to be more careful than we were before. All the torches were on. The leaders had divided themselves to the front, middle and last so that they can look well after the group. 

I do not have words to put this experience on paper. I am at a complete loss of right words here. It was raining a little; we were following the lead through torch lights. The path was better than before but some places were rough and slippery. Our movement was very slow. We reached a flat plain in a while. The leaders suggested that we sat there for a short while in absolute darkness and listen to the sound of nature-of frogs croaking, rustling of leaves, of mosquitoes buzz. We were apprehensive at the beginning but then agreed later. We sat in absolute silence for around 10 mins. It was mystical. We continued our trek up to Kudle beach singing. It was dark and the waves seem to be glowing. It was picturesque, heavenly. All of us sat at the beach in a circle and then some of the team members performed- singing, story-telling, etc. We had a nice time watching the waves and enjoying the performances. At last it was time to go back to homestay. All were dead tired but no one wanted to leave. With heavy hearts we returned back only to start afresh tomorrow.

24th July, 2016 - Jog Falls
We woke up early in the morning to visit the Mahabaleshwar(Shiva) temple at Gokarna which is said to be one of the main pilgrimage places for Hindus. The temple opens at 6:00. Boys were asked to remove the waist above clothing at the temple. By 7:30, we boarded the bus and started our journey for Jog Falls. We had a blast in bus- singing, dancing, solving puzzles, playing dumb charade. The entire journey was amazing. At last we reached the falls. It was all foggy and it was difficult to spot water trickling down the cliff. The fog used to dissipate and come back. We clicked some nice snaps there and headed back to BLR.

To summarize the trip; I have to say that the team lived up to its name- “Get Beyond Limits”. It was full of thrills and something never experienced before. At the end, thank you team GBL for this. I will always be indebted for this amazing journey.

gokarna , beaches , monsoons , raincoat , fun , water