|My Forest Snaps|
|The Fisherman Shack|
Travelling on any road in Kerala, would have been adventurous enough, but to my delight Vinayan recommended a forest trail, which he recently discovered, formed by the local pedestrians and the Adivasis. It extended from Thokkupara in Idukki district to Ayyampuzha in Ernakulam district. It stretched almost 110Kms by road, but as he said, by availing the forest road, I could curtail almost 10Kms. The forest road ran beside Adimali, but it was much difficult to enter the forest route from there, the land being marshier. People travelled to Thokkupara to enter the forest route.
Vinayan assured me every support in this regard. I went to his house, where we planned the journey. As per the plan I had to cover almost a 100Km through a marshy road on a monsoon day. The major challenges were shelter, rain and wild creatures like elephants, boars, snakes and buffaloes. I had to reach Pooyamkutty, before dark, as the animals would get more active during the night. At night I was supposed to stay at a temporary tin-sheeted fisherman shack, built on the banks of river Periyar. It was the shack which the travellers relied on. The very first road that I had to cross across the line was the AM road on NH-49. Thereafter the forest route ran parallel to Pooyamkutty-Manakulam road, and then it went straight into the forest. As Murugan said, I was supposed to cross the tributaries of Periyar at least thrice. For the first time I could avail the Pooyamkutty-Munnar trail to cross the river. Unlike other road trips Vinayan couldn’t accompany me, as he had some work at the village office. So I had to do a solo performance this time. This was the only road trip in my life, which I went without informing my family.
|The Forest Clearing From Where I Started My Journey|
|The Banyan Tree, Under Which I Stood|
|The Stinging Nettle Under The Banyan Tree|
|The Clearing Where I Had My Lunch|
|The Pit In Which I Fell|
|The Marshy Way Through The Arrowroot Plants|
|A Wild Flower|
|A Wild Flower|
On the way, I spotted some fresh elephant-dung, which terrified me for a while. I engaged myself, snapping the wild flowers, arrowroot plants, the beehive, and the large black millipede. Soon I reached another clearing from where the route deviated towards right. There was a worn-out wooden bridge with rusted iron bars. I called Vinayan, but he was unaware of such a thing over there. I still don’t know where it would have led me, but I chose the left way. I was getting more and more exhausted, and I could do nothing with an empty water bottle. I lost the glucose pack somewhere on the way. But I kept going, though at a slow pace. I had a leech bite on my elbow in between. I flung it way into the woods. It was not raining for long. So I decided not to take rest until it rains. I treaded again. I forgot to have food or so called the lunch. To be frank I was fully exhausted by then, but I pedaled on…
|The Worn-Out Unknown Wooden Bridge|
I thanked God, for giving me such an opportunity and to accomplish my mission successfully. I covered 100 Kilometres in almost 40 hours and that too through a forest. I never encountered any wild animals on my way. With God’s grace neither I got deviated from my path nor got my bicycle punctured. But this perfect road trip of mine is not advisable as a forest is more horrifying than you see them in Spielberg movies.