You’ll recall from my previous post on off-roading, I had intended to get to Uttara Kannada for some exhilarating off-roading escapades. I hadn’t realized it would be this fast an opportunity.
I had to get to Kumta on some personal errands and it was a great opportunity to test my new off-road ready Thar there, and the time of the year was perfect for that. The better half grudgingly agreed to endure the drive up to Kumta in the soft top that makes a racket – Inside:). 500 gruelling KM later, she said in a determined voice that this would be her LAST long drive on my favourite off – roader:) and on this I don’t grudge at all until we examine the hard top option a bit more in detail:)
Be that as it may, the drive itself after Sirsi was fantastic. It was raining hard and the previous rains had rendered the entire landscape Emerald Greeeeeen and that was a sight to behold. (I think I have it somewhere on my GoPro, may be will share it soon)
Post the weekend of personal chores; my nephews (one that lives there in Kumta and the other that was visiting) unsuspectingly declare that they would join me on my off-roading adventures. Its only when we started to off-road did they realise what they had signed up for:)
We set off towards Chandavara the closest hilly area connected with the western ghats and I had marked a track there a few months ago, when I was visiting a farm as my first off-roading track. Believe it or not, we (wife and I) had traversed that track on a Scooty (of course in summer) so it was a familiar track (for off-roading, alone with no recovery options)
The rains however had turned it in to a much more adventurous off-roading track and the start itself was dramatic. The rain waters had carved the laterite boulders, as we leave the tarmac, and some of it was sharp, with narrow galleys in between for driving through and some stretches needed my nephews to hop off and guide me as I navigated them and hop back in.
About a KM or so later, the dense jungle comes about. With the rains enabling a lot of undergrowth too. As we squeeze through the rapidly narrowing lane, we come to a halt near a big tree whose branches had fallen down, blocking the path. Luckily we could clear it easily (3 of us lifting off some heavy branches) and proceed further.
As we near some homes (perhaps farm abodes), we see a slithering snake on the road. It was too fast to figure out what it might be, but the speed at which it slithered away, seemed to suggest it is one of the non poisonous rat snake locally called ‘Kere Bodda’.
That’s about where the familiarity of the track disappeared. The rains had brought a stream (that was dry during my Scooty trip) about and was now flowing in full force and with it, had rendered the banks rather slippery. We spotted some locals who said there was another intersection between the stream and the road so we were doubly delighted. Given we had no recovery capability and the stream crossing was rather tricky (for our level of off-roading proficiency) we were in two minds as to whether to return or press on and often times youth is to be heard:) and we press on. The approach to the stream was steep, rocky and slippery, often the entire vehicle slipping in to the stream below. Past that small surprise, rest was rather easy once we entered the water. There was one section that was deeper than the rest to the vehicle bounced and danced a bit, but hey, that’s why we go off-roading right?
As we clear the first hurdle, we were all seemingly beaming with broad smiles. It was as if a hard prepared exam ended with a home run:). Past the soft-road of about ½ KM, we hit the next intersection of the stream and the road and this one was really very easy compared to the previous one. We drive past it easily and drive some more distance past farms and village roads and finally hit the tarmac, completing leg 1 of the off-roading plan.
Driven by the ease with which we finished the first leg, we decided to try the 4X4 H on one of the road accessible beaches at Haldipur, to which we drive through the back alleys deliberately to catch as much off-road like roads as possible.
Past the low bridge on Badgani River (you can read more about this location here) we approach the beach in quick time and drive straight on to the beach, engaging the 4X4 H feature and sliding and spinning on the beach sand, often splashing the waves.
Having understood the basics of both 4X4 L and 4X4 H, it was a satisfying outing so we return home in time for tea and a subsequent visit to Alvekodi beach with the rest of the anxious family. They hear about the fun we had off-roading and wanted a part of it (the beach part) and we decide to do that the next PM.
We chose to drive up to Kumta Beach (Hedbandar Beach) as that too is connected by road and as we approach the beach, we see some other off-roading enthusiasts putting their more expensive off-roaders gingerly through some simple routines on the sand.
The elders in the family get off for a leisurely walk (post the selfie:)) on the beach while some of us (young at heart) start to drive on the beach, sliding and hitting the sand with gusto. The low tide and the rains had rendered the flat beach to be a hard enough surface so there was very little opportunity for getting stuck on the sand so we drove with a lot of confidence even through 2 foot high waves:) Just when it was all getting exciting, the dark clouds grumbled and every one hurriedly got on to the vehicle and hit back home.
So my assumption that one can enjoy limitless off-roading in Uttara Kannada is now a strong conviction. And I have barely begun….. As you can see from the video:)
Keep tuned in for more off-roading fun in Uttara Kannada:)
Questions, remarks, welcome as usual.