Day 0- Friday, 3 October
Arjun, Febin, Aditya, Arunkumar, Ashley, Sabu and myself set off from Kozhikode, on the Shornur-Kannur passenger train, at 6.30 pm on Friday. It was very crowded, but luckily we got a couple of berths (meant for luggage) to ourselves, and we made ourselves comfortable. Many people got down at Vadakara, and we got proper seats.
We reached Kannur at 9.00 pm, had dinner and boarded a bus to Payyannur. We reached Febin’s house in Pilathara around 10.30, had a bath and hit the hay.
Day 1- Satuday, 4 October
We got up early (really early, by our standards) and set off for Paithalmala around 8.30. First we went to Thalipparambu and then caught the bus to Kudiyanmala. Since that is a nationalised route, only KSRTC buses are available. It was a painstakingly slow ride, as the rickety old bus could barely tackle the climbs in first gear.
We reached Kudiyanmala at 10.30, bought some bananas to carry with us, and caught a jeep to the summit. The jeep ride was around half an hour, and we got down where the trekking path began. The path is reasonably wide and an easy, gentle climb through the forest. After about half an hour, the path comes out of the forest, and continues through the open grasslands to the tip of Paithalmala.
We saw a less used trail, and decided to follow it. This trail led us along the slope of a ridge normal to and taller than the original peak. After walking for another thirty minutes, we left the trail and made straight for the summit. It was a bit tricky, but Sabu and Febin turned out to be excellent trailblazers, and we reached the top in a few minutes, with some difficulty.
The only disappointing thing was that the peak was not so much of a peak. It was rather a ridge running straight for perhaps a kilometre, and there was no place you could really stand and observe the lowlying surroundings on all sides.
We spent some time resting on the ridge, ate some bananas and started our journey downwards. We soon reached our trail and in another few minutes, we were back on the original trail to the watch tower at Paithalmala. Another half an hour and we were there. The watch tower turned out to be much less exciting than our earlier adventure.
We started back soon, as our water bottles were empty. Luckily there was a clear spring on the way back. A few of us had been reluctant to drink spring water at the beginning of our trek, but no one had any objections, as we were thirsty. The water which appeared out of openings in some rocks, was crystal clear. We also greedily ate the awesome Vattayappam that Febin’s mother had packed for us.
On reaching the road, we still had a long way to go. Paithalmala was 9 km from Kudiyanmala, and we still had an hour and a half to walk. After a while, we met some natives who were working in a plantation by the roadside, and they told us that there had been a shorter way down to Kudiyanmala, from the watch tower. We should have enquired more before starting from Kudiyanmala.
Then we got a lift from some BPharm students whom we met on Paithalmala, who were travelling in a Versa. We politely declined as there were seven of us, and it would be too crowded, but because of their persistence we finally accepted. We were saved from an extra hour of walking, but it proved costly for our kind friends. When we got down at Kudiyanmala, the van’s tyres were emitting smoke. They moved on, and on our way back on the bus to Talipparambu, we saw them getting water from a house with their van parked nearby. Hope they reached back safely.
We reached Febin’s house around 7 in the evening. All of us were weary and a bath breathed fresh life into all of us. Then we devoured the delicious Beef Biriyani that Febin’s mother had made, and went to bed after a long day.
Day 2- Sunday 5 October
Since it was Sunday, we got up nearer to our normal time, as Febin and his family had to go to church. We got ready to go to Edayilakkadu beach around 9.30. Febin’s parents had prepared another sumptuous meal for us- Vellayappam, Kallappam, Beef and Chicken. It was the first time in my life that I had meat for breakfast.
Febin’s elder brother Abin joined us for the trip to Edayilakkadu. Six of us crammed into their Maruti 800 and Febin’s brother and Arjun took the bike. We passed through Payyannur, crossed into Kasargod district and finally reached the bank of a river, which we had to cross to get to the beach. All of us got into a canoe and it was a great experience.
On the other bank, we walked through endless coconut groves, and finally reached the splendid Edayilakkadu beach. It’s the most pristine beach I’ve ever seen in my life. It’s virtually spotless (thanks to the lack of tourists visiting) and extends in both directions for as far as you can see. The water is a bit violent, and we had a great time splashing about in it.
Then we played some football on the beach, but soon gave up, as the sand was scorching hot. We went back into the water. Around one o’ clock we decided it was time to return. On the way back there is a mangrove forest, but we didn’t have time to stop there. We gave some left over biscuits we had, to monkeys by the road side. On reaching Febin’s home, we had a bath to wash away all the sand, and started on our way back around 3.30.
We caught the Mangalore-Trivandrum express from Pazhayangadi. It’s a beautiful old railway station which still issues those little card tickets which leave you nostalgic. We decided to keep them as a souvenir of our trip. The train was packed but we somehow squeezed into the general compartment, and thankfully got seats from Kannur. It was a memorable and exciting trip, whose memories all of us will cherish for the rest of our lives.
See the photos of the trip here.