bhargavkesavan

Travelogue, Nostalgic memories and more…


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TheBlindList – My blind date with Earth!


As a child I’ve dreamt of places which I don’t know if exists in this world or not. I’ve imagined me going to forests and spending more time in nature, thought about camping (which I was not aware such thing existed and the very name “camping”) but it was my imagination that I’ll spend time in forest & mountains.

Then twenty years later came a time when I visited Havelock Island in Anadman Islands. the most beautiful place on earth. I spent few days with my friends wandering in the woods which was our first hiking experience which turned more adventurous when we heard elephants trumpeting at a distance! We cancelled one of our days plan to enjoy snorkeling, it was like a blind date with earth! I jumped on to the reef with just the snorkeling kit  & I was floating for half a day enjoying the most colorful fishes in the crystal clear waters. It became more wonderful when I saw a family of Nemo fishes just that the little nemo was not lost! And my first bucket-list was complete when I did a scuba diving at Chidiya Tapu in Anadaman through Lacadives.

Without any expectations we went to Andaman like going on a blind date just that this is a date with our planet! And of course I was not disappointed and still cherish my Snorkeling & Scuba memories at Andaman!

Four years later, which was this year. My wife & I made plans to visit Grand Canyon. We booked our tickets to Vegas and booked ticket to Antelope Canyon. We were very excited to explore the places we were about to visit and we were openminded about this exploration.

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

 

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

The reason this route is so famous is that it’s a straight road for hundreds of miles with absolutely nothing on left & ride sides of the road. There will be signs marked on the way that there are no gas stations (petrol bunks) for next 100 miles or so. You can easily see 10 miles ahead of you on a clear morning or evening when sun is not at peak. Try to keep your AC full, haha it won’t workout! It’s so hot that you will feel you’re in Chennai on a peak summer day or in Hyderabad or Delhi during peak summer and yet it’s more hot than that. You can easily fit one or two of our Indian states in this road as you can see the entire state is just empty area with deserts and rocks and mountains.

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Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

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Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

 

As soon as we landed we rented a car and filled up the trunk and back seat with necessary eatables and water for our 6 days trip. Since it’s most hottest place we have arranged the trunk such a way that food won’t get spoiled. We began our trip to Grand Canyon from Nevada via Route 66, it’s called as “Historic Route 66”. It’s the most deserted place in USA & a heaven to bikers and car enthusiasts who travel to explore & to those who go on exploring the world.

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Historic Rt 66, you can easily see 10 miles ahead of you! It’s a straight road for 100s of miles.

When we reached Grand Canyon we definitely didn’t think we are on earth, it was like diving in Mars. We went to Southern rim of Grand Canyon and we were on self exploration skipping the maps and finding our own trial to hike. To our surprise we saw four weathers on the same day at Grand Canyon. To our surprise we experienced Snow, never knew there is snowfall at GC, thought it’ll be just in December or January but a snowfall during April last week that too during our visit was unexpected! As we started to go back within just 3 miles, it was too sunny and hot! On coming cars looked at us so surprisingly and they had no clue they’re entering Snow land!

After a day we headed to Nevada back via Monument Valley, Utah. Every road is an exceptionally awesome and scary at the same time. Reason why it’s scary is that there is no town or mobile network for hundreds of miles. So you better keep your tank full or running for at least a few hundred miles or keep a hardcopy of maps. When you look from aerial view you will be in middle of no where! Scenes around me never changed as we drove! As we entered Zion national park after 250 miles from Antelope we saw few cars and trucks and felt like back to earth & that we got company or at least there are people to help if you honk! I was very glad when few cars stopped by to check if I’m good & need any help when we parked our car in shoulder.

This all lasted just a while, as we entered Death Valley national park which is called as the most hottest place on planet! It’s 155 degree Fahrenheit / 69 degree Celsius on a peak summer day & it never gets a drizzle any time in a year. And it’s called as the darkest place on earth as well, an excellent place for astro photography. So many people do camping and go on to self exploration.

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It’s called Devil’s golf course!

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This is the lowest point in USA. This is how the ground looks & it’s salt.

Death Vally National Park is an area of 3.3 millions acres, you can imagine Goa, Delhi, Pondicherry together and still you will have hundreds of acres left to cover, it’s so huge that you need to travel for hours from one spot to another spot within the park. it has sand dunes, artistic palette, the lowest point in USA it’s called Bad Water Basin, you can literally see the ground with salt. Ground here doesn’t have sand, it has salt & so the ground is white in color. I burnt my finger when I didn’t realize it’s salt & I was scratching it like beach sand!

Generally hot weather is my first enemy on any time of the year, but I’m amazed how I didn’t feel irritated at all when I visited DVNP & I still want to explore it more. This place is definitely a travel inspiration to thousands of people across the world. We got to interact with a couple from Spain and another couple from Italy. If there is a place on earth which is hot and yet people love to visit, it’s definitely this place.

Here is a video that I took in Death Valley.

We’d an enriching experience in exploring a place on earth & yet feels like we’re on mars. We visited without any expectations and with blindlist to this spot on earth like a blind date & we absolutely fall in love with earth yet again! And we’ll never hesitate to go on a blind date with anytime!

Do you like to go on a date with earth & like to say #SayYesToTheWorld without knowing where you’re headed? Do checkout this URL & video below.

#TheBlindList

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Limited தண்ணீர், Water, Paani, Neeru, Neelu – brings Unlimited Joy!


A good day that I coincidentally happened to write this! World Water Day!

Imagine this – yes assume this happens and Imagine now…

You wake up tomorrow morning – going to brush, finishing up morning duties… when you open the tap there is no drop of water! You’re not prepared for this situation. You didn’t know this would happen when you went to bed the previous night. What do you do?

This happened to me in 2008. Not just to me, for a few lakhs people on a single morning.

When I was in Pune, Magarpatta City (Hadapsar) on a summer morning, a sunshine Saturday morning as I woke up early to get ready to go out, My room mate who got up before me had a strict face and his eyes have turned red!!! Only then we got to know there is not a drop of water! Only then I went down to check the notice board to know there is no water until further notice! Everyone rushed to office which is within the same township, it was a busy weekend day at office! (They managed to get tanker water at office) & for others at home, it was too difficult.

This continued for two months, We use to get water only one hour per day. within that time all 4 room mates will finish bathing and all duties and fill water in a water container and whatever vessels we’d. As a bachelor we didn’t had water pot or more buckets.

I was grown up in a time where we use to get water once in a week or once in 9 days. I use to stand in line with my parents with a small pot a size which I can carry as a 6 year old boy. I use to go with my parents to fetch water from a well in our street, if it’s too crowded we’ll go to the well in next street or few streets away from our home. We use to fill this water in few buckets, pots and a small drum. This itself will occupy half of our small house. But this is how it was for most of us in our street and is now for lakhs of people across our country.

There is general saying in Tamil which translates to – My grandfather has seen water in river, my father has seen water in well & I’m seeing water in Tap – Where will the future generation see water? In photos and videos!!! Definitely that day is not too far. You may already be aware that a city (Cape Town) in South Africa has completely ran out of drinking water! Imagine if that happens to us!!! Money cannot bring back nature’s treasure.

Nature gives us unlimited wealth like trees, air, water & much more. If we forget to treasure that and don’t respect the gift it’ll start to leave us. Water is one such wealth. Already air is highly polluted in many countries and I never expected our national capital to be seen like china, where people wear face mask to avoid air pollution.

It’s high time for us to cut the water usage to half. If were using shower for 15 mins, cut it to 5 mins. If we’re using two buckets to bath, cut it to one and if it’s one cut it to half. When we go to restaurant & if the waiter fills the water glass even when we’re done eating, it’s our responsibility to stop him from pouring and save the drinking water, so that it can be saved for others.

Every single drop of water that’s wasted cannot be brought back when you absolutely need it. Do cut the usage of water which we consume in a different ways it’ll definitely reward you with a smile. Remember? Everything given to us by nature is unlimited, if we consume it with limit.

I just signed the petition to create awareness for #CuttingPaani do check this and sign the petition and share it with your friends.

https://www.change.org/p/cuttingpaani?recruiter=28226229&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=psf_combo_share_message.nafta_milestone_share_ask_victory.control

Checkout the below video – an initiative by LivPure to save water.  Now is your time to initiate your own ways to save water.


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Watkins Glen State Park – Gorge Trail


My wife and I decided to visit Watkins Glen State Park. We decided to make it as a one day trip & started from Parsippany after having our favorite Bagel from Wawa for breakfast. We started around 9:30 AM and reached by 2:45 PM. It’s a 230 mile drive. We stopped twice in between, first stop to make call to our parents and next stop to have lunch.

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My wife had prepared lunch for our trip this way we can have lunch at our convenient location, we’d lunch in a beautiful spot, spent some time there and headed to the Watkins Glen, New York. Since it’s fall the trees and the mountains still had the majestic colors and it was very beautiful to witness the colors.

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My wife did research and identified the trail for our hiking. We reached our destination at 2:45 noon. We took a glimpse of the trail map & started hiking immediately. We entered from the southern entrance as the main entrance was closed for renovation. As we entered the bridge at the entrance to the trail, we could hear the sound of water gushing & a lot of people hiking the different trails. People looked very tiny as the bridge at the entrance was at the peak of the trail.

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We took the Gorge trail as the Indian trail almost covers the same path as the other trail. The gorge trail has 19 falls and several caves. As we moved on the we started exploring the beauty of the park. The fall color throughout trail & the slight drizzle made the place most beautiful. It was a great workout climbing the steps before entering the central cascade & later near the Jacob’s ladder. The rock steps were built in the year 1908!

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We enjoyed the rainbow falls and couldn’t move away from the pool at central cascade as it was so beautiful. We spent a lot of time near this spot and then proceeded with the trail. They even call a small water flowing rocks too as a water falls 😀

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One of the main agenda in this hiking is to take photos of the water falls. I’d ordered a 55mm ND filter in Amazon as a expedited delivery but amazon failed to deliver it in a day as promised even after charging a $6. I have called them on Friday night which is when it was supposed to get delivered but they didn’t had any info and told me that I might get it the next day. I was very disappointed and sad that I won’t be able to take the photos I’d imagined in my mind.

I’ve seen photos like these a lot & always wanted to take it by myself. Without having a ND filter I thought it’s not possible to take, I remembered reading a blog about taking long exposure at day time without filters and gave a try & yes, it worked out very well.

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We breathed heavily by the time we finished climbing Jacobs ladder a 180 stone steps which marked the end of the Gorge trail. Huff!!! It started raining heavily but we had the shuttle service luckily to head back to the southern entrance. It was 5:30 when we completed the trail and took the shuttle back to main entrance. The shuttle driver was very kind and explained a lot about Watkins Glen & the Finger Lakes. I was very surprised and amazed to know that the lake was 700 feet and extends to 38 miles. Wow!
He stopped near the Elk farm and we saw few Elks wandering in the park which is raised by Germans. He also said that the main entrance is being uplifted by a $6 million renovation.

By the time we reached the southern entrance the entire parking lot was almost empty! We had fun time playing swing & it was a relaxation after the hiking 😀

We sure will visit Watkins Glen State Park again to explore more.

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Skandhagiri – Unforgettable Trip!


On a cold night, at 23:50 in Bangalore; a group of eight friends planned for a trekking.  Everyone was uncertain whether 15 minutes after will we all be out for trek!

As we knew it wouldn’t be a great success and as expected only 3 were able to make it as the rest were enemy for the climate.

We 3 started @ 00:10 in 2 bikes. Yamana RX for Vikky, Me & Libin on Passion with all the passion to reach our destination to start trekking.

Stopped twice for tea/’dhum/sutta’ break before we crossed the city limit.

When the speedometer showed 90 kmph it was merely a  hairbreadth ‘scape from a highway robbery gang!

Without even turning back, our bikes fled away from the Highway to an artery. For about 35 mins the bike went on in the same road without knowing whether we’re on the right path!

First stranger at around 01:40, with a great hope that he can help, I asked Skandhagiri ge yava route hogathe? (Which route leads to Skandhagiri), before I could finish the question he said Gotthilla (Dont know!), which we never expected from the localite!

Another 20 mins ride on the same road, looking at a mountain at a distant, was confused by another mountain at the other side!! Now on a conclusion either of this is going to be our destination, we headed towards…

There was a santro loaded with 4 bouncers holding some paper, stopped bike at a decent distance, I walked towards and about to speak, before which a guy asked me in english, Do you know the way to skandhagiri? I laughed and called my friends out there… Without a clue why I’m laughing, Why calling my friends… all of them looked puzzeled!

After knowing we too are looking for the same sacred place ‘for trekkers’ he showed up the map which he had… (Thinking without the map we’ve reached upto there! We just took a look at that, without understanding what the places are… returned it to’em.)

Then a localite in a Splendor approached us knowing we are looking for something… He asked us to follow him… without even thinking who he might be and is he really going to show the way, we followed him.

On the way following him, many thrilling old movie scenes were on mind about where are we going, whence the route we’re going to reach and Et Cetera.

Finally to the goodness he showed a route & appended some left and right to that. Thank god! We’re back ontrack on our own!

Yes! There is the hill that we were looking for!
It was at 02:25, experienced the actual darkness!
Just when the head lights are off, I couldn’t see either Vikky now Libin!
We were together just with our voice…

Puzzeled where to start, heard few other voices…

…kannada…

Do you need guide? We can take you up there in two and half hours… Without any idea we said not required! Headed up few steps away… The road was so smooth that could even skit us while walking… realising that we’re walking on Vaikol (Straw, an agricultural by-product), understood that we walking nearby fields.

Again some villagers, who calls themselves the guide to skanthagiri enquired do we need a guide till the top. It was a mutual decesion that we asked them to show the path where to start from, for which we’d to pay INR200. Agreed upon, he asked us to follow him, for which we just turned right and walked few steps… He paused by, said this is the way to start from!

It was unthinkable to reach th etop without a torch… And we knew it’s going to be a challenge as it was tough when we walked on the road without a torch!

And the replacement for the torch was vikky’s Nokia’s camera flash! Luckily the battery was more than 80% and we could manage for another 2.30 hours, post which we got the sunrise.

On our way up there, some more people started following us thinking we knew the route!

Without knowing we are at the brim we blindly moved ahead hoping we would reach the top to witness the eternal sunrise first handedly. Rested on a huge rock on the way up there.

Finally after four and half hours continues effort we are at the top now! Enjoyed the sunrise! Discussing among ourself that we never seen a sunrise when at home as our early morning was when the shadow doesn’t fall on anyside! Started taking snaps and some Et Cetras are on now!

On the way down we saw & wondered the hurdels we passed through easily at the early hours without knowing they are hurdles! Now wondered on each place where we rested and struggled to climb up.

After 2 hours we are on the road again! Now the natural scenary of the village were on our Cam!

On the way home, we not only took away the adventurous memory! But some management tasks that we learned too!

The required tools (skills) to achieve a task (destination) you should carry all along the (through out the project) map (application document) to the destination and you should get help from skilled associated from other project (the guy on Splendor, who showed us the path to Skandhagiri) though they might not complete your task, but can help on routing you to the proper way.

And the trainings required to keep you armed throughout the project (torch to be carried, to ignore the hassle) when the hurdels are not know/not seen as hurdles, that can be passed easily (realised that we were on brim of the hill at the sunlight when we came down!)

Every moment has something to teach us! And this trekking taught me some management basics!

Good Luck!