There was a light drizzle as we gathered early in the morning on the first day of #WayanadOnWheels facilitated by ScoutMyTrip. That however wasn’t a deterrent, and was actually quite a welcome start to the lovely ride from Bangalore to Wayanad. Travel bloggers, riders and travel enthusiasts on royal enfields from ONNBikes were on their way to Dare 5000 Nature Camp, nestled deep in the hills of Vythiri. We were on eight bikes, 7 Royal Enfields (Classics, Thunderbirds and Standards) and 1 Bajaj Avenger Street. Though ONNBikes caters majorly to commuter segment, touring is an area that they are exploring. ONNBikes provides the cheapest rental rates and bikes are available on rent from a few hours to even a year in Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Udaipur.
After a few initial pit stops, we had our first break at a Kamat hotel on Mysore road to refuel ourselves with some soft idlis, crispy dosas and filter coffees. Though the ride ahead was filled with a fair amount of traffic, it eased up after exiting the city of Mysore. It was only then that I could completely enjoy the ride on my shining blue Thunderbird 500, which definitely is a wonderful bike for a long ride. Though not sunny, the sky cleared up as the convoy headed to Gundlupet with intermittent stops. Gundlupet was covered in shades of orange, yellow and violet as flower beds spread before us on either sides of the road. It was not long before all colours changed to various shades of green as we rode into the forest stretch where monsoons had accentuated the charm of the jungle.
A couple of stops at Chayakadaas (tea stalls) and a late lunch later, we rode further to Vythiri. It was dark by the time we reached Vythiri and took a detour off the highway onto the road that led to Dare 5000 Nature Camp. Parking our bikes at a house at the base, we were driven up in 4x4 wheel jeeps. It is a further 6 Kms from the base and can be covered only in 4x4 vehicles due to the terrain. It was quite dark, but the roar of a falls, the sound of crickets, the rough terrain and the silhouettes of hills made us realize that we were getting away from civilization. We checked in, freshened up and had a round of bonfire discussion about travel, blogging and other random topics along with a delicious dinner. Had to call it a night as one after the other sneaked into their rooms after the long riding day.
WanderTrails which is an aggregator of various properties across India focuses on experiential travelling and facilitated our visit to Dare 5000 Nature Camp. This nature camp built during the times of British rule for the stay of plantation workers has been renovated and offers basic but neat rooms with en-suite baths. Located at a height of 5000 feet above sea level, this nature camp is one of the highest in Wayanad.
It was not until morning that we had any idea where we were expect that we were up in the hills. Though there was a plan to go for an early morning walk for bird watching, only three of them made it while others slept cosily in the rooms. When I walked out in the morning I realized we were surrounded by lush greenery and engulfed by mist along with a light drizzle. Isn’t it wonderful to wake up to such mornings? I couldn’t have asked for more.
It rained incessantly as we had a quick breakfast and numerous black coffees. Mist played peek-a-boo as we patiently waited for the rains to subside. Soon we left for an unnamed waterfall recommended by the hosts. The short trail goes behind the property deep into the woods. Though armed with rain covers, salt and dettol, leeches still caught up and happily feasted on us. The surroundings however were absolutely surreal that I decided to ignore the leech bites and walked ahead to the falls. The cascading falls was an absolute stunner tumbling over many boulders and spraying water all over. We spend quite an amount of time there as many got into the waters while others gazed at the beautiful setting. The stomachs grumbled soon and we headed back to the nature camp to delve into a delicious lunch. The rain reduced to drizzle and we walked up a trail within the property. The walk led to a vantage point which offers magnificent vistas of the valley, towns below, rising mist, distant hills and verdant greenery all around. This was another gorgeous sight for the day after the beautiful falls. On clear days this point offers spectacular sunsets. While we sipped more black coffees as the evening set, it turned misty and slowly darkness engulfed the place.
The final day of Wayanad On Wheels began with some delicious Puttu and Kadala before we were on our way back to the base. In a 4x4 jeep, we manoeuvered through the treacherous trail going past tea plantations and waterfalls to get back on the saddle. The bikes thumped their way again through the small towns of Wayanad. Back in the forests, we were lucky to spot an elephant and a few spotted deer en-route. The ride again was absolutely a delightful one through the meandering roads of Muthanga sanctuary, Gundlupet and then to Mysore. We changed our route from Mysore and skipped the Mysore- Bangalore highway to avoid the traffic. Instead we took the road to Malvalli and then onto Kanakpura road to reach Bangalore. That was a great decision as the roads were good and devoid of traffic.
Some trips like Wayanad On Wheels are memorable for many reasons. Here it gave a great opportunity for like minded travel enthusiasts to explore a beautiful nature camp with a ride on the lovely Royal Enfields.