26th November 2017
Hiking in India is a thought which had never crossed my adventurous mind. But, here I found myself at 5 am sitting outside my tent at the foot of Phantom Head. Alongside me was my Kiwi blogging mate Jub and a vlogger from England, Jorden. Our guide appeared out of the darkness with a torch and we began our hiking experience in Kerala.
The dark morning sky offered little guidance as we followed the beam of our guides torch. Traditional Indian music blasted throughout the neighboring village as a 24-hour celebration continued on into the early hours of the morning. The March weather was mildly chilly but had us throwing off our jackets after the first few steps.
The short hike covers an intense ascent of 400 meters. Beginning at 1500 meters above sea-level the hike reaches an altitude of almost 2000 meters. The air was thin and I was panting throughout the journey.
The climb up the mountain was more of a mission than a scenic route. Every now and again I peered towards the stairs, pinching myself like usual to make sure I knew I wasn’t living in a dream.
After almost forty minutes we reached the summit. A huge cross sat atop the mountain and a herd of cows slept beneath it. We may have woken the cows as we scurried towards the orange haze that was glowing like the end of a campfire.
The glow continued to intensify until the sun broke through at around 630am. We explored the ledges, the outcrops and the cliff edges throughout the morning. A huge lake stretches as far as the eyes can see. The name of the lake translates to “Elephants come down”. Which is precisely what they do at this lake. This is how phenomenal the landscapes and views are in this region and how wild the terrain really is.
I never imagined myself atop a mountain in India but here I was looking out over plains, lakes, forests and villages. That is the beauty of this journey I am on. At the end of each month, I look back on the previous 30 days and can’t believe how I ended up visiting all of these places and having so many amazing experiences. Huge thanks to Kalypso Adventures and Kerala Tourism for organizing a guide to take us up to the summit for sunrise!
Here are a few more snaps from this short but epic hike we decided to do twice in one day!