21-Aug-2004 -- After successfully reaching 15N77E, we took directions to go towards Rayadurg and onwards to the next confluence we were attempted to reach today; 15N76E. Unfortunately, there were no roads that would directly take us towards 15N76E. We had to swing down south to Rayadurg and then on to Kudligi, Kotturu and Itikki. The maps indicated that the confluence was very close to the town of Itikki.
When we reached Rayadurg, we decided to catch up with a late lunch and continue. The delay we experienced in reaching 15N77E earlier in the day was now putting us under pressure as it looked likely that we would have to race towards 15N76E before sunset. Situation normal for us! From Rayadurg, we headed towards Kudligi where we crossed NH#13 towards Kotturu and Itikki. We drove through Itikki with the GPS indicating that we were about 8 kilometers away from the confluence. When we had counted down to about 4.5 kilometers, we passed a turn off on the left and continued straight hoping that the road would eventually turn towards the point. The nearest we got to was about 3.5 kilometers. So, we back-tracked to the left turn and drove down that road. After numerous twists and turns we got to about 1.8 kilometers from the point. We now had to get of the paved road and drive up a narrow track towards the point. The concern was that it was 1800 hrs and sunset was expected at 1844 hrs. About 1 kilometer from the confluence, our luck ran out and we had to stop as the path plunged down very steeply and we did not think the SUV would make it. Mohan and I thought we’d give it a shot and see if we could reach 15N76E before sunset.
We had to walk through a small stream-bed and then enter a maize plantation. The stalks were taller than both of us and we tread carefully through the shadows between the plants. After 200 meters, we cleared the maize field and plunged into a sunflower plantation. This was slightly easier to walk through as the gap between the plants was wide. We cleared this plantation in another 250 meters and had a soft open field to walk through for the next 400 meters. We made time by jogging through and then to our surprise, we found a small paved road up ahead. We crossed the road and continued in the direction indicated by the GPS. After a small stretch of open ground, we came upon another maize plantation. Now, we were very close and it took just a few more minutes for us to reach 15N76E. The time was 1820 hrs and light was fading quite fast and it did not help us any when the sun went behind a cloud on the horizon. I got the mandatory photographs and took photos of both the GPS’ before Mohan and I took a self portrait of ourselves at the confluence point.
After pausing for a couple of minutes to catch our breath, we radioed Jagan and Anand that we had made it. Now, the task ahead was to find our way back to the car. The GPS track-back mode helped us a lot in finding the shortest path back. After a few hundred meters, Mohan and I decided not to go back through the dense undergrowth we came through earlier. So, we took a small deviation and began searching for a gap in the plantation. We found one with a path heading in the general direction of the car. At this time, I radioed Jagan to turn on the emergency flashers on the car hoping that we would be able to see them. He turned them on, but we did not see them for a few minutes until we reached higher ground. Now, with the emergency lights in sight, we made our way back to the car. After a quiet celebration, we headed out towards the main road that led to Itikki. When we reached the nearest village, we asked and were told that the village was called Nandehalli and was located in Bellary district.
We almost did not have enough time to get to this one. But, we made it and it is very satisfying to “earn” a confluence this way. From Itikki, we drove to Hospet where we planned to stay overnight before starting off to attempt to reach 16N76E early next morning.