Winter being the right season for a beach trek, we got that into our road trip plan. Our plan was to do a Gokarna – Honnavar trek along the beach. This stretch was not all beaches. There are places where the hills were jetting out into the sea, river joining the sea, backwaters etc to hinder the smooth beach trek. Our goal was to stick as close as possible to the sea.
We started the trek late as my friend Sriram could not reach Gokarna the previous night. There were further delay to repack our bags as Sriram did not have a travel bag. The bags were packed and after a quick breakfast we took an auto rickshaw to OM beach to start the trek. There is another beach called Kudle beach in Gokarna which was our starting point. The delay caused us to start off at OM beach which is also in Gokarna.
Within few minutes of walk on the beach filled with foreign tourists we had to climb a small hill. We lost our trail and took us few minutes to find it. After 20 minutes walk we reached Halfmoon Beach. Again, this place is filled with tourist. Gokarna is known for easy availability of drugs which attracts a lot of Hippies. We encountered a few of them and one nice lady tried to sell us sandalwood necklace using her “ghori” charm. After answering several queries about our trek we pushed off to more secluded beaches that were ahead.
After a few rock climbs, UD’s footwear snapped. We managed to ask a passer by for his footwear and continued the trek. We reached the last populated beach known as Paradise Beach. This had few small eateries. We were told that this will be last point to find water and food to eat. We filled up our bottles and started off to the banks of Aganashini river which meets the sea. At the river dock we hired a boat to cross the river and reach the other side to continue our trek.
One problem we faced all along was lack of information about the beaches. The locals seem to be totally unaware of the name of the beaches or they call them by some other name. When asked about the route to reach a certain beach we were always redirected to bus stand. When we explain that we would want to trek along the hills they were often amused. Once we reached the other side of the river we sat down for late lunch. There was a small village where we asked about the next beach named Barka. We were shown atleast 3 different ways to reach and finally we decided to take a random path and walk. We had to trek for atleast an hour to reach an Ashram. A sage in that Ashram redirected us through think forest to reach Barka beach. The forest was very dense with thorns all over. After a few bruises and cuts we managed to reach a dirt road. There were no one around to find out about the beach. So we walked on the dirt track till we saw some villagers close by. Once again they managed to confuse us with directions. We finally decided that we would take any trail that leads us back to the beach. By 5:00 PM we reached an unknown beach. One family who lives there did not know the beach name.
Either the trail to Baraka was missed by us or directed wrongly, we reached this secluded beach with just one house around. We filled up our water bottles and relaxed at the beach. We wanted to stop here for the night. Pitching a tent is very essential for trekkers like us. We have pitched tents before, but this one was a different type. After 40 minutes of struggle we managed to partially pitch it. It was not enough to take 4 people in. It was getting dark so we ditched the tent plan and started collecting firewood to start a camp fire. We had earlier carried 1 lt of fuel for camp fire, but it was not be found. We concluded that it must have fallen off during the thorny adventure. We just had few match sticks to start the fire. After some trial and error we managed to get the fire going for atleast 2 hours. We ate our stale dinner and hit the mats. We put all our bags inside the tent and slept in the open. Our only fear was rain and a snoopy dog that was roaming around in the beach.
The next day in spite of getting up early we were delayed by our laziness. We started off really late once again. This delay cut short our trek to Honnavar and we finally had to finish off at Dhareshwar. The next beach was The Long Stretch Beach. We asked the people at the beach for the trek route. They warned us that the route has many ditches and one could easily fall into them if they are unaware. Despite us offering money to accompany us to the beach they refused. We finally had to take the forest route on the dirt trail to reach the Long Stretch Beach. This beach is around 7kms in length and for the first time we saw no other human being other than us. We started walking fast but stopped for photography at few places. At the end of the beach there were few rocks we had to climb to reach Semicircular Beach. This was rather small beach with a resort.
We asked for directions, filled up water and started off to a small fishing village along the beach. We saw a millions of fish caught and put out to dry. I have never seen so many fish in my life. We quickly passed the village to reach the backwaters. We had to cross this small stretch of back waters to continue the trek but we found no one was ready to ferry us. It would take 5 minutes to get us across for an good money but strangely none were interested. Finally we gave up and took an auto through the fishing village to reach the other side.
On the other side of the backwaters we stopped for lunch. This stretch of beaches was around 5kms and it ends at Dhareshwar Hills. By then it was already 3:00PM so we decided that Honnavar was not possible and decided that we would reach Dhareshwar Hills and call it quits. Among all the beaches we trekked so far this was the most beautiful. Once again it was secluded with no one around but us. We saw lots of seagulls as we walked this stretch.
We stopped for filming the seagulls. By the time we reached Dhareshwar hills it was 5:00PM. Me and UD wanted to trek a little longer and reach Ramanagindi beach but the others were exhausted and they dozed off at the beach. By 6:00PM there were many people on the beach enjoying the sea and passing a strange look at us. We did 1 hour of photography and filming before walked to the main road to catch a bus to Kumta.
Once we reached Kumta, we could not find any bus to Gokarna where our vehicles were parked. After an hour wait we hired a cab to Gokarna. We offered an upset German girl a lift to Gokarna. Her mobile phone was picked but she was able to alert the people close by who caught the thief and beat him up. She was swamped by onlookers to apologize for the in convince caused. Probably that freaked her out and she started crying. We managed to convince her to come with us to Gokarna as the bus had not come for an hour. We finally reached our destination at 8:30 PM.
Things To Carry:
- Trek bags with Sleeping bags in them
- Lots of Oranges (substitute for water)
- 2 liters of water each. (fill up every time you see any house)
- Sun tan lotion
- Sleeping Mats