Lost and found, trekkers return home

Vivek Gupta (left) and M. Shashidhar at a press conference in Hyderabad on Saturday.– Photo: G. Ramakrishna  

They strayed into a forest, home to more than three dozen tigers, faced hundreds of leech attacks, slept on trees, walked miles without food or light and drank water directly from streams. For the lost and found trekker duo, Vivek Gupta and M. Shashidhar, their most memorable trek ended like a typical Indian movie climax scene- with the arrival of a jeep.

“It was a great relief seeing the officers who were searching for us. They lifted us and put us in the jeep. The first thing we did was to ask them for the phone and called parents to tell that we are safe,” said 24-year-old Shashidhar, who is a software engineer from the city.

Both the trekkers spoke to the media on Saturday after their return from Karnataka.

With their arms and legs showing ample signs of healing wounds, a result of leech attacks, the senior members of Greater Hyderabad Adventure Club (GHAC) recounted their experiences.

Part of the 11-member group from Hyderabad, both youngsters lost their way on June 9, Sunday afternoon, at a location, 20 km from Chikmagaluru. For the next two and a half days, a packet of salt, whistle, glucose tablets and compass were their company.

“We were sure that we had to keep moving and looking out for any trails,” said 29-year-old Vivek Gupta, who is a technical assistant at IIIT, Hyderabad. “During day time we would keep walking and by evening we had no choice but to stop and rest since there was no visibility. The weather was windy, cold and it was raining which made the time spent there uncomfortable. It would get dark by 4 p.m. and we could hear strange noises which was very scary.” According to them, they slept on a tree branch on Sunday night and in a cave on Monday night. Though they spotted what looked like fruits they did not risk eating it not knowing fully its implications after consumption, shared the visibly tired trekkers.

“On Tuesday, we located what looked like road reference from the top of a hill. There were two ways to reach the other side, either through forest or by traversing it. We decided to avoid the forest even though the route we chose might take a longer time. But thankfully, we were found by the search party of the forest officials soon,” said Mr. Shashidhar.

Both members were given first aid and put on the saline drip after which they began their journey back home. Since they had accidentally strayed in to the Bhadra Tiger Reserve, cases of trespassing have been booked against the duo. The GHAC members said their legal team would take care of the cases.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2021 2:57:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/lost-and-found-trekkers-return-home/article7545794.ece

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