Ian Lockwood


Archive for October 2011

The Road Home…revisiting the Mushroom Ridge

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Mushroom ridge as seen from the Fire Tower on the Kodai-Berijam road. In the distance are mango orchards near Theni, 1500 or so meters lower than the ridge.

The road home from the Marion Shola cliffs passed by the Mushroom Ridge, one of those places closely associated with happy memories of adventure during our high school years. The name is derived from a granite ridge’s peculiar shape. It runs parallel to the larger escarpment near to Berijam lake and Madigatan Shola. Most people glimpse it from the fire tower on the road to Berijam lake. It also sits amidst significant shola patches.

Scrambling on the knife-edge of the Mushroom Ridge; a color-negative view from 1986 now stained by fungal attacks.

Back in our school days several of us Loch End hikers observed the ridge on forays out into the hills. The ridge offered a tantalizing opportunity for adventure. Having somehow obtained permission from our dorm parents and hitched a ride on a logging truck we decided to explore it one Saturday in early 1986. We returned for a 2nd trip in 1987 and later I came back in 1993. On all the trips I never got a view of the drop without mist. Perhaps it was for the better since the ridge falls a thousand meters or so to the lower forests. In fact, on one of the early trips I dislodged a boulder while making a composition and nearly decapitated my friend Matthew as the rock tumbled downwards. In 1996 the ridge was covered in kurinji growth (Strobilanthes kunthiana).  We all survived and I still marvel at the liberated times that allowed us such interaction with the natural world that we were blessed with in the Palanis.  In 1996 the ridge was covered in kurinji growth (Strobilanthes kunthiana). There are many tourists visiting Berijam these days but the Mushroom ridge happily remains out of reach and much the same from our school days.

Mushroom ridge (horizontal view) as seen from the Fire Tower on the Kodai-Berijam road.

Rhododendron arbroreum nilagiricum tree and mist from the same escarpment, but closer to Ibex Peak.

Written by ianlockwood

2011-10-27 at 5:39 pm

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