Lebanese-American writer Khalil Gibran’s words of wisdom are worth quoting time and again. “Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happily and tell no one, people ruin beautiful things."
With the heavens periodically opening up nowadays, nature is pouring cold water over everyone’s travel plans. So when the rains relent, you can hit the road, of course without telling anyone, to scale the mountains of Vazhayoor and get lost in the early morning mist.
As the purpose of the journey is to get cocooned in the rather nippy early morning mist, one has to reach Vazhayoor before the sun touches the eastern horizon. On the way, one could see drivers with heavy eyelids driving vehicles to Vazhayoor.
The drive on the national highway from Kozhikode to Ramanattukara just before dawn breaks is quite exhilarating. From the bypass connecting Ramanattukara one has to take left and enter the road to Karipur. The road will become deserted after reaching 11th mile junction via Vaidyarangadi and make sure your navigation map is on as there will be no one in the vicinity to ask for directions.
While driving to Peringavu, one could see children walking towards a local madrasa and after passing Cherukavu PHC one has to negotiate an undulating road.
Hills up ahead
One could see a mud road on the right while reaching the hilly terrain. A tea shop sits pretty on the side of the road and the boundary wall of the Horizon International School could also be seen. You can park your vehicle and have a cup of tea from the shop run by local resident Suryanarayanan who opens his modest outlet quite early. After a piping hot tea, you can proceed on foot through the path naturally paved with gravel and round stones. While walking through the rough track you may see people on bikes having fun from off-road riding.
First rays' flush
As the clock ticks to 6 am, you are almost there to revel in the magic of nature. Tall grass will grace you on both sides of the pathway as you trek to the top. A hill covered in lush greenery with a dash of red mud pathway is up ahead. There are no trees or houses on both sides of the walkway. If you can reach the hills at the break of dawn, you can see the charm of nature slowly waking up at its own pace. As you reach the top of the hill, five to 10 rock stones would greet you and the pathway ends there.
Feel the caress of mist
A hazy fog would envelop the hills and one would get the golden opportunity to see the mist descending like cotton rolls. And suddenly one could also see the thick mist disappearing into thin air. The sight of small clouds dotting the sky extending to the eastern horizon and the sun rays seeping through the clouds is simply alluring. The cold mist moving upwards from the valley would hug the hills time and again. The air would be quite nippy but to the relief of the visitors, the mist would suddenly float away to the western side. From the top, one could see planes landing on the airstrip of Karipur airport.
The sight of houses in the valley being enveloped in thick fog is surreal. The chirping of the birds from the valley also resonates in the air. People probably started to flock to the hilltops early in the morning to view the sunrise after the release of the Malayalam movie ‘Charlie’ in which the protagonist enjoys the thrill of being in the midst of mist on the quaint Meesapulimala peak.
The hill that provides breathtaking views from the top is Vazhayoor in Malappuram district in Kerala but it also shares borders with Kozhikode district. Apart from pristine natural beauty, what makes Vazhayoor appealing is that reasonably healthy people can trek to the top without any hassles.
Sign off with black tea and snacks
As you trek down you can have a cup of strong black tea and crunchy snacks from Suryanarayanan’s tea shop to rejuvenate yourself. Many tourists visit the Vazhayoor hill, which is known as poor man’s Ootty, on Sundays. As a matter of fact, the viewpoint at Vazhayoor is not 'poramboke' land but owned by private players, according to Suryanarayanan. Later the hills may be divided among private people and till then the Vazhayoor hills would stand tall to enthral the backpackers with unique natural beauty, he adds.