Nagari Hill Climb (attempt), June 14-15, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008
This weekend's trek reminded me of the movie "The Beach" with Leonardo Dicaprio… A small, hidden paradise - a beautiful valley and virgin lake, a well kept secret protected from the outside world by a circular range of majestic mountains in the Eastern Ghats.

We started with 31 trekkers (around 10 new and 21 fresher-s) at 5am on Saturday with 5 cars and 4 bikes along our usual route towards North of Chennai. We stopped for breakfast, packed our lunch and 90 water bottles (3l per head) on the way and lost some time in trying to locate the correct route to the entry point of the valley. My memory is not what it used to be but I believe we finally reached the valley around 12pm driving through some scenic, off-road stretches in rural Andhra.

Here the actual "trek" started – we proceeded with our vehicles over a 10km long, deserted, narrow jeep track similar to Tada - sand, rocks, dense bushes on both sides, periodically a crossing knee-deep water streams, surrounded by high peaks on all sides. We passed a large lake with clear water surrounded by bamboo bushes and bounded by a dam on one side. The road was very rough on proved a stressful task for the drivers and vehicles. We took our lunch in a shady spot near a crystal clear stream and refilled our water reserves. Eventually, towards the end of the valley, the road started going up and became too rough for the vehicles to proceed so we parked them, distributed the luggage and food and proceed on foot. Until then we had encountered not a living soul except for a few cows and a tractor.

We were lucky - the climate was cool, the clouds blocking the summer sun. We proceeded along the jeep track until we reached some buildings from where we followed a smaller trail towards a temple. We passed two temples built inside steep mountain gorges from where clear water was flowing down from the hills and we could refill our bottles. Near the second temple there was a 50 feet waterfall with a deep, cold water pool at the bottom which would provide a welcome refreshment during our return. Here is where the "real trek" started.

Meanwhile the clock was indicating 3pm and we started climbing up along the waterfall following a small stream flowing down from the hill through a deep gorge surrounded by high vertical rocks on both sides. The terrain was steep, soft forest underground with big rocks spread around and small trees and vegetation blocking the path. We had to cross the stream periodically to proceed forward. Although others before us had followed the same path, the trail was not clearly visible so we proceeded based on our sense of direction. This was a very scenic trekking environment - beautiful, isolated and peaceful.

Some of the group went fast ahead while others helped the less experienced trekkers at the back. At one junction we had to rescue someone who had diverted along in the wrong way. After a climbing for around 3 hours we reached a flat plateau suitable to set up our camp for the night. We set up some tents and plastic sheets to protect us in case it would start raining. Fortunately it did not rain. After realizing that we had carried a 2-3kg empty gas tank all along the way ;-) we set up a cooking fire using branches and started making the chef's special - cup-o-noodles and tomato soup. Our remaining water reserves were limited but sufficient. Everyone had a wonderful sleep at an altitude of 500m with a cool, dry climate and enjoyable breeze. In the morning we got up around 6:30am and spent nearly 1 hour visiting nearby viewpoints from where we could see the large, scenic, green valley through which we can drove and climbed up. It was "group snap" time.

As we were out of water we decided not to climb up further to the original target peak as it would have still taken several hours to reach + a quick reconnaissance mission revealed that there were no nearby water sources. The water flowing down the mountain stream we climbed had disappeared underground nearly 1 hour before we reached the camp site. So the group proceeded back down along the same trail. Reaching the second temple most jumped inside the crystal clear water pool which might have possibly been the best experience of the trek while some others were taking breakfast (bread and jam) nearby.

We easily spent 1-2 hours in this cool place before resuming back around 11:30am. We reached the back at the cards around 1pm and proceeded along the same rough jeep trail back to the lake at the entrance of the valley where everyone again jumped inside this virgin body of water surrounded by bamboo bushes all around and majestic peaks bordering the horizon on all sides. Except for one group of scouters and a few locals we did not meet anyone during our trek. This valley remains a well kept secret from the outside world which probably explains why it is still so beautiful and un-littered.

On a relative scale I would rate the trek difficulty as average plus and the beauty/experience as high. CTC will definitely return to this undiscovered paradise to complete its original mission.


Report by Prashansa:

This was to be my second trek with the CTC after having visited tada mountains earlier on. My sister Priyanka was keen to be a part of a trek this time and I was happy to have her company. Both of us started from our home at 5 35 am, the reporting time was 5 45 am and the place was very close to our house. We were waiting at the pick up spot for a long time, talking about how this trek was going to be, who all were going to come, what to expect etc. Once Peter and the others came to the pick up spot at 6 15, we were surprised to notice that fellow trekker Lavanya was also waiting close to us with her father. We were asked to sit in the IKON and we introduced ourselves to Narayan, Supriya, and Lavanya.

On our way to Olluru, we stopped at a roadside hotel to have a heavy breakfast. We chose from Pongal, Idly, Vada and Dosa, and also had hot coffee and tea to add to it. On our way, we enjoyed looking at the various peaks of the Eastern ghats. The beautiful weather added to the scenic beauty of the entire place. Our way to the base of the Olluru peak, from where we could start the actual trek, was not easy. The path was rugged at places, with huge boulders, stones, sand, and streams cutting by it. 31 trekkers were spread out in 5 cars – 3 Santro cars, one IKON and one Scorpio.

Except the Scorpio, the other cars had trouble at different parts of the journey in moving to the trek-start point.The Scorpio would lead in the front, and the other cars would follow close behind it. However, since the other cars didn't have a good ground clearance, we had to constantly encounter problems. We stopped near a stream for lunch, as it was almost 1 pm and everyone was hungry. After the lunch that we had packed from the hotel in the morning, we proceeded along the rugged track and finally managed to reach the trek-start point by around 2 pm. The other cars were parked where ever we found place.

We started our trek pretty late, due to the problems we had in getting to the trek-start point. We walked along the path and slowly started walking uphill. We climbed steep steps and then again descended into the valley to a spot where there was a temple, a waterfall and a small pond. We walked up, alongside the waterfall. It was quite slippery and it took quite some time to get all the trekkers to the other side. We walked up the hill along the stream that was the source of the waterfall. I had cramps during the last stretch of the climb and Amal gave me first aid, also with a huge dose of motivation to finish the climb without which I would not have made it to the night base area.

The others had gone up much before me and since we had started the trek late, we didn't have time to go up to the peak as it was close to sunset by the time the first batch found the night base area, which was a flat surface. Once all the trekkers got to the night base area, the guys put up the tents, just to have a shelter in case it rained that night. When it came to dinner, we realized that we were carrying an empty gas cylinder all the way up. Thankfully, since it didn't rain, we were able to collect dry sticks and make a fire. Supriya pitched in with the cooking and made cuppa noodles, soup and we also passed around some biscuit packs among us.

By the time it was around 11 pm, the clouds had vanished and we happily slept under the stars. The next morning, everyone got up by 6 am and we all tooks photos for the blog. We started our descent after the photo session, and dismantling the tents and packing our stuff. The path downhill was more difficult than uphill as it was very slippery and there were many loose boulders to encounter. On our way down, we found the spectacular path the stream was taking cutting across the mountain, and also discovered a beautiful small little pond and a cave next to it.

We reached the waterfall spot in about 2 hours and then all of us jumped into the pond and had loads of fun swimming and playing in it. After that, we continued our walk back to the trek start point, where the Scorpio was parked. All of us dumped our bags in the Scorpio and walked to our respective cars. It took us almost 2 hours to come back near the lake which we had seen the previous day. The best part of the journey back was that there were about 6-7 trekkers hanging onto the Scorpio, with about 8 people stuffed inside it!

We all took a break at the lake, with most of the trekkers jumping into it as well. 5 trekkers left in their car after some time. 3 girls with 3 bikers also left soon after that and reached home by 9 pm. The others drove back to Chennai and had dinner together and then dispersed to their respective homes after a wonderful trek to Olluru


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Participants: Amal, Anand, Ankur, Balaji, Divya, K.S.Prashansa, K.V.S.Priyanka, Karthik, Lavanya, Madankumar, Maharajan, Mahesh, Narayanan, Partha, Peter, Pramod, Rahul, Ramesh, Rounak, Sabith, Sai Krishnan, Samyak, Sarathkumar, Sathya, Shriram, Srinivasan, Sreekumar, Srikanth, Supriya, Varun, Vivek, Yamank.

Trail in Google Earth


anrb on: July 14, 2008 at 3:16 AM said...

Hi Guys,

Great job. Its so nice to see people taking time out from their hectic schedule to make it happen.

Please go through this site

this is my travel log


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