Nagalapuram/1, July 12-13, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008
At 5am on Saturday morning 21 like minded people came together for a common purpose. For many it was the first trek with CTC, not knowing what’s awaiting us with full of anticipation and enthusiasm we started our journey north of Chennai in three cars and an overslept biker joined us later on. We crossed the border and reached a small village named Nagalpuram. It was a hot day, no sign of dark clouds anywhere, the sun was pouring it’s infra generously on us. Backpacks loaded with supplies, minds full of expectation we started walking towards the foot of the mountain that we were going to conquer.

We walked passed fields belonging to the local villagers through a temporary road which had thick tyre prints. We reached a man made hill full of slipping rocks. Everything was so brown, only patch of green ever to be seen was in some of our t shirts and bags; air was full of dust clearly showed the ill face of development. Are we at the right trail? The thought crossed all our minds when we went up the slippery man made hill. When we reached the top, answer to the above question was right in front of us. I looked so small from the place we started now it stood like a giant dressed in green.

As we entered into the forest, it’s our turn to laugh at the sun as its rays could not enter the thickness of the forest. In the middle of nowhere there was a small temple, it was the forest god I think. We regrouped near a small stream next to it. “Stay with the group”, “don’t get lost” were the instructions given to all. I realised the value of those instructions as we started following the stream up hill. Thick dense bushes made it very difficult to see each other even at a ten meter distance. As there was no path put prior to this we had to cut our own way through the bushes. In this process initially we met with several dead ends before we could figure out an up stream.

The stream was getting bigger and wider every meter and the path became rockier since we had to walk in the middle of the stream. The path was no more flat we had to jump rock to rock to proceed forward. Now we are well inside the forest with a slow cool flowing all around us, the water flow became faster and we knew that we are not too far from a pool full of crystal clear water. There it was on the other side of huge rock crystal clear mountain water waiting for us. White water was descending from a height made the pool purer every second. It was time to hydrate ourselves but most of us did not risk jumping into ice cold water so we took one step at a time into the pool.

It gives me goose bumps even now when I think about it. Everything freezes at this moment, no sense of time; neither remembers the past nor care about the future. Its now and it’s was right there in front of us for taking. We had to leave the pool because we had a long way ahead of us. Our path started inclining as we started going up hill with the stream. Mother Nature wanted to test the endurance within us so she decided to greet us with slipping rocker and thorny bushes. Our hands and legs started crying with red tears but it was not going to stop as from reaching the top.

With the help of a local we reached a bigger pool and reached a dead end, there were two huge hills on both sides of the pool and they were almost at a ninety degree angle. Giving up was not on the agenda that day so we decided to climb up. After spending some time having lunch and trying to figure out a route we decided to keep right. We selected a point to climb up but we had swum quite a distance to reach the point. For the sake of non swimmers we had to tie a rope to the climbing point. Leaving our bags and shoes most of us had to “swim a tight rope” to reach there. I was quite a task pulling all the heavy bags full of water up a cliff.

Yet again we were greeted with sharp rocks and thorns till we reached the top. Once we reached we realised that this path was not going to take us where we aimed. The hill that we planed to climb was right opposite to us. This hill that hills it’s all the same. It was going to get dark in few hours so we had to locate a camping point the local who came with us took us to a place where they generally stay when they come up here to collect grass for making brooms. Only then we realised that there was another easy route to this place. It was a relief to know that our way back the next day was not going to be as difficult as the climb. We had a good view from the cliff, surrounded by hills.

We just few hours before dark went exploring the path that we were going to take the next day. We hit jackpot for the third time on that day “pool number three “. Long hard day with all that climbing, sweat, dehydration, exhaustion etc... We found the medicine all these, one of the best dips in my life. The day ended the day with cup noodles, soup and uno. Under the stars we slept like dead logs. “Wake up guy’s time to leave “that’s what woke us up the next day. A dreamless night, even our thoughts got tired by trying to gasp all that beauty I thing. It was 6.30am Sunday morning.

With bread and jam in our backpacks we started that days climbing. Once again we kept with the stream, crossing the pool where we took the dip on the previous evening we jumped rock to rock till we reached a tall vertical rock, it was a small waterfall. We started climbing on the left side to the fall. Again inclined path with loose rocks very dense this time cutting a path required extra effort. We had to be careful of every step that we took; rocks came down rolling whenever we kept our feet down. Soon we came across a huge vertical rock. That’s it dead end so we had to quit this side of the stream.

So we decided to go back to stream and try climbing on the other side. On our way back to the stream we actually forgot the way we took when we climbed. We went down a vertical rock using a rope, twice in two days. It was already 10.30 in the morning and it was time for breakfast. Bread, jam and a small nap we started went downstream to find a less steep place to climb up. We found one very soon, rocky barren landscape with less vegetation. We had to hold on to the plants while because it was very slippery all the way up. Our part became steeper every few meters till we reached a bigger rock which did not allow us to climb any further. That’s it we reached 400+ meters above level.

Magnificent view, lush green mountains all around us, Chill Mountain air on our salty faces, from up here everything seemed very quite. We spent some time absorbing the beauty before starting the return journey. We let most of the work to gravity while going down. Reached the camp, packed our bags and started the return journey. We heard peter saying “lets not waste time, we have a pool waiting for us” the thought of another swim energised our weak bodies. Around 5pm in the evening we reached the pool that we bathed on the first day. WOW is the word, this time it was better that the last time. The best ever bath I had in my life. It was getting dark so we left reluctantly, another long walk to the cars.

Participants: Divya, Peter, Balaji, Paneesh, nandikesh, Sreekumar, Rahul, Anand , Hrusikesh, Ram Prasad, Sasikumar, Mahipal, Pradeep, Sunil, Raj Mohan, Vinod, Subodh, Binita, Vivek, Prasanna.

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