Nagalapuram/7, 19 Oct 2008

Monday, December 15, 2008
The number that got flicked!*
Usually I wakeup on a trek day on the sound of my phone alarm, today was different thanks to the call from Vivek at 4:30 am, “Radha, can you please come to Tidel, we are short of cars?” I curse him mentally and say “Dude am in Kodambakkam why don’t you ask someone else or catch a rick and come over, we can meet up at Koyambedu”. Effects of waking up early in the morning are never good .
The next time I meet Vivek it was 6 am at Koyambedu , for those of us who are meeting him for the first time he looked like a school boy hazzled by all the travel arrangements. We exchanged a few words and started a good 30 minutes later than was planned. I was critical as usual till I planned my own trek and realized the perils and pitfalls . Thus started this one day Sunday trek!! Great thanks to Shrinidhi and Vanshika for hiring an Innova and also Gayatri for brining an extra car without which the organizers would have had to drop out some registered people, and therefore not a single one was left out due to lack of space. The trend has continued and matured and soon we would be seeing buses hired.

We had the usual and not so usual adventures on the way vehicles taking different routes, picked up the Doctor from NH 5, yes a real one, tea in a teashop while getting the busted step knee fixed for the hired car. After following the usual amount of driving we reach our Parking tree, soon vehicles clobber for who would park close to the shade.
The day was forecast with possible rains but the weather was beautiful cloudy and not so sunny. Soon food, drinks and power (AKA Mr. Glucose) gets distributed and the walk towards the dam starts. We are a mixed group of people with many first timers who are not very used to trekking. The walk down the dam was a bit daunting for some of us, but together we brave the first hurdle and move on. Soon we come towards the first water source and the early comers get in and take a dip and the fun starts right away.

Soon Vivek realized that 10 people were missing, he leaves the backpack and goes hunting for them all the way back to the temple and finally brings them back with him. Having waited enough time we dig in and gobble up food and complete our breakfast. This being an easy trek we all take a long time here and soon Vivek was working his larynx and we all start walking behind him.

The hide and seek starts again, this time some four people go missing, I was one of those rogues. We were a bit fast and soon over take the group, get excited and decide to go to the first pool way ahead of the team and have fun and wait for the rest to come by. It was a nice climb and one of us had been there in the previous trek and this prodded us on, so finally we reach the pool and get in and had the pool all to ourselves, a private pool in the middle of nowhere.

Soon time passed and no one was coming, we get worried and send a scout. In the meantime Vivek realized that two girls were missing and goes all the way back to the temple along with Gopanand, find some local people who were cooking biriyani and ask them if they've seen two girls, as no one has seen us they come back to find out that us culprits are playing in the water and soon we meet the rest of the gang and an even more angry Vivek (for good reason). There is a flow of silent apology and we swear to follow him for the rest of our trekking life sadly no blood oath .
By this time we had lost quite a bit of time and decide to enjoy the pool and conquer a little waterfall at one end of the pool.

Out comes a rope and life jacket out of Vivek’s oversized bag and soon we have tied the rope and people start crossing the pool and enjoy the waterfall and go on top of the slippery rocks adjacent to the waterfall. Some dive and the non swimmers watch along with a lot of jealousy. The rocks near the water fall are pretty slippery and some of us despite many a warnings and help did have a couple of falls that resulted in minor scars to take away as souvenirs of this trek. After all what good are treks without these mild bruises and scratches!!

We had an artist amongst us who sadly did not have enough time to sketch. Anitha, if you are reading this piece you owe CTC a sketch the next time . So we enjoyed like crazy for the next two hours and finish lunch and Vanshika was too nice to share her one last apple with thirty hungry wolves. The comments, laughter and camaraderie flow and we share what we have and enjoy the noon by the pool.
By now it was raining and drizzling intermittently and it was time to start the trek again, Vivek AKA Vicks has by now changed the trek plan. The new plan was to scale a small hill, and go towards our old campsite; sadly we couldn’t find it in the bad weather and decide to take another route.

So we started climbing up soon heavy rain started hiting us, we came across slippery muddy terrain and some little steep rocks which we climbed. It was as good as crossing those seven seas and mountains as in fairy tales! The small hills were covered with beautiful green grass and plants, as we gained altitude the rain and the mist enhanced the beauty of the great Nagalas! We could see the mist moving in between the trees and the rain falling on the ground, some places were bright with light while others were covered by shadows of overpowering mountains, it was a wonderful sight.
As we climbed we took count of people in frequent intervals and soon after some tough and non stop climbing and helping each other climb we reach the peak of the 250 mts hill.

On the top of the hill we get a beautiful view of the Nagala mountains and we are mesmerized by the views, we share glucose between us and get ready for some photo sessions and group shots. Thanks to the constant heavy rain we didn’t feel the thirst, no one complained of lack of water! Almost all of us were like wet ducks on land! The way up was too steep and so Vicks led us through another route down.

Downhill though easy, always require more skills than uphill and can be trickier on a rainy day, more so without a trekking shoe. Some of us had a difficult time getting down but this was also the most interesting part of the trek and compensated for the lack of trekking excitement.

Till this time the trek was more of a picnic but here is when it became a lot more interesting. The group took care of each other, girls and guys were being helped by the nimble folks and Vicks was leading the way. We all wanted to reach the cars before the darkness fell, we go through thorny bushes, more and more slippery rocks, and some big rocky surfaces, in some of these places we use our sitting technique and sit and slide along these surfaces. Soon the darkness hits us and torches come out, more people scream wait wait wait … and head counts happen more frequently to ensure all are together and are close and safe.
Soon we hit the first water source and take the customary dip and start towards the dam, climb the rocks take some more photos, change our clothes and get on the cars only to find that the couple of the cars battery had run out.

One of the cars decide to get going. It was decided that the car with the bad battery has to be push started, people brainstormed and finally decision was to tow it all the way back to the road with our pool rope and push start the car – executed to perfection! It was 10 by now and was raining pretty heavily and the cars start moving in the rain, the gang decide to settle for local puri’s and dosa’s on the way for dinner as there won’t be any dinner by the time we reach Chennai. With stomachs filled we finally reach Chennai by around 11 30 pm and complete yet another wonderful trek and wait for more to come the next week, the days of parallel treks have started!
write-up contributed by Radha

Image Library:
Sajeesh C

Vivek Yadav, Dhruva, Vetri, Shrinidhi Hande, Gopanand SrinivasaRao, Piyush Neema, Vanshika Sriniv, Vijay Chidri, Pritesh Saurabh, Priya , M.Narayanan, Santhosh Kumar, Prasanna Pandian, Anitha, Gopal, N S Aun Prasad, C.Sajeesh, Hema, Santosh Singh, Sunita, Saurabh Singhal, Jeevanandam, Radha Viswanathan, Satish Balasubramanian, Ramchandar S, Raghavendra, Amarnath Subramani, Gayatri, Yash, Sulekha.

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