March 14 2009 5 AM - While all ordinary souls were deep asleep 22 CTCians packed their backpacks and left home.
Destination - CTC's very own Nagala hills - Home away from home.
Little were we aware of the fun and adventure that was in store for us in the mystical and magical hills of Nagalapuram. Though the start was a bit delayed everyone could sense the excitement in the air. The question on everybody's mind - "Will this trek live up to my expectations?" After gathering people from the first two pick up points we reach Koyembedu at around 5.45AM. Traffic had already started building up. Arul and me decide not to waste anymore time. We asked Raghu to take everyone to the usual hotel at Periyapalayam for breakfast while we waited for Madhu to join us. After sometime we notice a blue Maruti Esteem racing in with a young lady behind the wheels. After getting introduced we hop on and start an exciting drive towards Nagalapuram. On the way I call up Raghu and tell him that we may reach the hotel before he reaches (though we started late). And the reply on the other end is "Dude, are you coming by a helicopter?" By the time we reached the hotel at Periyapalayam I could see people getting out of their cars. They had just reached as well. Maybe I did come in a helicopter. One that flew on the roads!
We finish breakfast, pick up packed lunch and resume the journey towards our ultimate destination. After stopping for a while to fix a flat tyre we reach our ultimate destination. We parked our vehicles a little ahead of the temple and got ready for action. Food was distributed and some quick instructions were given. We proceeded towards the woods leaving behind civilization and comfort. Ready to challenge our limits and in the process discover our true potential.
The plan was to take the same route as of Nagala 9. After walking for a while along a stream we reach the first pool. I was surprised at how much the water had reduced from last time. After taking a dip in the cold water we proceed on our journey to reach a beautiful water falls. Again the water here had reduced from last time but it was still cool and refreshing. After a quick dip here we proceed on to climb up a small hill and start walking along a stream. We had lunch in a drier part of the stream and start walking again towards the 300M waterfalls. Very soon we start ascending the hill en route the falls. It was late evening already and the climb was tough. This was the real test of the day and team passed it with relative ease. By the time we reached the top of the hill it was dark. We were planning to cook for the night and there wasn’t enough water. I turned to Arul for ideas. He took me up a rock formation and from the top explained the terrain stating that we should be able to find water if we walk for some more time as the 300M water fall was close to this hill. But we may have to walk for a long time before we hit a water point as the streams had started to dry up.
We decide to scout out the stream near the hill for water and if we did find water we would cook for the night. We take the team close to the stream ask them to wait there while four of us go out to check if there is water nearby. We start walking along the stream and again I was surprised to find this place dry. There was so much of water flowing all over this stream during Nagala 9. After walking for a while along the stream Arul and Gowri decide to go some more distance to check if there is water. They leave with the empty bottles while Maele and I wait in the middle of the dry stream. After sometime they return with the elixir of life, which means we could have maggi noodles for the night.
We take the team to a flat part of the hill and settle down for the night. Though everyone was tired the spirits were high and people were busy, some collecting firewood, some setting up the kitchen and some taking rest after a tiring day. Since our water reserves were a bit low we decided to cook magi with limited water. But still it tasted awesome and all of us had our fill. After a sumptuous dinner we went to sleep. it was a great feeling. Lying down on top of the hill and gazing at the stars, away from all the hustle and bustle of the concrete jungle. In complete peace and tranquility.
Its 7 AM in the morning and people are up already. We slowly got ready and started on our journey for the day we climb a local peak nearby and enjoyed some breathtaking views of the hills around. After a small photo session we moved on to the stream and started walking towards the 300M water falls. We stop a few meters before the falls and proceed to the end with just the magi packets and water bottles to cook breakfast. In between we had a useful session from Arul on the basics of rock climbing. We reach near the water falls and find a small pool with adequate water. We set up kitchen and start preparing breakfast. This time its true noodles cooked with generous amount of water we use a flat rock as a dining table cum plate with people eating directly out of it. Believe me maggi noodles never ever tasted better.
While people were having breakfast Arul scouted out the surrounding terrain and decided to take a short cut to avoid too much of ascents and descents. We finish our brunch and climb up the hill adjacent to the waterfalls after walking for a while along the edge we come to a steep descent. This would be one of the most challenging descents in recent treks and it really tested everyone’s abilities. Loose rocks, thorny bushes and a few vertical drops made it all the more challenging. The final stretch near the stream had to done with a rope (more for mental support than physical). By the time we reached the stream at the bottom it was evening. Boy, that was one hell of a descent but we sure did save a lot of time taking this route. After a cool dip in the stream we started following it downhill and reached the falls we had seen the previous day. People enjoyed bathing in the falls and diving into the pool. Even non swimmers dared to dive in. Why fear when Julien is near. He pulled out quite a few of us non simmers out of the water.
Soon we started on the last leg of our journey and after walking for sometime we realized that we had taken a wrong turn somewhere and ended up near the top of the first pool we encountered on the previous day. We climb up a small hill along the side, take a detour and reach the pool. From there we take the same route we had taken the previous day. It was already dark and we were walking with our torches on running behind each other in a single file. We almost reached the edge of the forest and started looking for a trail that could take us to the dam directly. After searching in the dark for sometime we managed to find a trail that took us straight to the dam. It was 9.30 PM and we had accomplished what we had set out to do in true CTC style. Exhausted, tired and above all satisfied with the accomplishment we got into our cars and started our journey back to the concrete jungle and the four walls we call home. We stopped en route to feast on some parotaas and omelets. All of us hit the city around 1 AM Monday morning. And I have no doubt in my mind that this trek would have met if not exceeded the expectations of all the participants.
This trek had a relatively small group of participants (22) and in a way that helped the group to gel together very well with everybody volunteering at one stage or other. I would like to thank a few people for their timely help and support.
Raghuveer – CTC’s very own cool dude. Just one phone call and he got the food organized for the whole trek and chipped in with helping manage the accounts.
Sujai and Senthil – For covering the tail and ensuring that nobody was left behind.
Gowrishankar, Maele and Julien – For scouting and exploring the trails ahead of the group.
A special thanks to Julien for pulling non swimmers like me out of the water.
Sudhir and Bindu – They stayed in the middle and maintained contact with the front and tail of the group ensuring everyone was together. You are an amazing couple.
Atul, Ganesh and Mohan – For feeding a hungry group with some delicious noodles with limited resources.
All the drivers – Murali, Manoj, Ashwin, Mohan and Madhu – for driving responsibly and taking everyone back home safe.
Amazing Arul – An excellent terrain navigator, rock climber and a true leader. Without him this trek would not have been possible.
In all it was a good show put up all the participants.
Organized by: Arul