Mission Dead For Sure 3 - DFS/3, December 25, 2009 to January 3, 2010

Tuesday, January 12, 2010
DFS/3 (Dec 25 – Jan 3) Participants: Peter, Arpitha, Ford Bala, Gowri, Guna, Vel
DOA/8 (Dec 25-27) Participants: Aditya, Ajay, Alfonso, Balaji Seshan, Balakrishnan Vinchu, Kannan, Karthick Sundararajan, Naveen, Roseline, Sagar, Vel, Vikram
DOA/9 (Jan 1-3) Participants: Aditya, Gopal, Karmuhilan, Max, Palanidaran, Pradeep, Ravi Ghosh, Sujai, Vinod Varghese
Organized by: Peter
Image Galleries: DFS/3: Peter | Guna DOA/8 – Naveen | Vikram | Kannan DOA/9 - Max Comer | Vinod
Writeups by: Peter, Guna

Writeup by Peter

Trail highlights of the 10 day DFS/3 survival mission:
On day 0 night we entered Venkateswara through the Western side around 10km North of Talakona using two rented jeeps. We were dropped near the last village from where we proceeded along a trail which got us through the initial dense bushes and up the mountains. We entered a new dry stream and proceeded downstream towards the DOA3 gorge/falls. As we proceeded more side streams merged and the amount of running water in the stream increased. At many places the water was yellowish, not sure why. At one place we met an old jeep trail which crossed the stream connecting the West and East of Venkateswara. Towards the late afternoon we encountered our first dead-end - a 50m high vertical waterfall (f1) around 1km before the actual DOA3 gorge/falls. We climbed up on the right side of the valley to circumvent this road block. A few hundred meters further away we descended back into the valley through a side stream. The side stream itself became a dead-end with a vertical drop offering an awesome view on the valley/gorge (g1) 100+m below. We decided to set up day 1 camp here.
On day 2 we proceeded along a gradual descending slope which got us back into the main valley/stream. Here we discovered a large pool (p1) with sliding falls and attached cave. After a dip in the yellow water we entered the narrow gorge (g1) downstream which took us in 300m to the top of the DOA3 falls (f2) which is vertically drops 100+m into a narrow gorge (g2) below impossible to descent from any place nearby. Next, we trekked 500m upstream above the cave pool (p1) inside a deep valley swimming through three pools until we reached the bottom of the first falls (f1). This place was awesome - two parallel, vertical, warm falls dropping into a big, chill pool (p2) down below.
The mission proceeded towards the entry of the DOA3 gorge (g2) by climbing outside the valley towards the campsite and from here further climbing up on the right side mountains. We walked across the grassy mountain tops until we had reached high above the entrance of the DOA3 gorge from where we attempted to descent back into the main valley towards the DOA3 day 2 camp site along a steep grassy slope. We succeeded dropping altitude to a large extent until we (Aditya, myself) got stuck on near vertical drops which made it impossible to climb down further. We decided to climb up again and trek further along the mountain tops and descent into the valley using a side stream. A few hundred meters further we discovered and entered a side stream in the evening and started our 2nd attempt to enter the main valley. We climbed down the steep, dry side stream for several hundred meters until we (Bala, myself) eventually got stuck again at a vertical drop. Once again we climbed up along the side stream towards the top of the mountains and proceeded further in parallel with the main valley.
This time we targeted to enter a major side valley on the Google Maps that would probably get us gradually into the main valley - orthogonal on the side valley. Along the way we followed a trail for some time. Soon darkness set in and after a third attempt to descent which again was blocked by a too vertical slope we decided to set up day 2 camp site on top of the mountains. We were running short of drinking water but - being quite exhausted - it made sense to halt and take rest and proceed towards the valley and drinkable water the next day.
We got up nearly morning on day 3 (DOA8 team had to exit) and soon got into a side-stream which would get us into the side valley. This side-stream again main a steep vertical drop towards the end and forced us to climb once again and enter the side valley along a gradual slope on the opposite side of the valley. As soon as we reached the bottom of the side valley we found drinkable water to everyones pleasure. We proceeded downstream along several steep drops - the side valley get more and more narrow - until we (Aditya, myself) finally got stuck again on yet another near vertical drop along this side valley. Dam! This was the sixth dead end we had encountered so far preventing further progress. I climbed further above the valley floor and noticed a possible exit further away. Accompanied by Gowri and Guna, we went ahead on a reconnaissance trek to verify the finding. We climbed along semi-steep grass lands until we were able to reach the top of a neighboring hill which gradually descended into the main DOA3 valley. Yes! We had finally made it after a full day of trial and error.
Two hours later the entire team was back into the main valley around 2km beyond the DOA3 gorge which we now dropped from our plan due to lack of time. We proceeded downstream and a few hundred meters further we entered another, beautiful gorge (g3) with ended into a large pool (p3) where we had to ferry back packs and non-swimmers. After this the valley suddenly widened and we proceeded across flat valley filled with boulders. Towards the late afternoon we decided to part ways with team DOA8 which would proceed straight along the valley to exit the mountains near Orampadu. Team DFS3 climbed up on the right side of the valley to take a short cut through a neighboring side valley towards the main DOA1 valley. We again discovered and proceeded along an old jeep trail until we found flat rocks and running water to set up camp for day 3 before darkness set in.
We proceeded upstream along a gradually ascending, small stream which eventually dried up and took us to the top of the mountains. From here we continued under a hot sun over the grassy slopes straight South for several kilometers till we reached an old jeep track (same one we crossed on day 1). Not much further we discovered a watch tower and the ruins of an old forest guest house in scenic surroundings. We continued further for some time along this abandoned jeep trail until we diverted towards a stream that would get us into an isolated valley which connects to the DOA1 valley. The dry stream was like from a fairy tale - paved with beautiful pink tiles over its entire length enclosed in a thick bamboo jungle. Suddenly we stood face to face with a black bear 50m ahead of us. I did not not move and waited for his reaction - would he be running towards us or get away? A black bear is a ferocious looking animal with great power and claws. Several seconds passed before he decided to run of. Probably other bears might be around. We decided to quickly proceed further downstream and leave this dense bamboo jungle.
Yet again we encountered a dead end (7th one) - a 100+m waterfalls (f3). Guna and Gowri went ahead to search for a way down. We were able to climb down on the left side of the falls holding onto roots and branches of trees. We followed the stream which had several smaller falls as it entered into the widening valley. Before darkness we reached the bottom of the valley and found a nice campsite with flat rocks along the stream surrounded by wide, open grass lands. The end of day had come.
We got up early on day 5 and proceeded without breakfast to stay ahead of the hot sun. We walked along patches of open grass land, dense bamboo and bushes. The numerous elephant dung, different type of foot prints and digging of holes (searching for roots) pointed to the ominous presence of wild life in this large, isolated valley. At some places we were following an old, unused jeep trail which at times disappeared again. After several kilometers we reached the other side of the valley and proceeded along a dry stream. The stream lead us to another dead end (8th vertical block) - a 30m high falls (f4) inside a narrow gorge. The presence of long (15+m) roots along the vertical side walls allowed us to climb up on the right side of the falls. Back packs were pulled up separately using our climbing rope. The 30m near vertical climb was quite tricky and brought us to the top of the falls. We now continued upstream till we again reached the open grass land on top of the mountains.
From here we got a clear view on the DOA1 valley deep down below. After communicating our position through GSM we descended along steep grass lands into the DOA1 valley. Target of the day was the cave pool. Before that however we decided to explore a huge side-valley cut deep into the surrounding mountains. The 500m long valley was filled with huge boulders and amazing rock formations. A waterfall (f5) dropped down from 200m above along an enormous vertical rock wall and mystically dissolved in thin air after 50m. What a beautiful sight! As we reached the end of the side-valley we discovered the largest falls (f6) in CTC's history - a 200m long, vertical falls dropping into a big pool (p4) filled with ice cold water (lack of sun light inside this deep, narrow valley).
After a swim and extensive photo and video coverage we proceeded back to the main DOA1 valley, upstream towards the cave pool following a winding, used jeep trail. Darkness set in just before we reached the temple and the sound of falling boulders and moving bushes surprised us pointing to the presence of larger wildlife. We circumvented whatever was nearby and after climbing over large boulders we finally hit the biggest pool in CTC's history - the cave pool (p4) - where we set up camp for day 5.
Day 6 morning started with some swimming in the cave pool and the gorge (g4) and falls at the end of the same pool. Instead of climbing up left of the valley to get beyond the gorge we decided to give it a shot on the right side. Here we discovered a gradually ascending side-stream which soon took us high above the main valley. Around 50m below the top of the surrounding mountains we got stuck again (9th time) due to vertical rocks which became too tricky too climb (Guna, Gowri, Vel).
No problemo, after enjoying the awesome valley view below us, we descended back to the cave pool and climbed up along the usual right side to get above the gorge (g4). After a steep climb back into the main valley we proceeded for a few hundred meters until we reached the big "cross" (intersection of DOA1 valley with huge side-valley). One side of the cross had already been explored during DFS1. The other side however was unknown territory.
We decided to explore the same and followed the side-stream that came out of this 2km long valley. We proceeded for around 500m until we hit a 10m high falls (f7) which was impossible (too slippery) to climb. Guna, Gowri and myself climbed up on the left side along some tricky, slippery, vertical rocks towards the top of the falls. From here we proceeded further upstream for a few hundred meters until the stream split into two - on the left side a dead-end and 20m high falls (f6). On the right side we were able to proceed further for another 100m until again we reached another dead end and 50m high falls (f8). A pity as this side-valley is just 3km away from Talakona and could have been the quickest approach towards the DOA1 valley. As darkness was falling we returned quickly to the DOA1 main valley where Bala, Vel, Arpitha were waiting. We proceeded further upstream crossing a big side-falls (f9) and wading through a small gorge pool until we reached a nice flat camp site along the stream to end another challenging day 6.
On day 7 we continued further upstream in the DOA1 valley passing through the "picnic" pools (p5) - some of the most beautiful and crystal clear pools in Venkateswara. We soon reached the 50m high falls (f10) near the side-stream that leads towards Talakona. We climbed up along the usual trail at the left side to reach the top of the falls. Instead of following the side-stream towards the jeep trail we proceeded further along the main DOA1 valley. Immediately another 30m step-wise falls (f11) followed which had to be circumvented through a near vertical climb on the left side (where I got hit by a rock on the forehead during DOA1 resulting in a blood covered face). The climb is quite tricky - one needs to hold on to tree branches and roots and there is a danger of loose, falling rocks. This time also, someone stepped on a big, loose rock which fell down and nearly hit Gowri and Guna.
Soon we reached above the falls and further continued upstream, straight South along the DOA1 trail. We encountered numerous pools that required either swimming or climbing across the side rocks. Twice again we reached a dead-end (12th and 13th) - a 15m fall (f12) and 5m falls (f13) which required us to climb around taking up considerable effort and time. After several kilometers the stream got flatter and finally we climbed out into the open grass land which lead us to the top of the mountains and eventually the jeep trail where we planned to meet up with team DOA9. The altitude was high (960m) and the night was cold. We were shivering in our back packs. The heat of the camp fire felt good. Our food ration had run out.
Around 9am on the 8th day we were glad to see team DOA9 approaching our camp site from the Talakona jeep trail with fresh food supplies. We initially continued further along the jeep trail. At one location we visited a view point offering splendid views on the Kalyani valley - a huge isolated valley which ends in a large lake and dam. Soon we entered a side stream again which would take us to the V4 valley. This time the stream gradually descended without significant vertical drops allowing us to quickly reach our target valley. In the late afternoon we reached the famous V6 pool (p6) were everyone enjoyed diving at various heights from the surrounding rocks.
At day 9 we continued further downstream, circumventing the thread falls (f14). After a while we discovered an old jeep trail on the left side of the valley above the stream. The jeep trail proceeded along several hair pin bends to the top of the surrounding hill. We climbed up along the jeep trail trying to discover the nearby forest guest house which we had seen on the old US army maps. We walked for several kilometers along the jeep trail but were unable to locate the guest house. We tried returning back to the main V4 valley along a parallel side-valley. We got into a side-stream that would take us to the bottom of the side-valley. The stream had several steep drops and yet again (14th) we got stuck on another vertical drop. Myself, Max and Guna climbed up along the right side slope trying to find a way around but in vain - all approaches towards the side-valley were blocked by vertical drops. So we climbed back up along the the stream and returned using the same jeep trail back to the V4 main valley.
We followed the jeep trail which further proceeded alongside the V4 valley for several kilometers until we reached another old forest watch tower. Soon the jeep trail took a diversion towards a side-valley and we entered the V6 stream again walking over boulders, through ankle deep water and through dense bushes surrounding the stream. Darkness fell soon and we continued our way for some time until we reached a beautiful camp site - a large site of flat rocks along the stream full of dry firewood. We build a huge campfire and enjoyed a sumpous dinner ending the ninth day.
On Day 10 we proceed downstream along the V6 valley until we reached our 15th dead end - a huge step-wise falls (f15) (4 levels, 100+m drop). Again, we started circumventing by climbing up the right side of the valley. We continued over the grassy mountain tops until we reached a small side stream. Myself and Guna tried reaching back to the main valley using this stream but got soon stuck on yet another 16th dead end drop. The team further continued over the hill tops for several hundred meters until we reached a larger side valley and stream. We got into the dry side-stream and proceeded downstream towards the main V6 valley. The last 100m consisted of a steep, challenging descent along near vertical rocks till we hit the bottom of the V6 valley.
Max, Aditya and myself reached first and immediately continued upstream, wading and swimming through several pools until we reached the bottom of the beautiful step-wise falls (f15) dropping into yet another big pool below (p7). After shooting numerous photos we returned downstream inside the beautiful V6 valley, deeply cut into the surrounding mountains. We met the rest of the team and we now all proceeded downstream along a widening valley walking over river boulders until we met a local goat shepperd. From here we followed a small trail which got us to the V6 dam after we walked for yet another 1 hour along a jeep trail that got us to the highway. Here jumped on a Mahindra pick up van which drove us back to Tirupathi where we enjoyed a delicious meal at hotel Bliss. It would take another several hours before we were able to find a bus which took us back to Chennai around midnight.

Writeup by Guna

The Day 1 of DFS3+DOA8
Reached some village (after Nerabayalu village it is 15 km) – i think it was Dinilai village – while traveling wind was chill – and so cold to many – food distribution was based on DOA and DFS teams. DFS team taken their 7 days of ration and DOA for 3 days. It was descent climb not so tough – bamboo forests and elephant dung all the way. After two hours we reached high lands with grasses, palm trees and small young trees which can not hide much of the things ahead. Little chances for getting lost. Trekked into some of the dense thorny bushes making uneasy trail for everyone. Almost all the streams we encountered were so muddy and non drinkable. Crossed streams with boulders, different rock formations, bushes and thorny creepers; At last we reached the first day's camp site. It was like a 50 story building of Stone Age built using shapeless rocks. One side it has breath taking views and the other sides were rocks, trees and grasslands.
The sudden and surprise Santa – Viki and the home made cake by Roseline and the two lines of Jingle bells. It was the CTC's grand Christmas celebration.
Some went for collecting water and some collected fire woods for cooking and camp fire. We stated off with soup, except the poor guy Ajay practicing yoga everyone else had hot soup. Then it was the time for CTC's master chef Naveen. He prepared delicious avalaki of lemon flavor and mixed it some masala's. It was really nice.
Then started the UNO game, some greatest hit songs, Ajay's amazing Michael Jackson's moves and fun, fun and fun then it came to an end, We all went to bed. Some got flat rocks, some got slanting one. Those slept on the slanting rocks by the they time they woke up they slid for 2 meters down.
The Day 2 of DFS3 + DOA8
Peter hurried up the team to get their backpacks ready in 10 min, count 8 minutes and 7, 6,5.... 1 min, 50 seconds, 40, 30... Could see the team rushing to get ready. After break fast we started to climb down the stream which was the actual 1st day's camp site. After we followed the stream till afternoon there came one sudden drop of 50 meters. Nothing can be done now. Peter asked Gowri and me to climb the vertical right side rocks which was densely covered by thorny creepers made our job so challenging. Ajay was trying to climb the rocks 40 meters ahead of us. After some time we found it was too tricky and time consuming. It would be a tiring job to transport the whole team and backpacks. So Peter quickly decided to withdraw. We walked back in the stream for 20 min and climbed up the rock and gradually it took us to an amazing water falls, we were swimming for 35 meters in the pool to reach the water fall. So huge and water was little muddy. There was a big cave on the right side of the pool, few of us went inside the cave it was kind of scary but explainable beauty it was. From inside the cave morning sun was opposite it in direction it was like melting silver glittering all over the pool.
After this we were started to reach the second day camp site which was of 2 km from the mega cave pool. The real dead or alive started right after here. The palm the and the grasses are tall enough to hide anyone easy it was to loose the trail. We went on and on. There came a descent.
Suddenly everyone was asked to halt, since DPS was lost. Peter and two more trekkers started searching for the GPS till the place it was last used, Peter told me to search for a trail to descent and to reach the second day camp site, I went ahead and got a descent trail but little tricky which include some amount climbing down the rocks and steep descent.
Peter & co who went in search of the GPS returned with no luck. GPS is something which makes sure the people are reaching back; there was silence for a short while. By the time Balaji Seshan (mmmuh mmmuh) woke up from his 20 min sleep and yawned one time and said Peter did not come by this trail he took deviation 2 meter away. He went searched for 20 seconds or so, took the GPS. Then the silence broken and everyone came back to normal, We started descent by the trail i saw, it took us to the half of the mountain not all the way to stream. From there Peter climbed down straight in a side stream it was almost vertical. I went 30 meters ahead and saw something could take us further down. But not sure. I came back. Peter came up. After some discussions decided to withdraw from this trail.
After 20 minutes walk, we found another stream which Adhi and Sagar went and searched till the middle of the stream, we didn't know it was a cliff after 30 meters. We tried hard to find some trail which could take us to stream but no luck. It was a tiring descent and climbed uphill and started walking in the grasslands. Real Dead or Alive started, Anyway we were signed up for this challenge.
It was avout 2 hours walk in the bushy, grasslands we were walking, walking and walking and nothing were seem to be working out. Many guys were tired, almost everyone finished off their water hours before. Thirst was un sustainable, legs were tired looking to retire for the day. But we were kept walking after at around 7:40 PM in the night we decided to camp in the middle of the grasslands which had small, small boulders in between and palm trees and some small trees. Some had an apple after offering few bites to her/his fellow trekkers. We had a 1 KG plum cake. We made 17 pieces of it. Except Poncho everyone had the cake since he was damn thirsty. Then we slept there in the grasses.
The Day 3 of DFS3 + DOA8. (Sunday)
Adhi woke up in the middle of night and woke Naveen up saying there was something looks like elephant. Actually nothing was there. Adhi was not satisfied with this and woke up Peter at 6 AM, it was too early to start trekking everybody felt. Bt we started. After walking in the grasses we saw side stream and again a cliff. Damn we hadn’t had dinner, Water ran out. Thirsty. Hunger. Tired. And we should be having our break fast now. But we had to find a way to the stream.
We climbed up the sideways and reached the bottom of the cliff. We were just in the middle of the mountain. After reaching the bottom there was some stagnated rain water on the rocks. It was super clean but drinkable. Some had it chlorine tablet some had it as it was. Had rusk and started descent. There comes another cliff. We started advancing in the side ways. I was walking with the trailing team and after some time, could see some trekkers were sitting and said Peter went on in search of the trail to stream. After sometime Peter came back, said I need two strong climbers. Gowri, Wild Kannan and I went with him without backpack. We were walking faster to catch up peter and following him. After 10 min of walk could not see Kannan, Gowri and I went on and on and after some time we reached a place were you could an amazing view of all the mountains ending there and 4 side streams joining the main stream. Man, we forgot the thirst, pain for a moment. We the rare people, the trekkers pay for it in a hard way and proud of it. Peter asked us (Gowri and I) to check for the trail in this point, this time we were decided not to come back without reaching the stream. After 20 minutes we found a trail which could take us to the stream. While coming back i had nice cut in my right ankle and it was bleeding, After 10 min had another hit on the cut. Painful it was but manageable.
We took some snap and came back to the place were other trekkers were waiting. And took them in the newly found trails. Descent was touch and so slippery. In the noon we have reached the stream. While climbing down i was thinking of the SP tea and sweet biscuits i used have in a near by shop at my living place in chennai. How simple things can become so memorable and precious after a real struggle. Don’t know how many of the real joy and happiness we forgot to see the midst of this city life.
We hit the stream, there were an amazing cliff in one part of the stream, and took some extreme snaps.
Had lunch, Roseline was stung by a vasp, it should have been a most painful event. Followed the stream and rock formations along the stream were so amazing.
After some ferrying we walked the flat river bed, evening at around 4 PM DOA8 team separated to exit and DFS3 trekkers continued their mission. Hugs advance New Year wishes and then we split.
DFS3 team is now with 6 spirited trekkers, survivors took up the challenge to explore the jungle for 10 days. We crossed the river immediately climbed other mountain in the other side. After 25 min of walk it was dense bushes and only way out left was to follow one elephant trail. Full of recent elephant dung’s. We saw one skull of a deer with huge horns still sticking to it.
We quickly reached out to our day 3 camp site. And we were so organized by ourselves. Gowri and I went to collect fire woods mainly for campfire. Since the site was infested with elephants mostly we were in the need of a lasting camp fire. We got some huge dead trees and some twigs. Quickly had soup and got ready with noodles.
Bala took over the camp fire dept and he learnt how to start the fire with small twigs and add the medium and bigger trunks later on. He mastered it and FordBala became “Fire Bala”. In the middle he slipped badly and hit the rock so hard. He explained it like it was a sharp impact on his tail bone and it reflected on his head. Now he got another name - “Bala Slips”
The Day 4th of DFS3. (Monday)
We had enough ration for rest of the 4 days. Morning 7:40 AM we had oats, with boiled channa and some rusks. Bala slipped again by the water which we cooked oats. Same tailbone and reflection on head impact. It was mostly flat walks in the grasses and Jeep tracks. 12 noon we had half of the apple each and with a energy bar. Then we walked, walked and walked. 3 PM we had mixed nuts of around 50 gms for lunch. On the way we saw two guest houses close to each other destroyed by aging.
One on the left side the jeep track and the other on the right. This place was looking so beautiful and a beautiful banyan tree spread everywhere.
After 10 minutes of walk we saw an tall, strong, rust all over but strong enough watch tower. You can see the entire valley from the watch tower. New discovery :).
We had started towards our camp site. This stream quite different from any other streams on Venkateshwara. All beautiful, small boulders of various colors. After 30 min walk suddenly the stream became so chill, you could feel that. Dense forests, all broken branches and many uprooted trees blocking the streams and ankle level rotten leaves.
It was a usual, easy walk until we encountered the black bear so close. There was silence for a second. Peter stopped. Bear looking at us. FordBala stopped we were following FordBala. Arpi, Vel and Gowri were coming behind us. Peter told us not to run and slowly started stepping back. The bear started responding and he ran to the left side of the stream and it was covered by bamboos and little above was grasslands. He was a kutty bear playing in the water without watching us and we were walking looking down at the boulders, so why the close encounter. Since he was a kutty papa bear there might be chances of Amma Karadi roaming close to us.
Peter thought of going back in the stream to get out of this danger. But it was long way to go back it was evening already, He decided to continue. I still remember he was telling to us – guys get ready anything that can tear. Some took some small knives, I took two heavy aluminum rods which is my backpack support and one Porcupines spines or quill and gave one to Gowri.
We walked further there was a cliff Peter asked me to search for the trail, Even we thought of going to the other mountain on the opposite side to climb down to the stream, before that I wanted have a try. Gowri and I and went and searched in two different descents. Gowri could not proceed further since there was a cliff again.
The place where i climbed down was tricky but doable, which includes climbing down using the tree roots too.
We reached the stream it was pinkish river beds, crystal clear water and beautiful falls. We reached our camp well before the darkness.
We made a good progress on day 4th. Covered 26 kms.
The Day 5 of DFS3. (Tuesday)
Morning sunrise so mesmerizing and grasses were shining, No where in the venkateshwara but this camp site we could here the animals/birds voices through out the night.
The shining Morning Grasses
Started without breakfast, we were walking in a valley which never ends, Yes it was the feeling we had, Bit of tiring, Thorns puncturing here and there fresh elephant's footprints everywhere made us to be alert for almost 3 hours of this valley walk. It was full of bamboo forests, lush green trees and grasses made this place a heaven for elephants. I remember Peter saying it was looking like African Jungle.
We had breakfast at around 10:30 AM some rusks. After we hit a dead end, Test for DFS souls. We were climbing 40 feet vertical rock only using the tree roots, Peter climbed first and i was following him with the rope. I bit the rope in my teeth to keep my hands free and climbed. Peter and I pulled the backpacks using a rope. Vel helped Arpitha to climb up. Fordbala with some assistance climbed up. Gowri no assistance he did it by himself.
After some walk and a tiring descent we reached the DOA4 trail. After 20 min trek, Peter wanted to explore one side stream it dry in the beginning, After 15 min of jumping over boulders to boulders we could see shades of waters and distant falls. As we approach we could see many small falls and tallest cliffs on both sides tearing the sky.
One falls disappearing in the air and the falls we named it was ice falls, no words to explain the beautify, except that it was damn cold and taking a breath was difficult in that water.

We took a dip and to see the falls right the bottom oh man, we lived the moment. As trekker I felt like heaven and the falls was smoky and straight from the sky. It could be around 200 meters high (meters not feet).
By the we hit the main stream back it was 5:30 after20 minutes of walk suddenly we could here a huge rolling stone, and something huge was jumping from one tree to another, it was certainly sensed us and we switched off our torches. We took all the knives and prepared, Peter scratching his right foot on the boulders in the jeep track and kept moving. We were at our highest alert and preparedness.
We followed the Jeep track for another 10 minutes and the same tree movements followed us. Peter said let us avoid him and we followed the stream not the Jeep track.
With all the thrill we crossed the Siva temple and sone one small climb we reached the cave pool t around 7:00 PM. The best of pools, flat rocks, footballs ground sized pools we all slept nicely we spent sometime in the in the cave pool next morning.
The Day 6th of DFS3. (Wednesday)
We started climbing the side stream which starts at the south west of cave pool camp site, we reached the peak and got stuck by a vertical rock.
No grip, no crack on the rock, no tree routes. Vel was climbing on the right, Gowri and I were trying in left with no luck. Right side seemed to be bit doable. Gowri and Vel one vertical rock and they withdrew, but I thought of giving it a try. No horizontal holds, no flat extensions to place your toe, not by pulling the body weight using arms but it was like hugging a huge tree trunk and you may get slipped, pushing one hand on the left, pulling the weight on the other hand like placing my right fist like a lizard, one leg pushing me up and the other trying to reach the top ooops! at last i reached the top, and then it was walkabe to some extent and another doable climb. My best of DFS moments, I was hearing Peter saying, only Guna can climb this.
Considering the risks and transporting the other trekkers and backpacks, no rock climbing kits and risk involves in case of error was un measurable. So we aborted the mission and dissented down to the cave pool and followed the DOA4 trail.
After one hour walk we got a side stream and we explored it, It had a nice rock climbing and we did a super fast trekking. And found a small fall on the left and other small one the right, it was so beautiful.
We hit back the main stream and followed the stream and at around 5:50 PM we reached our camp site. Moonlight was so good and slept after dinner. Noodles and soup.
The Day 7th of DFS3. (Thursday)
It was our regular DOA4 trail, we started without breakfast, after reaching non swimmers pool we had rusk. Bala had dip there. We continued to 100 meter falls. Vel, Apri and FordBala climbed up the rolling stone trail. We had a nice shower in the falls, it was so refreshing.
Then we three climbed up one by one. We took the left DOA1 trail and there comes deadly slippery climb. Vel and Arpi was climbing up in front of us. Suddenly some small rolling stones crossing us faster, 1\rolling from 10 meter height. I thought it would stop after two three stones, Vel had cut on his right leg thumb and two huge stones were rolling down and we were straight under it. Gowri little ahead of me went under a rock it had given him a good cover, the stone hit the rock and diverted to right of us. I was little outside and could not reach the rock cover since I was little far away than Gowri. Got hurt badly on two fingers and my right hand, it was bleeding for some time. Real Death For Sure – Narrow escape moments. It was paining much and put my fingers into the cold stream. Was feeling good. But I could not climb as I did the other days. We could smell the smoke of the rolling rock hitting the other rock.
This was the place where Peter got a cut on his head during DOA1, a rolling stone of fist size falling from 10 meters, can cut anything even Mr Peter Van Geit. LOL.
We went ahead of the stream two different obstacles one place it was pool Peter, Bala and Arpitha crosed by carrying the backpack on their heads. Vel, Gowri and I were climbing the side rocks and crossed it. Other obstacle was deep pool; we were all climbing the side rocks and helped each other to cross the stream.
We hit a pool which was an dead end, we had to climb up he hill and enter the grass lands and come back to the stream to see that dead pool, It was so deep, nicely shaped 20X30 meters, and clean water.
We decided to cook noodle for lunch since we would be camping at 960 meter altitude and no water there, so preferred to have nuts for dinner. After our lunch we left there and grasslands and palm trees walk. We hit the jeep track quickly and decided our camp site somewhere on the jeep track.
Except Bala and me everybody went towards north 500 meters from campsite to see a valley view. Camp FireBala lit the camp fire I were collecting the big trees for feed the fire. We were started expecting the DOA9 team eagerly.
The Day 8h of DFS3+DOA9. (Friday)
It was so cold night and early in the morning some wild cat or some animal's cub we didn't know what it was exactly kept making some sounds. We collected the firewood again and lit the fire for safety.
Except Peter everyone else woke up at 6:00 AM and looking only in the west where the DOA9 team supposed to be coming. They joined us at 9:06 AM and we started towards. New year wishes, and fresh supply of rations and some talks we started to V6 pool.
On the way to V6 pool Peter took us to Kalyani valley, no words to explain the beauty of the valley. All bamboo forests, tall huge trees, vertical rocks formations stretching for Kms and a distant lake.
We reached V6 pool before dark. There were few SLRs and some good camera's non stop photo session. V6 pool felt like heaven. Peter, Gowri and I were lifting a huge heavy tree which got stuck in the middle of the fall and it was amazing team work, i can say.
Again our another master chef of CTC Ravi S Gosh, prepared avalaki, nice soup and chettinad chicken and chicken butter masala, after 8 days of non veg fasting, oh man, it was delicious.
After some songs, some talks (censored), we were all lying next to camp fire on a slanting rock. Lighter moments.
The Day 9h of DFS3+DOA9. (Saturday)
We started our day with yummy tea we crossed the thread falls by climbing the right side of the hill and connected to the man stream. Kar, Pradeep, Ravi, Max, Gowri and I went through the down streams of thread falls and took some beautiful pics.
After carrying backpacks on head and some ferrying we got a Jeep track, which has n number of hairpin bends. We climbed uphill straight and searching for a guest house, but no luck. We went on further to reach a stream and which could eventually take us to 9th day's camp site. But there comes a cliff, vertical drop of some 100 feet. Max, Peter and I were trying in different places but nothing seems to working. We withdrew and got to the Jeep track and entered the main stream which we were started before entering the Jeep track.
We were walking inside the bamboo forests, we reached a watch tower some snaps again. Evening sun was so beautiful orange in color. . After some snaps we left from there. This walk was on the Jeep track, dense but clean bamboo forests it took us to a bushy stream. It was quite tough and thorny. We were walking no we almost running in that evening. Sun was set already it was dark, boulders in the stream was slipping like anything. If there is race for slippery rocks these guys will top it sure. It was quite lengthy walk after at around 6:50 PM we hit a pool were we can not pass through we climbed the side rock of 3 meter height. We were worried about the people coming way behind we asked Peter for a regroup. Peter told me wait there until lazy troopers join us and camp site would be with 200 meters and he left. They camped with meters from where Peter told me wait for the others.
Kar has come after 15 min and one after other. Helped them to climb up the rock and everyone reached the camp site not later than 7:30 PM.
May be it was tallest camp fire of our 10 days mission, rocks were bursting out heat, flame are of 3 meters high. The fire is orange in color and was glittering like a live coal. We slid many times in the flat stream next to it.
Mushroom soup, Top Ramans noodles and chicken biriyani – perfect dinner it was. We taking moon bath after dinner and few great snaps were taken.
The Day 10h of DFS3+DOA9. (Sunday)
We started our day with yummy tea and Sattu. It was a very hard food. after an hour of walk we hit a dead drop of the stream. Man, the beauty of the fall was no words to explain. See the pic below.
after the great view of the falls we wanted to move to the right of the stream. Suddenly kar was calling us and said GPS fell into stream. Max, Gowri and I were reaching to the spot and Peter already went to the bottom of the stream two times. By the time we reached the spot he was going into bottom of the stream for the third time he came up with the switched off GPS and said, man it was so deep, 25 feet. Only Peter can dive this deep and find something.
We climbed uphill and hit side stream but it has a cliff. We went ahead fo 20 minutes and fund another side stream it was fairly doable and there was climb down the rocks but not so tricky. Adhi went and found this trail. After lunch we climbed down and reached the stream.
Except some of us everyone went to explore the dead drop fall, but we stayed back. They all came after 2 hours. And here after just flat walks and 6 km to highway. We walked jeep track surrounded by farmed lands, banana fields, mango trees and villagers.
Evening 4:00 pm we hit the highway and some dressed up with fresh non stinking clothes and we avoided buses since as per Peter's perception buses are for normal people. Peter tried to stop two three Lorries but no luck. After there came a open Jeep, we all quickly switched to jeep. It was chill, cool breeze hitting your face and both the sides green trees. It was a memorable journey. I loved it a lot.
Some went to bliss for dinner some went to near by restaurant. We got a mini bus he started at thirupati at 9:30 PM. We reached chennai by 1:30 AM monday.
Posted by: Naveen



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