It was a very pleasant day with chill southern breeze. Early to rise and lot of expectations pondering in the mind,64 members to be taken care of mostly fresher's. Interestingly we were on time in our first pickup point. Glooming faces with expressions enough to spell a thousand words just waiting to explore their long found Independence in their own sweet ways .In spite of having a little problem in keeping the convoy without breaking till the end we had one car wander off path and the sweep car had to wait for him to put him back on track. After the checks and cross checks we were all set out of Chennai looking forward to a great or rather once in a life time experience. In all we had just a handful of experienced people to lead and sweep the whole group.
We had a small grouping at the dam entrance to celebrate our Independence Day in the most unique of places, with the most unique of flags, Of course our Indian flag. The ceremony started with a flag hoisting and continued with the full group singing the National Anthem which was real peppy and concluding with cutting of cake by the youngest of the group 10yrs Master Mahesh .Lastly the cake distribution.
As we started the trek it was something that had pleased the weather gods that there was chill breeze still prevailing to our surprise. It was almost 10am and we were running out of schedule. We had to make sure we don't miss out on something so we checked with each other and made sure we were set to leave. After the distribution of rations to all and giving the maximum baggage to regular trekkers we were finally set to leave at half past ten.
There was not much change in the weather however the temperature among the new comers was rising. There were various relevant, kidish questions but we were all prepared. Someone even had the doubt if there will be hunters carrying guns and some other questions. As we entered the forest we could see the excitement in all faces.They were in high spirits and were very eager to know when we will see water. As we advanced the adrenalin pumping grew. The first water crossing was a pleasant surprise to all, some took a dip rite away, some slept flat out on the stream and some just sat to enjoy the site. The old dude's just watched them enjoy their Independence and to add a new dimension to it. As we advanced to the first pool some were enthusiastic and some were very careful in putting each step as they were interested but cautious.
“This place always throws surprises at you no matter how many visits you make and it never seems to satisfy you enough that you stop thinking of it.”
However it was turning out to be a great experience to the experienced. We were handling amateurs in this way of life and had to do it their way to make it simpler for them. After reaching the first pool it was fun personified. They were jumping, shouting and exploring new ways to spill water in the stream .We spent about 30mins in the first pool and set out on the trail again. The trails had either disappeared or the vegetation over grown so it was a bit tricky to move around without getting lost. To the second pool the start was with a steep climb where one has to exercise extreme caution, however one of our experienced trekker Mr. Nithyan helped people over the tight curve. The second pool was a welcome delight with crystal clear water and equal space for swimmer and non swimmers to enjoy alike it was a great hit .We had Breath holding competition and then the big splash competition and many other activities like helping the ladies to cross the pool zone to reach the falls zone ,but the ladies were more particular in trying to drown the guys trying to help them, it was truly fun watching them in the act.
The next pool was truly for swimmers as there was no scope for non swimmers so about ten members decided to call it a day and stay back. So we had to leave someone experienced to stay with them so we left few experienced members for supervision. The remaining group set out to explore the trail. It was fun filled and also meant to be taken with care, so the experienced trekkers had to take the call and make sure they take the right step at the rite place to move the team forward. As we reached the third pool the swimmers had loads of fun diving. With time fast running out, a few went still ahead to the other pools of whom a commendable courage was shown by one of the girls Jisha who was duly commended. Some people had their lunch there in the third pool and a few went ahead to explore further .It was fun looking at some members jumping from about 20ft after my approval for the safety reasons. Well everyone has their own choices.
It was time and we had to start our return journey as it would become impossible to walk in the dark. So after regrouping and taking a head count we headed back to the second pool where there were a group of people waiting for us. On reaching those who had finished their food relaxed, some had their lunch, some had their biscuits and some others were back into the water as though the craving for this water is ever lasting.
To avoid any delays in reaching the entry point by the slow comers, we sent one team along with nityan towards the parking zone so that all can reach on time. Others waited for some more time enjoying the crystal clear pools, relaxed a bit, finished their lunch and set out on the final phase to the exit point. By the time we were in then exit the advance party was on the schedule we combined together and were back on time.
It was sharp 6pm and the sun was setting .We had a closing speech and a few were commended for their exceptional contribution towards the trek, prize distributions and started back home...
I would also like to highlight few volunteers/members without whom this mission would have never been successful.
Three cheers to all brave talented beautiful souls given below:-
- Guru, kaushik & abhishek for their extraordinary efforts and contributions towards successful completion of this trek.
- Kaushik, shrinidi, vetriselvan, selva kumar, krish, gurumurthy - our zone coordinators for their volunteerism and for managing their zone members to their best at the assembly points.
- Nitya and archana for their support in leading/sweeping the team and volunteered to bring their car to provide transport to our wait listed members at the last minute.
- Neetha volunteering for the zone coordination in tidel in the early morning even though she dint join this trek.
- Charu, master Mahesh & guru – The team entertainers ;)
- Murali, charu, jisha, sundaresan, guru, kaushik, master Mahesh - winners for the various talents.
-Last but not the least, all our participants who had proved that they were the best no matter what the odds may be.
-Our security person who took care of all our vehicles at the forest parking area.
WE are also thankful to Mr. Peter van geit without his assistance, these trekking activities would have ever happened in Chennai.
Waiting for the next opportunity to be back in the Heaven Of Gods.....Nagala ……. Our Second Home :)
Organized by: Biju VK