My First Trek (Nagala Western Combo 72 of CTC)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Trek Dates: September 11-12, 2010
Place: Nagalapuram (~70 km from Tirupati)
Organizers: CTC (Chennai Trekking Club), Chennai

These are my experiences from my first trek to a place called Nagalapuram, ~70 km from Tirupati. It has a good mountain range. The mountain peak that we trekked to is at an altitude of 800 m (13.484120, 79.765978 on GMaps). The entire trek had four levels and I registered for the top level. My friend at Chennai, at whom house I stayed overnight was an experienced trekker and he recommended me to go for level 3 only, as level 4 will be very difficult. But, I had already selected level 4 while registering for the event. I also had the option to stay back whenever I feel like. So, I decided to go as far as I can. This trek was a good expedition to test my stamina and endurance, and an opportunity to achieve something for my inner adrenaline/adventure maniac.

I started in Vizag on Friday (September 10th, 2010) morning and reached Chennai by night. We were supposed to report at any of the five pick up points of the trek on Saturday morning. So, I went to a friend’s house in Tambaram, where I spent the night. We woke up at 3:00 AM, had bath and got ready for my first ever trek. It was a trek organized by CTC (Chennai Trekking Club), based in Chennai. Some 400+ people registered for the trek. It was the largest trek ever organized by CTC. My friend took me to one of his friends who was also coming to the same trek by his bike – a Royal Enfield bike. So, I along with him started on his bike and we joined the other trek members at Koyambedu. We completed the formalities like filling up the disclaimer forms and other things. We waited for some one hour so that all of us assemble to start at once. At around 6:00 AM the entire group started – the cars, the bikes and the tempos.

The Royal Enfield bike on which I went - on the way to trek.

It was some two hours to Nagalapuram. We reached Nagalapuram at around 8:30 AM. It was mostly drizzling through out the way. It was difficult sitting for two hours on Royal Enfield bike as a pillion.

Then all of us had breakfast at the base camp – two pooris with aaloo (potato) curry. All of us were given the food for the next two days. It had two apples, a cream bun, a jam bun, a Glucon-D isotonik pouch, two tiger rice packets, a biscuit packet and a chapati’s pack.

Distribution of food to all the participants

After this we all started to trek. Most of the participants were from Chennai. Even a small kid came along with his father to the trek.

Started my first trek

We started our trek at 10:00 AM. We went on and reached the first pool.

Pool 1

We were directed by Peter (person who started CTC, and the leader of all of us) to go ahead. I was in the front group of some ten people and somehow we missed the trail and went a wrong way. We spoke to Peter on the walky talky and took a diversion and soon joined them. Then we reached pool two. The way from pool 1 to pool 2 was ok, it was mostly along the stream, had some slippery rocks, every now and then somebody got slipped. We had to cross the stream a few times and had to travel from the moist damp soils, moist slippery rocks. Pool 2 was a good beautiful one.

Pool 2

The small rock climbs that we did every often

From pool 2 we went to pool 3. Pool 3 was Level 1. Pool 3 was awesome, it was a beautiful pool. We enjoyed a lot being there. All were jumping into the pool and were having a great time. I was regretting that I didn’t knew swimming. Next time I would become a good swimmer. People enjoyed like anything there. But we were not there for a lot of time, as we had to go to level 4 we had to start quickly. A group of people who want to stop there stayed back at Level 1 for overnight camping. So we went ahead for a water fall pool.

Pool 3

We reached the waterfall pool also soon. From Level 1 pool 3 to water fall pool was a normal trek without much difficulties. The water fall pool was also an awesome one. The water fall was a giant one, some 100 m long. We had our lunch there at around 2:00 PM. We had great time there as well. We all took photographs everywhere.

Waterfall pool

Then we started for the next pool which was Level 2. This was the toughest part of the trek, we had to climb a really steep hill and get down again. We had to do a bit of rock climbing, taking the support of the trees and grass along the way. It was a superb experience. People got tired like anything. It was very exciting though.

A view of the valley from a point on the way from Level 1 to Level 2

This was one of the tough climb we did

A snap of the valley

Finally we did made it to the next pool, Level 2. Many of the folks were left behind. Finally out of the 150 people, 45 people (including me J) headed for level 3 and 4, which also included four girls. After level 2 we won’t get stream anywhere, so we filled our bottles there. From level 2 to level 3 we had a 300 m steep hill climb. It was a bit painful as by then I already pulled my quadriceps (thigh muscles), which was most probably because of dehydration. It was becoming difficult for me to climb, every time I took a step, it felt like my thigh muscles are getting crumbled. But this is what I need to face to go till the end. I kept on going. It felt really good breaking this small mental and physical barrier created by pain. Finally we reached level 3 at around 5:00 PM.

At camp site 3

Peter said we will have a camp site there itself. So we made a small campfire, had fun enjoying the campfire, with the awesome view all around and also of the clean sky studded with a lot of stars (it appeared like there were more stars that night than I ever saw J).

View from camp site 3

The entire team which made it to Level 3

Our trek also had a moonlight trek – we would go for a trek using our LED torches light alone. We wanted to go to moonlight trek, so we started at around 6:30 PM for the moonlight trek. It was very exciting and thrilling. Eleven people headed by Peter in the front went fast and some 30 people including me missed the trail.

With the help of all other guys, I could take this snap of the words CTC made with the LED torches

We waited for more than one and half hour there on some hill, and as the other 11 guys came back after they completed level 4 we all together got back to the camp site. I was disappointed a bit that I was in the group that missed the trail. The place where we 30 people stayed for that one and half hour was awesome. The sky was very clear studded with brilliant bright stars. It was Ramadan and Vinayaka Cahturdhi on the same day. So, saw the moon and took a photograph of it.

Ramadan moon

It would have been really good if I was also in those 11 who made it to level 4 that night. But everyone was not so disappointed as we will go there the next day morning to see the view from Level 4 – the peak of the hill.

While returning back to the camp site, we again lost the trail (even Peter was with us). Peter was heading us and we all were following him. We tried for around half an hour and finally we could listen to the shouting that the fellows made from the camp site. So we made it back to the camp site. Then we had our dinner there, we had chapati’s in tandoori style. Everybody made arrangements for their sleep. I also laid my mat near the camp fire. For good sleeping posture, I removed all the stones from below the mat and kept a few flat stones beneath the head part of the mat, which worked as a pillow (not a soft one thoughJ).

So, the whole day was exciting full of achievements at every level. Happy that inspite of some muscle pulls, I made it to level 3. Was waiting for the level 4 like anything. So all of us went to sleep and bid adieu to the wonderful day we had.

Next day morning, when I woke up I saw everybody sleeping like anything, no body was willing to wake up. After all they were so tired the previous day. Some of the people decided to stay back at the camp site. We had some good funny time in the morning.

People still sleeping in the camp site at Level 3

The blue mat is the place where I slept

Then some 25 people including me started for level 4. This time I didn’t wanted to be with a group which might miss a trail. So, I went along with Peter and sticked to him. I had some good conversation with him. After reaching the base of the final steep to reach level 4, Peter instructed me and Vadivel (a CTC organizer) to go to level 4, the extreme left part of the hill. I was very excited that I am going to do it on my own, not following some body. So went there along with Vadivel. It was just some rock climbing of some 200 m. But the place that we reached was not what Peter instructed us to go. It was some 200 m from where we were and the path was full of big rocks. Vadivel was willing to stay there till other members came and he thought it was the place peter said. But, I was very excited by the thought of reaching the peak first. So, I started on my own towards the peak - the point from where we have a 270 degree view of the whole surroundings – the place suggested by Peter. After some good guesses, climbs, crawls through some bushes and cheers, I reached the peak. What was more exciting is that I was the first one to go there. First one among the 150 people registered for trek to reach that 270 degree view point of level 4. Even those 11 who made it to level four the previous night didn’t went to this place they made it to the place where Vadivelu stayed back.

Hurray...! I was the first one to reach the peak.. :-)

View from the top of the peak

View from the top of the peak

View from the top of the peak

Enjoying the thrill of the achievement

View from another point near the peak

After some fifteen minute I saw Peter coming. I was so energized that out of that excitement I was shouting out loud – “Peter, I made it”. Wow . . . it was such a winning experience, a great self achievement for me, the one that I will cherish for the rest of my life.

Peter - the man behind CTC

I had some good chat with him for some 15 min, after which other folks started joining us one by one. After all of them came we took some group photos. We stayed there enjoying the view and cool breeze for more than one hour. It was an awesome view of the entire lake and all from the hill top.

A group photo of all the folks who made it to Level 4

We then started back to campsite. Peter said Karmu and Aditya to lead us to the campsite. They had some confusion regarding the way back, but I remembered it well. So, I lead them towards the camp site. Leading people to the campsite in it self was one more achievement to me. So, finally we reached the camp site. Everyone was thirsty, we had our breakfast, had water. We packed up everything and started our way back to Level 2. Coming back was far easier as most of it was down hill. But it needed skill to get down those steep hills. We made it to level 2 and then to level 1 and finally to base camp by evening. We stayed for some time at each of the levels and pools on the way back. On reaching the base camp, we all exchanged our e-mail IDs and all of us took snaps of the beautiful hill that we conquered. Even the nature bid us adieu in it’s own style - a beautiful, colourful sunset adding a lot of beauty to the hills and the entire scenary.

The peak on the left was what was conquered by all of us on this trek

A close up of the peak

The beautiful adieu given to us by mother nature on completion of our trek . . . :-)

Here are the links of the CTC (Chennai Trekking Club) through which I had such a wonderful experience:



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