Peter Van Geit
Ladies Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Having signed up for the trek purely on blind faith, I had not thought even in my wildest dreams that this would turn out to be best experience of my life so far..
For a first timer, the levels of curiosity and anxiety just cannot be described!
From the packing of the "heavy" backpack, making sure the check list is followed, to waking up at 3am
on a Saturday and rushing to the pick up point, it was all a roller coaster ride in itself!
And at such times, when u run into people you know, it suddenly makes u appreciate really, how small the world is!...
When people from different walks of life come together in such an atmosphere, the bonding that is formed is incomparable! Of course there are various kind of people in college life, work life etc but in a trek, its on a whole new n a different level.. Probably something tat might last for longer...
And thus began a journey for the next 40 hours with "strangers"... who would turn out be quite something else at the end of it all...
Starting with the yummy medu vadas, driving into the wee hours of the morning, the wind gushing on our faces, leaving behind the funny ways of the city life, we began our wild journey, with a smile on face, ready for what lay ahead of us..
Day 1: 830 a.m
Our 3 hour journey from Chennai ended at the foothills of Nagala, welcomed by hot idlys and vadas. After a brief introduction of all, we packed our lunch, and distributed the food amongst us, and set off..
From the dam, to the rocky slopes, we walked on to the plains…as always, an “all ladies” trek invites more pictures than anything else, so naturally, we had innumerable pit stops for short photo sessions, till we reached the stream…
For many of us, this was the first ever time we were seeing crystal clear cold water (with no chlorine)… the true passion we saw in our super hero – Thilak, who got on all fours and kissed the water…and, this shall never be forgotten…
What with crown of leaves over our head, the fishes giving us a much needed pedicure, and the beautiful gush of water on our faces, we lay in the stream, soaking wet, all worries forgotten….
We set off again, to our second destination… giving nick names… from SuperPriya, Mudevi, Dicky, vayadi, and last but not the least Anbulla Anna n so on.. For people like me, who cannot live without their phones for even an hour, staying 40 hours without missing it, speaks about the experience by itself!
The trail to the 1st pool was dramatic, we were lost in the talks of the trails taken in 127 hours, the jungles of raavan, kaal n the like, wondering, if THIS was an “easy” trek, then what in the world would be a “difficult” one!?
The 1st pool was a beauty! Our first encounter with the waterfall was splendid… dipping our feet into the clear cold water, splashing it on our faces, we splurged into the depths of the pool.. with our super hero beside, encouraging the non swimmers to leave behind their fears and get into their swimming tubes… If not for him, I could never have blown my tube, nor would I have been able to swim into the deep without any fear and enjoy the true beauty of nature.. Hats off to him, (my) THE superhero!!
Floating in the middle of the pool, I witnessed the most beautiful sight….. rocks and trees on all sides and a beautiful waterfall coming from heaven, surrounded by happy innocent faces, playing with the water, laughing, teasing…. with the swimmers already on the slopes of the waterfall and the non-swimmers overcoming their fear and daring to sit up against the slippery rocks….
The whole experience of lying down on the slopes amidst a waterfall, the force with which the water gushes from above and hits the top of your head, the face and the shoulders and body all at once is a feeling that cannot be put in words…. Just when I was thinking everything is so serene, there was a sudden rush of movement and before anything could be made out of it, there I was lying tangled, with Mudevi in front of me, Makka behind me and my poor left arm stuck below the giant! ..the scars of which I will treasure for a long long time…..
To an unanimous dismay, we had to force ourselves from the pool to break for lunch – yummy vegetable biriyani with brinjal curry.. a few snacks some fruits… there we lay, our feet in water, eating to our hearts content, excited to see what fun the next pool could bring..
The Trail to the 2nd pool required us to be a bit more cautious and alert.. Mr.Super hero along with Diwakar literally lifted each person from a 10 feet drop to reach above and carry on our trail ahead… licking into glucose, sipping water and soaking wet, we began our hunt to the 2nd pool…
The 2nd pool turned out to be yet another clear water body with a smaller waterfall.. with many many more fishes… which meant more pedicure! We thank the soul who found / left a tennis ball there, which led to the next 2 hours of unlimited fun in the pool with water games! Becky and Diwakar on one side were a very close match to our very own Super hero and Mudevi, backed by tube dummies… later in the league came Makka, supporting Becky and Karthik – Anbulla Anna, supporting Mudevi.. Ranging from catch and throw, to water polo to who’s the monkey.. we were literally pushed out of the water towards the end, with Jisha’s warning tones every ten minutes..
Lost in our happy, playful mood, we set off to the 3rd pool, our camping spot.. a short fifteen minute walk led us to the most beautiful part of the forest… a twenty feet drop into an amazing pool with some 100 feet or more vertical climb on the other end.. the gushing sound of the waterfall is still ringing in my ears… Sitting on the rocks, we spent the next beautiful hour sinking in the beauty of the place.. relishing mother nature at her best…
As darkness started setting in, an odd group of trekkers jumped and dived into the pool, their immense passion could be felt from sitting across the rocks watching them swim across and walk away into the darkness..
A short while later, Jisha and the others set about starting a camp fire, as we conveniently divided our camping spot into the sleeping area, the kitchen and the dining area near the pool side.. it was darkness personified, disturbed by the fire and the led torch lights we carried to find our way around.. then came the beautiful aroma of hot soup.. followed by yummy Maggie noodles..
The highlight of the evening was the Fateful “hat” which continued to be the center of attraction for the next day and the days to continue…
Sitting by the pool side, we stuffed our bellies with hot hot food… watching the fire flies in the darkness, gazing at the reflection of the pool by the night light, we divulged into a weird set of conversation… and to this day, I believe what was spoken at the trek…ENDS with the trek..
Tired, we divided into 3 groups and slept gazing at the stars… talking in whispers about how unimaginably wonderful the day was, how just 24 hours ago we were sleeping in our bedrooms in ac, wrapped with blankets around us, unaware that in a few hours our life was gonna go on a completely different trail..
DAY 2: 6:30 a.m
I woke up to whole bunch of chattering sleepy people, with super hero in the middle talking about his various trekking experiences and his famous “horror story”.. With our stomachs rumbling, we moved across to the rocks in search of open food and blessed is the soul who brought garlic cheese spread.. the joy of eating amazing food sitting in a jungle is a feeling of pure content and satisfaction which definitely cannot be matched to anything else in this world… orange juice, hot yummy tea and vegetable sandwich were add-ons to this delicious treat, after which we jumped into the deepest and the most wonderful pool of all…
Our 4 n half hour of fun began with swimmers diving into the pool from crazy heights, to tube trekkers paddling into the water, swimming towards the biggest and the best waterfall.. Anbulla Anna again gave a treat to all by stopping the water at the peak.. those few seconds of waiting for the gush of water to hit you are the most beautiful moments of anxiety followed by a wonderful feeling of joy which one must experience at least once in life.. The force of the water pushed you away, which only made you try harder to get more closer to it, and this was where we bonded with people who were strangers the previous morning.. With the bottle game and the tube-diving competition, our hearts with filled with an emotion which was beyond joy!
With the shock of the trek almost nearing to an end just sinking in, we rushed to pack our bags and trek back to the base after a brief photo session by Makka… The walk back seemed to come to an end a bit too soon, which hit us so bad that we refused to accept the fact that there would be no more pools! Thankfully, we re-grouped at the stream and enjoyed an amazing hour of splashing water on everyone’s faces and once again, soaking wet, with a huge smile on our faces, we set back to the base to mark and end to our trek..
A short session of snacks and group pictures later, we set off again leaving behind our wild adventure, back into the funny ways of the city life… Just when all was right, we hit a flat tyre, which in-fact marked the PERFECT end to our TREK.
Back to square one, but now, with 28 new friends and memories for a lifetime….
Ladies Trek Nagalapuram
As a first time trekker, I dont know what to expect,except fun(:-)),a little adventure(!!!) and especially a change from the routine life, when I started for the trekking.
After coming from office at 11PM and sleeping at 12 midnight I really thought I couldn't wake up at 3.30AM to get ready for the trek, but somehow I managed to get up, get ready and all set to go.Feeling sleepy all the way, but looking at the passing fields, hills with those sleepy eyes itself felt good.We had a nice breakfast at the base camp,stuffed our lunchboxes and started our walk.
Our photography session started from there itself.The dam,hills nearby, the greenary... it is surely a feast for the eyes which stare at the computer screen all the day.After walking for a while,we reached a stream, my God I have never seen so clear water.Couldn't wait to spalsh that water on our faces... Jisha, Tilak,Kartick were telling that the pools will be even more beautiful, believe me they are...One more beautiful than the before one...We reached the 1st pool,just got the burden(trekking bags!!!) off our shoulders and entered into the water... Some had a very nice natural fish pedicure... Some sliding from the waterfall.But all of us enjoyed a lot. Only the assurance that the other pool will be even more awesome could drag us out of that pool. We had our lunch at that pool and started for the next pool.
We played ball games in the next pool, one team lead by Tilak and Kartick(the Strategic player)always winning(:-))... After that we started towards the 3rd pool... By the time we reached there, it was evening. That sight was facinating... The pool is surrounded by stones on all the sides and a water fall.
Jisha, Tilak lit the fire and made soup and noodles(yummy...). That hot soup was so refreshing after the day's walk.
Just lying on those rocks, looking at the clear sky full of stars, with the sounds of the waterfall as a lullaby,gentle breeze caressing u, one will feel the euphoria of being there in the lap of Mother Nature... I fell asleep just staring at those stars(at what time I don't know...).We woke up, had a nice tea, sandwitch for breakfast and went near the pool. Some are already there in the pool.I got a swim tube around my self and jumped into the pool. It was really nice,jumping into the pool... I mustered out my courage to jump from a rock into the pool...First time jump, I prayed to God and Tilak, Jisha , Kartick, Bhagat, Divakar were there to help if I need, so I jumped... OOOO !!!! really it is something to try out... Then Tilak was encouraging for another jump so that I could get rid of the fear... I went another time, one more and one more, 10 times.... Then Harini and I were on a competetion for who will be on lead... Thanks to Tilak.. He was so encouraging...We had our lunch at that place itself and started our return journey... We didn't halt at the 1st or 2nd pool but we had a nice break at the stream...Started spalshing water at each others faces... Then we reached the dam where we had evng snacks and group photos and I got a 5star chocolate for the leading 10 times jump (:-))...At 5PM we reached the base camp full of undiluted enthusiasm,unscathed euphoria...
After bye's and meet u again's we started back... But that didn't end up there... The vehicle we are coming in,got a flat tyre just 5km before Uttukottai.. So we got down and went to the field off road... Another photography session... Sitting on the road, on a brick pile,in the fields... Tilak and Bhagat were so patient photographers... Later we started from there,had a break in Uttukottai and returned to Chennai...
It all started with one google search..
that's how i came across CTC. with in few days my eyes literally popped out while checking my mails... yup... that was the invite for the ladies trek :D :D guess this month is my lucky month!!!!!! from that moment onwards i've been waiting for this trek to happen.... and the day finally came too!!
one 4th morning i woke up very early indeed and was at the tidel stop and that's where i met Jisha!!!! [ jisha !!! you're seriously one symbol of confidence!!! you must see the way she walked out to me and said ' hullo i'm Jisha' ... for the next few seconds i was like this-->
our bus started and others joined on the stops to come!! [ a special mention to Rabeka , sitting at the back, she looked so calm and quiet ... but you musta seen her in the pool ..... Man!! never Ever Judge her by how calm she looks! there is a naughty streak lurking around somewhere inside her :P]
We had awesome breakfast at the Base :D and we slowly started towards the hills!!!! but we had no idea how awesome it was going to be!!!!
The sun wasn't shining so brightly,so weren't that hot... but that climb up the dam and the long walk left us quite thirsty and we were more than glad to jump right into the stream !!!!! the water splashing competitions were so much Fun!!!! [Sridevi , next time its payback time!!!! u aren't getting off easily after splashing so much on me!!!!! :D] Well, It was so relaxing to just lie down on the cool rocks with water flowing gently over us.... [thanks to Deepika for finding the small spot where we could take pics] .when We started from the stream,we were soaked and the best part was, none of us were really bothered about it :D...... we walked and walked, and stopped at the beautiful pool!!!!! POOL 1 was so great and every one of us had so much fun there!!!!! i ws pretty scared to swim first, but then i relaxed and boy!! was it fun!!!!!!!!!![A Special mention to Abinaya!!! can't forget how you were holding the rock, for dear life XD and how you slided down the falls before i could take a picture!!!!]
the rocks were slippery indeed and i slipped more than once.... [ Thilak Anna!!!!! thank you for teaching me how to climb up and slide down the falls :D sema FUN!!]
we set out to the next next POOL, and the climb was getting harder and harder... can't forget that point where went holding a single rock!!!!! [ Thanks Thilak anna for helping us to climb in tough spots,]
pool two was super cool!!! we played ball catch in the pool. though our team lost, it was so much fun fighting for scores and seeing Karthick and Diwakar hurling balls at each other :D....
I actually thought we'd reached out destination.......Alas no!!! we had one more pool ahead of us!!
This Climb WAS ACTUALLY REALLY HARD!!!!!!!!!!!!! we Climbed and Climbed and finally!!!!!!!!!! it was a sight to behold!!!!!! the crystal clear water, with rocks surrounding us, it was a photographer's delight!!!
we were all pretty exhausted by then, and we settled down to just get soaked in the view!!
then dusk fell , and the soup was so refreshing!!! Then began the story session!!!! can't forget the story about the black figure !! more about the trek on the next post :D
Ladies Trek Nagalapuram-Eastern Entry
There are these certain moments in life that you want to relive over and over again. One such was the Ladies Trek to Nagalapuram- Eastern entry. With Jisha for an excellent coordinator along with Tilak, Karthik, Bhagat and Deevakar for support we couldn’t have asked for more.
As a first timer, the trek was more than just a memorable experience. The first stream took us by surprise. We had not expected the water to be so clear and so very sweet. We had our first water splashing competition there. We couldn’t believe when we were told that the stream was nothing compared to what lay ahead.
After a walk ahead, we encountered our first pool. A beautiful pool with pebbled flooring , gradually leading to the deep and ending with a waterfall. To have your head under the gushing fresh water was relaxing and refreshing. Nithya, Shuba priya, myself braved to climb a little higher, with deevakar’s help, for a comfortable spot in the rocks to sit under the gushing water. This was also accompanied by an unexpected, amazing slide to the bottom thanks to Bhagat and also thanks to Nikkita for providing a cushioned landing and also magnanimously bearing the scars of the slide. A special mention to Tilak, for maneuvering all the tubed trekkers to the water fall. We had a lovely pool side lunch and the fish were treated to our lunch remains.
We ascended higher( or so it seemed) to get to the second pool. The pool was swarming with fish craving to eat all the dirt off our feet. It felt amazing. This pool was the venue to our championship games- pool ball and pool soccer, both of which were unanimously won by same team captained by Tilak. The winning should also be credited to Karthik-our strategic player , Shuba priya- our lucky charm and our various strategy huddles. The opponent team captained by Rebecca, with Deevakar and Bhagat as its strategic players, must be appreciated for its undying effort to repudiate the obvious winners of the championship! Jokes apart, the games were a wonderful way to unite and get to know each other on the trek.
The third pool gave us a great resting spot with lovely scenery. Enclosed by high cliffs opening to the sky and a beautiful pool below, the place seemed dreamy. We watched as Tilak and Jisha started the bon fire with ease to cook us soup and later noodles which we had on the water side followed by a ‘scary story telling’ session and also experiences from previous treks. Exhausted we collapsed once we spread our sleeping mats.
We woke up to a beautiful morning, glad that the previous day was not just a dream. After tea and a breakfast of sandwiches we all jumped into the pool and splashed in the water the entire morning. Dives into the water was an experience by itself and Harini scored the most for the maximum number of jumps. The highlight was karthik going higher up and blocking the water such that the water fall was reduced to a trickle only to be followed by water gushing and crashing down in full force to a lots of WOOOOWs ,AHHHHHHH s & OOOOO s. He also took Harini and me higher up to show how he did it. We, together did it a few times too. Lunch had us all attacking the chapathis, paneer butter masala s and pickles like scavengers. After lunch we descended without stopping at any of the pools- to all our disappointment, to the base. We however did stop at the first stream and had our final splash before we could finish our trek.
Peter Van Geit
Ladies Tuesday, July 19, 2011