Nagari Exploration/2, July 16-17

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

[Arun Shekar]

Nagari Nagari nagari!!! The untouched valley of nagari was explored by the brave trekkers of CTC. Nagari Ex2 was the mission to explore the 3 valleys in the interior of the hills. After assembling at the Olluru road, we started out to the exploration of this new entry which goes straight to the steep south Eastern Valley.

Soon after the trail ended, it was nightmare for our shoes. It was the dry stream, Full of stones and thorns. After all these treks with Peter, there are 3 things ESSENTIAL for joining Peter’s trek:

1. Do not love your shoe.
2. Do not Love your clothes.
3. Do not depend on anyone for anything.

The dry stream never seemed to end and before a few hours of exercise, we decided to have a group pic.
Gasping for the breath and water, we moved up and up the stream. The tough ones concentrating on the path and the others with just one question, where is WATER!!
Finally after some time we reached the hut and eventually the stream. All of us were relieved to see the H2O and the Trek had officially started.

Now we do what CTC people are known to do the best – Follow the Stream! Some good pools along the way and everyone was alive again. Not knowing what was ahead, we reached the point which will seem to be a dead end for any good climber.

Some guys tried to go from the left but got stuck. Nagari is ruthless when it comes to the thorns. If it says there is no way you have to obey and go back. So after numerous attempts by the pro climbers, we were forced to go back around the right side where we had to circumvent the whole valley. After reaching the top of the valley came the photo point and the jumpy jumpy people were delighted.
Now we were in a dilemma. Either we go back to the valley, which will have water but we might get stuck too. Or we take the side of the mountain thorny route which will take us to the 900m proposed altitude.

We chose the latter as that would lead us to the planned campsite faster. We reached a local peak which gave us amazing views of the prohibited areas of Andhra (Venkateshwara, Tirupati and Venkatagiri). From this view point, we could see the complete interior of Nagari range and the valleys of Ex1.

Now wait a minute, am I talking about the whole group? Oops, some people are missing! Yes, a small group extended their sleep enjoying the views and got separated from the group. As proposed, we moved on ahead to the second valley as it was getting dark and Peter and Vipin went as a search party. Later we got to hear from them that a group got lost again even after being rescued ;-)Just as it got dark, we reached the camp site which was a heaven out of nowhere.

Soup and soupy noodles was abundant and was served to everyone till they said enough – no more! The fuel for the body was filled and we rested. Later in the morning we found that the camp site was a dead end as well. Hence we went up the hill and circumvented a series of falls and pools.

After the circumvent, we reached back to the stream where we encountered our first sliding pool. I was one of the lucky person to slide in that pool.
By lunch time on the second day, the trail showed up and signd of village were nearing. Some nice Jeep trails were found and a small group of five people had to unfortunately split to exit the easy way skipping the third valley. Our group which was ahead made quick CTC signs for them with the stoned to guide them out. But our challenge had just begun.

We took some wrong turns to find the northern valley but finally reached the entry which was again a dry stream full of rocks! A quick Thepla lunch was served and we went along the stream hoping to run into water like yesterday. But today, the valley of Nagiri showed no mercy on us. A continuous 6 hours. The northern valley, which was a nice cut in the terrain map didn’t have a single drop of water!

The fact that I couldn’t find any photos for this part shows the intensity!! The only luck on our favor was the drips of water coming out of a hole in the rock. A few of us had 2-3 mouthfull and carried on. We had to slightly divert our valley which lead to the village faster. Then was the first Scare. We had a 50-60m vertical climg on top and a huge boulder (almost 1m in length and breadth!) started rolling from the top. It came down so fast and hit Sundar on the legs. Everything happened so fast, that no one had any time to react. But Sundar had the luck of heavens and he was pretty normal even after the fall. Somehow we recovered from this shock and carried on the thorny climb. People almost gave up hope when we heard the yell – “oooooopppppp” It was Peter and he found the trail. The trail was crystal clear and took us to the nearby village within 2 hours. We took the final group photo with the Nagari standing ruthless in background telling us – If you wanna come again be prepared for more!!

The villagers were amazed by the quantity of water we drank! Added to the heaven was the bonda shop on the road. We eventually found a bus to Srikalahasti where kathir did the 2nd 360 summersault in a nagiri exploration after vipin. It’s like a habit these days! Finally we had a rocky ride in 5 Autos which took us back to our cars. The dinner and fun at the CTC dhaba was a memorable experience too!


[Bharanidharan R]

It began like it usually does, bang in the middle of the night. After a couple of tea breaks and some 3 hours worth of driving, we reached our base camp. Pack the essentials and off we go to scale Nagari’s highest peak. With freshness and energy abounding, we covered a considerable distance before breakfast. And then began the real deal… Steep slopes, dry stream boulders, centipedes, millipedes, thousands of them, ponds, waterfalls and a dead end. To climb a steep high slope and encounter a big stone wall is, well, frustrating to say the least.
Down we come, through the same slope and find a detour. What a climb it was. And was it worth it? Completely. To stand on that peak and to look the distance we had come was pure awesomeness. After a short break began the descent, pretty much eventless until a sub group gets lost. We send a messenger back to find them and we get on our way. Darkness falls shortly and we encounter a waterfall in our way. In other words, camp! I never soup and maggi could taste that good. It takes one full day of good hard trekking to appreciate food! And we finally see the other sub group that got lost, in parts. They come one by one, from the moment we started cooking to the moment most of us were deep asleep.
Day two starts with regroup, stories from the group that took the road not to be travelled and the smell of some amazing rava pongal. We were still in the middle of nowhere with no sight of human civilization, even through binoculars. Start climbing again. One good accent and one really long descent later, we find water! WATER! There is a small change of plans here. We had to drop off some of our members who weren’t in a capacity to scale another peak. And it all repeats again, boulders, dry streams, upstream, downstream, accent, descent, peak, breathtaking views and more.
Call it luck or eventuality, the two groups somehow find themselves on the same bus on the way back! The rout caused by us at Kalahasti bus stand is one to be seen, not heard. A bunch of 30 really thirsty trekkers attacking anything that had water in it! Boy, that is when I felt truly alive, again. A bumpy auto ride in a solitary dark road later, base camp again! After some much necessary rehydration later, we start the journey again. This summary is incomplete without a mention to that awesome road side dinner. By the end of it, both our hearts and stomachs were content.
A good 48 hours away from the home, in the wilderness, doing crazy things is necessary at times to recharge ourselves for the rigours of monotonous lives. Cheers to a good trek and CTC!

[Vasanth Kumar]

It was as exiting Friday night after a bad day at the college.Sleep refused to accustom me as my mind was kept fresh by the thought of next two days.Atlast went to sleep by 1.00 only to wake up by a chill breeze and the sound of the raindrops by 2.30 at Saturday morning. Then called a friend at 2.45 to drop me at tidal whose cursing didnt stop till we reached there.Peter came in few minutes , I hopped in Arumugam's bike which was bullet(diesel) and peter told us to start as arumugam told the bike would not go beyond 65kmphs. Already I had kept my bag in Arvind's Car,so It was a comfortable ride. After we crossed around 10 kms from ponamallee suddenly our bike's headlight went off , so we had to stop and change it as arumugam told that he always had a spare since his light was connected to a dyname it often gets overheated and gets blown. Then we continued our journey and was joined by arun and vipin in uthokotai who had already overclocked us and was having a tea there, From there we both bikes started together and reached Aare and waited for the other guys reached there in the next twenty minutes. We all had a tea and some introductions, and I was happy to see vishal and kathir who was with me in my previous trek to nagala.We had some light moments there when Vishal,Kathir and some guys tried really hard to start Arumugams bullet only to failure. Then we reached the parking by taking a mud road from the main road.

It was around 7.30 when we started walking towards the gigantic range of mountains as the sun said hello to us from the east. It was a long walk around one hour, where we first saw the small hint of water then we continued along the stream, which was dry most of the part and after few hours of trek we reached the dead end waterfalls where peter was injured by a falling boulder , so we had to spend there around 20 minutes while sailaja put some band-aid around peters wrist. My shorts had been completely ripped by the thorns and Karthick started making fun of it , Then after few minutes we started again by climbing around and it was a long steep climb and we reached the first peak and had some clicks there and rested for around 30 minutes. It started to drizzle as we started again and we went right up and the descent down to the valley where we got lost.We were around six guys and we missed the trail in a split and started to shout peters name for his reply,We also tried our navigation skills using GPS in my mobile but only to find it was not good enough. After few minutes of hovering round and round we sat down while freidem and shankarnarayan went to see any trails left behind,It started to get dark as peter came there by hearing our whistle and we started moving again .

It was an thrilling experience to trek in darkness and without water as peter was pushing us by saying only few minutes to reach the camp but it took around two hours to reach the camp where guys have already settled down. Arvind,vipin and shankar was left behind and as vipin had his gps ,peter told they would reach safely. Then we had some dip in the small falls in our campsite and the smell of the noodles started salivation in our mouth.We had nice dinner and started finding places to sleep .It was around 11 when arvind,vipin and shankar reached .and we all slept in the beautiful ,chill ambiance provided by the mother nature.

I woke up at the morning by 5.30 only to see few guys are already woken up , I took a small dip in the waterfall and we started making tea.Then started the most expected moment of the trek ,the rava pongal episode, Sundar has insisted on Rava pongal and all were eager to taste it , To our surprise it was awesome with ghee and cashews added to it and everyone lavished praise upon it and sundar , After pongal , we started to leave the campsite and we had to climb up and descent . it was steep descent with lots of thorns and loose rocks and my shoes started to wear out , when we reached the first stop ,my shoes have worn out completely and since peter told we have to go up another hill , I thought without shoes it would be difficult as i had to walk barefoot, so I joined vasanth ,jai who opted out as he was tired and peter gave us instructions to find jeep trail and go around the lake. We waited there for 20 minutes when arvind and arumugamvcame as the last members , and we five started walking along the stream to find the jeep trail, It tooks us around 2 hours to find jeep trails as we were walking slowly and had dip in all pools and clicked photos all along the way. Then we reached the jeep trail around 12.30 and found a place to have our lunch and we had khakras and forest mangoes which were small but had a good taste.

Arvind suggested we could have a nap as there is lot to time and we had small nap and started again . It was a long walk around 10kms when we reached a village and from there we took a bus to kalahasthi, to our surprise after around ten minutes i saw the guys who went ahead in morning were standing in the road,they crossed the hill and found the road, They all boarded and it was there whenall guys first got up the roof and as conducter told them to get down, kathir tried a 360 flip from the bus roof. Then we went to kalahasthi, and got some autos to reach the place where we had parked our vehicles, the autos cost around 300 per auto. It took around 10.30 to reach the place and we all had sodas in the petty shop there and celebrated rahul's birthday. Then we started from there and now i had a place in arvinds car and all stopped for dinner near uthokottai where we all had a nice dinner and rahul gave us a nice treat . Though it was only two days everyone seemed bonded together and it was a great moment, as each and everyone of us was a complete strangers just before 48 hours. And I felt proud of being a CTCian as I found the core of the nature's lesson to humans which is Unity is strength and also found how human race withstood all the problems like war, faminity, greediness,hate, since its evolution with that lesson from Mother nature

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