Write up From Bhavana:
28 people—some freshers, some experienced gathered in Chennai to make their way to Nagala West trek on Oct 29th. Freshers were curious, some anxious but all were excited about the trip. We first camped down at the foothills of the Nagala, sleeping on tarpaulin sheet facing the star-kissed skies. The weather was pleasant, slightly chilly, but no rain. You could hear people talking away—some laughing, some teasing—but all happy!
The night made way to dawn and the sun beckoned the team to the first pool. I had heard about Nagala pools for a long time. Having lived in a desert area for a decade, I wondered how Monsoon Mountains looked and felt. Within 30 mins we were at the first pool! Such joy—amidst the lush green, rain drenched forest, a water pool that says—come over!
When you first hit the water it feels cold and yet so utterly alluring—gradually mentoring you to its depths and beauty. The trekkers had a gala time. But our trek leaders said—there are better prizes ahead! So we went over to the next pool—the famous second pool! Why famous—because it is a pool that is utterly inclusive of both non-swimmers and swimmers. Nobody stares. All get in and get wet!
You should have seen the happy faces bobbing out of the water. Some demanding photographs, photographers half in water fulfilling the many requests. Others sought the help of the experienced swimmers who tirelessly pulled the non-swimmers in their floats to the waterfall. Almost everyone had a chance to be drenched by the silver waterfalls.
Thanks to Arun Prabahar I learnt to get over my fear of deep waters and swam through the entire length of the pool.
I was deliriously happy. But I noted how hard some of the experienced trekkers worked to make the whole experience beautiful. While some stayed in the pool, guiding, pulling, mentoring, encouraging and motivating people, others searched around for dry wood in a rain-soaked forest to make the whole group Chai and Maggi. I am not a fan Maggi but I can tell you that Maggi never tasted as good as it did that day. I cannot also forget the joy of drinking Chai in a bowl. Sometimes it is the simple joys of life that makes everything worthwhile—the sincerity, the care, the love that goes behind an effort. And CTC guys are great at it!
After a full two hours of soaking and splashing and laughing, we made our way to the third pool. The third pool challenges you—nudges you gently from your comfort zone. It says—come over but jump and come over I spent many precious minutes staring at the water below the ledges, at the guys who seemed to have turned amphibians and a Kingfisher at the same time. Some jumped from 6 foot ledges and others from much higher. Slowly I dared, wearing my float. Not too bad...splash was ok!! Soon, another woman, Meenakshi joined in and discovered—she may have been a duck in her last life
On the top of the ledge, our cooking team worked tirelessly to make super-delicious food—a tomato biryani with a pakoda gravy. I do not like spicy food. But that day, I had loved every bit of it—it felt food fit for the Emperors!!! Who knew you get to eat the best food in town on a CTC trek?
From this pool, some mountain goats went to the fourth pool—the mini kutralam. The climb was slippery but I hear the team crossed through effortlessly. They came back with stories of how the waterfalls were worth every bit. I was envious. Anyways, there is always a next time!
We finally winded back down—happily, spending some more time at the second pool—loving the beautiful green forest one more time.When we reached the car park, I was a little sad. I had felt all through that I was in a movie—an empress in a magical movie of a land so pristine and beautiful that it could not exist on Earth. The car, the cemented area, the road seemed almost painful.
CTC guys rock—truly! I write this not for finishing this blog but from my heart. Their organization, efficiency, sincerity and team spirit is something worth learning from! I wonder if these guys were in the Government how well our country would have run
Thank you Emperor trek organizers and thanks to all those folks who made this trek sweet and memorable!