Trekking was definitely out of our scope of fun, for the simple fact that we hardly knew that clubs like CTC even existed!
When I first saw pics of trekking that a friend of mine had posted, i was all "WOW"!
We friends, were on a mission of unlimited porukkals for the past few days, and were speculating on the idea of exploring Nagala alone (Crazy rite?).
Just then we came to know about registrations being invited for the very Nagala east trek,. Knowing we would hardly even be considered, I registered for 8 of our friends.
We all got a confirmation mail from CTC when we were least expecting to be called. Luckily, all of us were invited. Hell, we were so excited and the game was on!!
Supposed to meet out fellow mates at Guindy at 3.20 am, we headed in 2 cars dumping all our bags, sleeping mates, other food items in it. After exchanging brief "Hi's and Hello's" We signed the liability forms (Whoaa, this trek is really on) and started to koyambedu the common meeting point where we join the rest of the team.. Attracting attention, a crowd of almost 30 people were chattering in the corners of the busy bus stop before we drove for 2 hrs to reach the foothills of Nagala East.
The first thing we did was to distribute the food items to everyone that had a big list of Apples, oranges, glucon D, chapathis, upma, puliyodarai, maggie packets and so much more. Really, Nobody can Starve! Predictably we weren't empty handed while returning.
We followed the trail with all enthusiasm and from there on, it was walk walk and walk! Thoroughly enjoying the smell of nature and the fact that we are finally doing it, took us briskly to the first pool where we had our breakfast. I refused to get into the water which had no depth merely afraid of the fish bites.
Continuing our mission, we had to climb the steep mountain for a few meters before our leads could identify that we were on the wrong route. Completely exhausted from the steep climb we rested having chocolates for boosting up energy to walk down and reach the trail. The rest of the team, we later heard, had to just slide down the mountain just climbed. Clearly the mere idea was funnily terrifying.
Catching up with the rest of the team we reached the dead end pool. The scenic beauty of this place was captivatingly refreshing and just reminds us how fascinating this entire experience is.
We had to swim across the pool and ferry our bags to reach the other side. Being a non swimmer I had to put on d tube, and still be accompanied by a person who can swim (Ya right, I cannot cross the English channel :P) The toughest part was climbing a huge boulder, where i was certain to fall. Thanks again to fellow mates who were always there to lend a hand.
Next came the most scary part of the whole trek..We had to climb a steep mountain and the saying was "Don't look down". I was only terrified to look down and find that I was "How many meters again?" some meters above the running water. Oh my god! Scared to death, we climbed on and crossed the terror spot in few mins.
Thankfully we were to cross this pool by swimming down the gorge, using a rope while returning. Arun and Bharani were kind enough to show me the gorge, and i was relieved. Only then.. We walked on briskly to reach the picnic pool, before I fell off flat sliding down a big boulder.. Nothing really happened except that my head was spinning for a good few mins.
That fall definitely slowed down my pace as we were the last to reach the picnic pool. What a delight to watch this nature made swimming pool. Breathtakingly beautiful, this place made the whole trek worth every moment. For someone who has not had much of a sleeping on the terrace experience the night sky and stars, the constant sound of the the waterfalls, was such a delightful experience.
Having had hot delicious Maggie, all our tiring legs craved to sleep and just rest. Lying on the sleeping mats covering the uneven rocks, it was a huge task to have a peaceful sleep. somehow we spent the night and what a sight to wake up in the morning to again encounter the beautiful sun rays falling on the falls and the pool.
One team went on to another falls located somewhere above the place we had stayed while the rest of us stayed on the pool. Who would expect hot delicious thakkali saadham amidst boulders and rocks. CTC just made the wildest possibility a reality.
Till date that is the best food I have had in the best possible place. Not to forget the instant Bhel puri by Shankar and Hot groundnut with corn mix. Whoaaaa!!!
It was about 11 when we started from the picnic pool. We found the return climb down following the stream quite easy. It was amazing to climb down the gorge using ropes. This was clearly the best part of the trek. To climb down and sit at a spot where water falls right onto your head was "the" moment!
Not slightly inclined to expect a night trek, we were clearly getting late and witnessed just that. Walking itself was getting increasingly difficult, even more to do it in the pitch dark with just one torch for 4 of us.
Again, got to thank Ranjan, Rajashekar, Bharani and many others who kept up pace with us, leading the way. We cant help but be amazed by the standard of organising, specially night treks, finding exactly the right trail and ensuring that none gets lost in the woods.
Instead of grouping into teams, all 35 of us, followed the lead and stopped anytime someone got stuck.
It felt like heaven to reach the foothills by around 10 Pm."Ya.. We did it" !! All everyone wanted was reach home and hit the bed! We stopped at a muniyandi vilas that seems a regular in the CTC schedule, to quickly finish our dinner.
This whole experience was all about team work, sharing and caring unconditional love for complete strangers. By the end of the 2 day awesomeness, all we hear around us is, "Paapom machan", "Next week bike trek iruku, kandipa vanduru", "idhelam sappa machi, namma polaam paaru"!
Hats off to the organisers. To lead the way and to be patient even though we were lagging behind at many places,to keep on encouraging us, appreciating our efforts, you guys truly led the way.
This goes out to every single person who lent their hands throughout the trek. You guys Rock! And this was the best ever experience that I will cherish forever!!
This trek personally gave me a lot of confidence!
"You will fall, get up no matter what, because you have a boulder to cross, cliff to climb, pool to swim across, unending path to walk, but don't think, just do it"
From Sivakumar Doraiswamy
This trek was my first with CTC and what a way to start!!
I believe that there were 30+ people on the trek. Managing the logistics during the trek, managing cooking, route finding, wading across the pools, the ferry service all amidst alternate bouts of rain and sunshine is definitely non-trivial. Kudos to Prem and Arun for having not just the know how but the spirit to do it with enthusiasm and get everybody involved in it as well. You two are something else guys!!
Scrambling on rocks along the stream was new to me. Enjoyed ample opportunities to wade in the water. I almost like the hot and humid weather if only to make the experience of wading in the pools more enjoyable. I loved the way the ferries were organised and how non-swimmers made it across the deep pools in the path. It was exciting and safe.
At the first hint of rain on the first day, I was a little nervous about scrambling on wet rocks and turning an ankle. But I looked around and it seemed like not many people were in the least bit worried about rain. Guys were continuing to walk (though carefully) and enjoy the experience. To overcome nature, we need to embrace it first. So, I gave up worrying about rain, my ankle, the route, how long is it gonna take and just .... walked. It was nice.
I loved sleeping under the open sky. A few stars defied the clouds and put on a show. Weather was pleasant and the rats for some inexplicable reason were feeling shy that night. My noctornal slumber was largely left unattended by the rodent family :-)
On the way back we went thru the pools and not around them. This required some roped travel and some farily tricky ferrying of baggage. Instead of being a difficulty it just ended up being a lot of fun.
Loved the tomato rice. Arun brought along his spices and his other-worldly recipe. It tickled me no end when I saw podina(mint) emerging from the depths of the food bag :-) The tomato rice was done so well, it landed up tasting like vegetarian briyani. We ate it all up down to the last spec of rice.
Loved hiking at night in the rain on the second day. What would normally have made me apprehensive turned into a wonderful experience. While I was a little tired at the end of the hike, I was certainly exhilerated.
Also loved the fact that when there was something to be done, there was no shortage of volunteers. From setting up tarps, to cooking, to helping form a human chain for ferrying baggage, to route finding, to helping out people who are having difficulty with a particular portion of the hike, it was raining volunteers.
A beautiful experience. CTC is wonderful. Kudos to Peter and others who found the route. It was something.
Felt like a dream but its true...
I always like to travel and Explore but this trekking made a great impact in my mind and also in body( in the form of pain :) ).
We met many new good people who are cared for persons met few hours back.
Many times while seeing the discovery channel, we thought it could be dream for us to have an Adventurous trip. But CTC made it available to us.
Everyone contributed their part in the trek. Special Thanks to Swimmers Who helped the non swimmers in each stage. We saw a real Team work in this trip.
Dog which came along with us in the trek is a memorable one.
CTC team is very conscious in keeping the Forest clean. We carried all the waste covers with us. Even if some of them left some materials others took it with them.
Ideas Used by organizers are really great. Some of the ideas are having a colored band in hand for non swimmers(Prem) .Head count with the vehicle count(Arun).
Some of the philosophical thoughts came to my mind when we are in this trek.
Without knowing our potential we fear to take risk. That we realized in this Trek. As we are the first trekkers, we brought many items for the trek and carried all along with us and suffered to carry the luggage. Then we felt that we should have brought the essential items. Similar things apply to our life. We carry many unnecessary thoughts/desires and make our life complex.
Peter is a Real Explorer who made a way for us to see this Wonderful place. Special Thanks to Organizers who took special care of the slow trekkers and injured guys.
Life is beautiful... don't waste it in city...