Post Trek Write Up from Prasanna Kumar:
This would be boring to read for all veterans of CTC that Venkatagiri trek organized from 19th – 20th Nov was the one of the best and exciting treks. Well, it might be but not for us who scaled the peak with record time through one the most dry, sultry and waterless terrain.
This was my 2nd trek with CTC and 6th overall trek of my life. I tried to have a quick nap before I leave my home at 12 am coz once in car with all like-minded people you cannot find good sleep. I reached my pickup spot bit leave with my share of food and reached koyembedu through Aditya Verma’s (The Weatherman) speeding Hyundai i10 car which had to be left behind due to lesser head count.
We had a quick intro at the common point, signing of liability forms and after continuous pleading by Arun to start soon we started by 1.45 am and headed towards Kolkata highway. The highways initially were not welcoming with huge traffic lined for several kilometers. The Emperors with “Never say DIE” attitude turned around took the Uthakottai route to reach the destination ASAP. People were struggling to stay awake but the excitement kept them going.
We stopped along the route for morning break and at once the SLR’s started clicking for the rising sun and guys roaming about, while Prem distributed all the food items. A passerby would have whether we were going for a trek or food festival. We had breakfast at 2 small eateries inside the local bus stand comprising of idly, dosas, vadai etc.
During this time, Arun and Prem finished the legal formalities. We headed towards the peak after parking our vehicles near a village. A villager helped us to reach the base of the peak. The sight of the peak seemed like a huge muffin cake atop a pile of spinach curry. (Lol… Damn my imagination) By this time, walking through the sands of dried river and under the scorching sun I started taking deep breathes but never dared to sip in the water which will surely slow down your pace.
We started climbing the peak by 9 am and slowly moved under the shades of trees and thorns which occasionally tore your skin. Under the sun we lost our body fluids very easily and started sipping more water mixed with Glucon-D. We reached our first resting point after much of struggle and took a power nap of 15 mins and resumed our trek. The leading group was nowhere to be seen and Prem being the sweeper tried to push many of us through his motivational speech saying “Come on 5 mins from now you will reach the resting point”. I wondered how he kept saying this every hour :-p. In the end, that’s what made us keep moving. Kudos to our sweeper cum motivator Prem.
We reached the common resting point where we met all the guys gorging on their lunch. The last group joined us and we finished our lunch all together sharing our pickles, jam and fruits. We were disappointed to find no water usually found under the creek. Some wondered we won’t be able to make it to the peak given the absence of water and no surety of water top of the peak.
I was literally taken aback with the history of the fort atop the peak. The curiosity of visiting the place made me forget all confusions and started climbing the hill. From this time the excitement grew higher as we saw man made rocky steps and the first watch tower right under the majestic peak. I was just awestruck with the view of the huge rock mountain.
we took break here with some 10 guys and had chat about Wilbur Sargunaraj (You Tube Indian star). We all started cracking more and more jokes which made me forget all the pain I carried. Thank you Aditya, Prem, Kishore, Pushpa, Esakki and others…
From this point, Prem made it clear there would be no stopping as we are on mission to create a CTC record of scaling the peak before 3 pm. So far none of the groups from CTC have scaled the peak so fast. I wondered we moved on so slowly and yet we were the fastest. They say life is full of surprises…..
Led by Prem again our group was the last to climb the peak. From here the terrain became more and more steep and we were taking more time to climb. With occasional stops to capture the valley in my DSLR we kept moving, hoping that we will find water atop the peak. Once we reached the arch entry we all were so much overjoyed. It took us only a hour to scale the peak against 2 hours claimed by Prem. Another milestone achieved.
We were hoping for the good news of the discovery of water and at last we got it. Rain water seeping the ground was flowing out like tap water. All the guys had fresh up and gobbled lots and lots of water. I and Kiran went for searching dried woods and were able to collect many from very scary edges of the peak. Thanks Kiran without your help I couldn’t have collected those dry woods.
We reached the campsite within half an hour. Some of the folks were busy with setting up the tent, some assembling the dry woods and few busy with cooking. I joined Arun in chopping the vegetables. It grew darker and started feeling the chilling winds. Under the tent people were trying to grab their sleeping place which was a fun to watch.
First we were served with soupy noodles or should I say noodles soup. Whatever you call it, we enjoyed the soup till the last drop. Next on the menu was the yummy vegetable biryani. Arun, Selva, Chella sir and Senthil was seriously involved in the cooking. Thanks to their efforts the biryani turned out to be the best one can ask for. People kept asking for more not even sparing the overcooked rice sticking to the utensils. At that time, people wondered why they brought smaller bowls.
Next, it was the time for the campfire. As quoted by Arun, Emperors made out the biggest campfire and all of the danced around the fire. That was so wonderful to watch. Rakesh chipped in with his flute music to enthrall all guys in peace. The entertainment carried on with our “Solo Santhosh” with frequent jokes and pranks. Poor Santhosh, he tried his best to keep quiet but the whole gang wasn’t giving up on him.
Few guys tried out their photo skills by shooting the CTC and EMPERORS text under Bulb mode. I should say those photos were simply superb.
Who would have thought that the dinner was over and time to sleep? Arun surprised everyone with his quick popcorn servings. Thanks a ton to Arun the Champ. Immediately all guys rushed back to their respective places and ventured into one of their most tiring and deepest sleep coupled with huge snoring. I woke up twice in the night.
Then came the dawn and people started roaming around the fort and clicking photos. I, rakesh and Jerry moved down to the adjacent peaks for more lively photos. The view from the peak was even more fantastic. Few more people joined us later for photo sessions. We rushed back for our yummy noodles to be served cooking hot. To finish all remaining food items, we emptied out the whole pickle and butter packets into the pot. The taste wassimply superb and people didn’t spare any.
We packed our bags to start scaling down. Plan was to reach the base by 12 pm and go for the unexplored waterfall. This time swept by Arun we started walking down the peak and reached the 1st resting point for the intro sessions and pranks with all the guys who gave out their intro. Best one was for Prem. People didn’t give any chance for him to speak and kept clapping… that was one joyful moment.
After group photo sessions, it was time to run to base as early as possible to beat the heat at the waterfalls. Sadly enough, a part of group along with me got lost and wasted a hour searching the correct path. Arun came back whistling and we regrouped again. Thanks to Balaji who came gave a lift in his mighty Thar jeep to reach the parking area.
Having lost all stamina I couldn’t carry on with the next venture to the waterfalls. So we a group of 3 cars started back to Chennai. On the way we had our lunch at nearby hotel feasting upon leftover biryani, meals and lots of chicken fries. I got into Praveen’s vento car and thought of having a nice nap. But I, jerry, Praveen, karthik and Nanda kept chatting till we reached Chennai. That was a wonderful drive along with the group.
Once back home, my mom enquired about my trip. I said “It’s a long story”. I hope my write-up says all….
Thanks to all fellow trekkers for this wonderful and memorable trek. I can say this with confidence as after more than a month I hope I’m able to recollect the whole trip. Special thanks to Arun and Prem for including me in this amazing trek. Hope to join more treks with majestic Emperors….. Hola….