Into the WILD - Off road ride to Nagari

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Written by Omi -

What would one imagine if I had to say I went on a road trip? Is it the long stretch ofhighways, scenic ghat roads or even wildlife encounters? Well, I can prove youwrong with our experience in Nagari. This trip had nothing of that sort, butwould be one among the best many of us would have done in our lifetime. Whatmade it so special? Well, there are so many factors which comes to my mind. Thetrail and destination we chose, weather, food and most of all the crowd, whichwas enthusiastic and helpful, on every move of the trip, especially ridingacross the stream when our machines needed more than a person to maneuver it. 


I was not quite sure if Ishould sign up for this ride, as it had been long since I had done one. I am alone rider and have not travelled as a group since 2005, which was during my college. Adding to it was my broken arm, though it was fixed a couple of years back, it kicked me back from doing any such trips. I called up Sasti, my cousin, and checked if he was fine with doing a trip like this on his new bike,which was not delivered at the time I asked him , he immediately showed a green signal. I’ve also heard a lot about Peter (all good of course) and was waiting for the right time to do a trip/trek under his organizing. So it began, the 'road' to Nagari. All set for the weekend, with last minute shopping yet to be done, buying Upma and Channa masala. My luck plays fool with me a lot when it comes to buying food items for treks. Somehow they are out of stock or is notavailable anywhere near. This time I had to roam around for 3 hours to get theChanna masala, after which I hurried to office. Do you think I'd have worked..nope.! I was staring at the prep mails Peter had sent, especially the map andwas picturing the roads, streams, camp site and the fun that was in store. Sasti came and picked me up from office, as I had planned to crash at his placeand get the saddle bag packed up. I made sure I get a good night sleep beforethe morning ride, but I could not. The excitement creeped in and had to start home to pack the last minute gear. 

Day 1: 

I am not sure why, but somehow got this in my mind that the reporting time at CMBT was 5.30. Damn.! I met Muthu en route to my house at Tidel, who said the reporting time was 4.20AM, so had to hurry home and get the packing done. I made sure I withdrew money from the ATM, but as you all know, only when you are in a hurry you're patience will be tested. The ATMs close to my place didn't work. After reaching CMBT and exchanging the "Hi's", we ran to the ATM since Bhavana kept calling out our names and I thought we were the only ones who had not paid. I ran to the ATM and got the money and in the meantime the team had started to move, though I had informed Ajay I was at the ATM, next to CMBT. I am quite familiar withthe route, but didn't know if they took the Thiruvallur or the Periyapalayam route. I called Muthu, who told me it was the latter. So we cruised down theroad and by the time we reached Puzhal we sighted our fellow riders. I am pretty sure Sasti would have freaked out till that time. 

The start was quite awesome, just the way I want a road trip to be, raining/drizzling throughout, wet roads. It started to rain by the time we reached the highway toll. Sasti was a little hesitant to ride in the rains, but it did not last long, I mean the rains. Soon after the drizzles, we stopped for tea. 

The early morning showers made sure our journey was dust free thought as we stopped for breakfast at Uthukottai. Thanks to bad roads, our journey was slow and I had lot of time for some early morning pictures. The breakfast was yummy with my favorite menu, Idli and vadakari at Sathish mess, CTC's spot for breakfast. Since Peter was helping out Ram to get his bike fixed, we were waiting at the Pichatur dam till they arrived, which gave us more time for photo session. 

Once they arrived, we started to move ahead since there was a lot of ground to be covered. Here began the confusion.The entire team started from the other side of the dam while we (Sankar,Chokku, Sasti and myself were still waiting at the dam’s spillway. We noticed agroup of bikers moving towards Nagala and thought they were from our group. Sankar immediately followed them and I followed him. I remember to a certain extent that we had to go via Puthur as I had seen the map too many times. I called Muthu, who luckily, was waiting for us at the Pichatur dam.By the time we could realize, rest of our group had already reached Gudimallam temple and had had a very photo shoot (feel very bad to have missed this opportunity). The sun had started to drain us out. Luckily, we had covered the boring part of the trip and were about to start what we had come for, the off-roading part. 

It began with the small streams, dirt roads around the sugar cane fields till we reached the dam, where we took a refreshing dip and planned to finish our lunch. It was a little disappointing to everyone as the chappathi’s were not ‘ready to eat’, but the ‘ready to cook’ ones. That turned out to be advantageous, as we had to camp at another place for lunch and there was not an inch of shade near the dam. 

Peter, who knew nuke and corner of this place, showed the spot. Man, that was the best place I’ve ever camped. It was a huge area close to the stream, with large stones and goodshade for a power nap. Thanks to the team which prepared lunch hurting their hands trying to roast the chappathis. I felt very sleepy, but could not as Muthu, Sankar, Sasti and myself had some intersting things to talk about and moreover we were a lot curious about the rest of our journey. 

It was quite tough from here. Ramtook the lead and we followed him. The trail had a lot of streams tocross, a few were easy, few were deep enough for the water to get into theexhaust and other had rocks which would stop the machines from moving anyfurther. One such stream was quite challenging, where Sasti had me cross it andcontinue the journey there on. This was a test for both rider and the pillion.Both had to be in sync with each other and also with the bike. Sasti and myselfhad that, though he was a little scared in seeing the steep trails with watermelon sized rocks, considering the monster's age, which was just about a week old. Ram/Nagin and Sasti/myself managed to reach the temple on our bike, so did Raj/Geoffrey and Vetri/Jeevan. But a few were smart enough to park the bikes a bit down and walked atop to the temple. 

We still had to reach the camp site and were waiting for Peter for the directions. I was expecting a long walk, as a few were saying we had to walk 5kms to reach the place. I was a little excited and also hesitant, since the saddle bags are not something you can carry it on your shoulders all the way. I had a word with Peter, who said its just a 300m walk to the falls. The full moon, ready to be eclipsed, welcomed us with its beauty. I was quite eager to see how the waterfall looked like as I was too tired and desperately wanted to take a dive. It was indeed beautiful and with no hesitation I jumped into it. Dinner time. As it happens on all the treks, the taste of noodles started making me feel hungry. Helped in cutting beans for the cooks, making sure dinner is cooked fast. The night was pretty cold, and after the hot soupy noodles our head the 'pillow'. Thanks to Siva for lending me half of his blanket. 


Not much of an agenda on day2. Got up early, around 6.30 and jumped into the pool without expecting anyone. It was quite cold, but who would miss this opportunity? After a while Muthu and myself went for a little walk to see if there was something interesting to capture. Damn.. we missed breakfast :( When we returned all that was left was a traces of upma in the vessel. We managed with that and planned to compensate that with lunch. Soon we started the descend. Most of the pillions decided to walk till we reached a smoother ground. I was a little selfish here, thinking I could spend some time with my camera, but Sasti Kumar was too kind to walk, giving his bike for me to ride. Never would have he expected that he had to walk for more than an hour to reach us. I felt the descend was challenging than riding uphill, as it required a lot of control, power and stamina. 

Once we regrouped, we geared up for a small photo shoot at the same camp site where we had lunch the previous day. The light condition was too good, a gift for any photographer. We continued to ride on the same trail till we reached the village, where we had to take a slight detour. Peter's plan was to finish lunch near Kalahasthi. A few of us were roaming in search of a good place to eat. Arun showed a small mess, that was awesomely enough for us, to quench our hunger. Meals, chicken and fish made our menu. From there we took a relaxed ride to small dam 20kms towards Pichatur. I took a quick dip and came down for a photo session. Arun was too excited to ride along the still water. Kudos Arun, the pics came out quite well and yeah, Apoorva.. your pics as well.. but you have to pay a small price to get it from me.. lol. 

After a tea break break at Pichatur, we sat down for dinner. I was a little worried that the trip had come to an end too very soon (I know that's how you feel on every trip). Arun, Bhavana, Kiran, Sasti and myself were browsing through the pictures we clicked on the trip while waiting for food. After a nice hot dinner, with roti and chicken, we bid goodbyes and started our way back home. 

I am sure this trip lived upto everyone's expectations. Some might not have thought it would be a regular road trip. But for me, I had no clue we were onto something like this. I'd say all this was possible only because of Peter. Every time I read a blog or a post-trek/trip email from others, there would be a last few lines which talk about Peter and the way he managed to organize/complete the trek/trip. I now understand why. 

Thank you people for making this weekend/trip a memorable one. Special thanks and mentions to Sasti, Muthu, Sankar, Vetri, CBR Arun, Avenger Arun, Nishanth, Chokku, Prashanth, Swami and Ram... I so enjoyed your company.! 

Meet you guys in the future trips and treks. 

Happy travelling.



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