Emperors Team-4- Emperor's Difficult Trek to Nagala Combo

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Write Up from Sneha

I've been looking for a good trekking club for quite some time and chanced on the chennai trekking club about two months back and boy do I thank my lucky stars everyday that I did! Ctc is every trekker's/ adventure seeker's dream for both beginners as well as hard core trekkers alike. The day I found ctc I immediately registered for an easy trek with a friend of mine and had an amazing time. The 2 day trek from nagala west to east was my second trek with ctc. I still am a relatively new member of the group but I've already had some of the best experiences of my life and I can hardly wait for more! Here's a brief account of our two day trek to nagala. I just hope I've done justice to it as I honestly feel that it is something that has to be personally felt and there really are no words that adequately describe it. But I've given it my best shot so here goes..


We were to start from chennai at 3 in the morning on saturday so I spent friday night rushing through all my weekend assignments and deadlines, something architecture students are way too familiar with. There was also of course the not so occasional franctic texts to madhu all through the night, checking and rechecking if we've packed everything or if we've packed too much. I met her on my first trek to nagala with ctc and we couldn't wait to get away from it all and see the beautiful green trees, the rocks and the clear sparkling water again. When it finally turned two thirty, I had just managed to finish all my work and it was finally time to leave. When I reached the pick up point, rakshith was already there and in a few minutes the van arrived, right on schedule. 


As we jumped onto the van, we realized we didn't know anyone else there and being quite a reserved and shy person I wondered how we were going to spend the next two days with complete strangers. But half an hour into the journey, introductions were made, past trekking experiences were shared and already I could feel a soft bond creeping around us,silently laying its foundation, a bond between nature lovers and adventure seekers, between simple human beings just looking for an escape from the monotonous city life. Little did I know that this bond would grow and strengthen with every step, binding us all together for the next two days and would be the core of the truely awesome experience we all had.

We reached oothu kottai at the break of dawn and stopped for a cup of tea watching the sunrise. After a little refreshment we got into the van again and reached the entrance to nagala in about half an hour. Food was immediately distributed to all of us for the next two days and the start of the trek was marked by ctc's famous bun and jam for breakfast lol. Once we were done with our buns we started on our trek at quite a fast pace.I was familiar withthe terrain as my first trek was to nagala west and so managed the initial part with ease. Our first stop was at the third pool where rakesh and marimuthu dove into the deep pool from various heights. What a treat that was to watch while we waited for the rest of the team!


The next phase of our trek was the climb to central peak which is 800m above sea level. A few of our team mates were down with cramps so we left our bags with them and started on our climb to central peak. The uphill climb was extremely steep and being an inexperienced trekker I fell behind and slowly made my way with mani who was on sweeper duty. Poor mani and arun had quite a hard time pushing me and everytime I tried stopping for a break arun would turn around saying, " we're almost there!" Or "only 50m more!" Or "its only flat land after this!" But of course, it never really was only 50m more and the flat land never came lol but it helped me finally get to the top. There was no trail in the last stretch to the peak which made it extremely adventureous as arun and mani had to figure out the route using a gps. The feeling when we finally reached the peak is indescribable! Sweaty and breathless, we swung ourselves onto the edge of the cliff overlooking the whole of nagala, laughing into the sun. All of us high on a wonderful feeling of achievement and freedom jumped from rock to rock to find the perfect spot for our group picture. For a picture that would capture this perfect moment forever. As we were already a little behing schedule we started making our way back in about half an hour. The climb downhill was much easier and when we joined the rest of our team mates aval or "yummy aval" as arun calls it lol was already ready for lunch. 


After a quick break for lunch, we filled up our water bottles and set on our way. This was where the real trekking started. It was already noon and we had a lot of distance to cover, almost 20km, to reach picnic pool - our campsite. It was just continuous walking from here.. through thorns, bushes, streams, rocks and boulders. It really was a sight to see all the experienced trekkers swiftly and gracefully jump from boulder to boulder with such ease! I on the other hand would stumble and slip on every boulder i landed on lol. But it was a good learning experience and after only about the hundredth fall and with a lot of help from the others, i learnt where not to place my foot while jumping onto wet boulders lol. In this manner we slowly made our way and before we knew it, it was already nearing sunset and we still had a lot of distance to cover! As we had been walking continuously without any breaks, most of us were exhausted and we considered camping somewhere on the way as the campsite was still quite far away. But Arun wouldn't hear of it and everytime we tried stopping he'd tell us how beautiful the picnic pool was and how we'd forget all our pain and exhaustion with just one look at the pool. So we took out our torches and continued our trek into the night. 

I'm so glad Arun pushed us to reach picnic pool as the night trek is one of the awesomest experiences i've had! The moonlight couldnt penetrate the dense vegetation so our only source of light were our pen light torches which made our trek through the already difficult terrain ten times more difficult! As we could only see what was immediately in front of us, we had to watch our steps more carefully which further reduced our pace. Tired and hungry we slowly made our way, only looking down at the footsteps of the person in front of us, dreaming about the beautiful picnic pool. After what seemed like an eternity we reached treasure hunt pool. Everyone was overjoyed as picnic pool was now only half an hour away! Our goal to reach the campsite finally seemed achievable! But first, our backpacks and the non swimmers had to be ferried across treasure hunt pool. Thankfully i'm a decent swimmer and as soon as i got rid of my backpack i jumped into the lovely, cold water and swam to the other end of the pool, all pain and exhaustion washed away. Sitting on the rocks on the other side of the pool, i watched with amazement the wonderfully simple and ingenious way the others were ferrying the backpacks. Once all of us were safely on the other side of the pool we continued our trek to picnic pool with new found energy and resolve. We finally reached picnic pool at around midnight and arun was right, it really was one of the most beautiful sites i've ever seen! We forgot our hunger, our exhaustion, our cuts, bruises and scratches and stood silently for a while as the beauty of the landscape washed over us. 


We then spread out and chose spots to camp for the night. Another group from CTC was already camped there and most of them were asleep by the time we reached. Once we had left our bags at the spots we'd chosen we all huddled around a fire, eagerly waiting for arun's biryani. I was almost greedily drinking in the beauty and serenity of the place, afraid that the one night just wouldnt be enough and forgetting our exhaustion we slowly broke into playful chatter. Poor Mani seemed to be the target for everyone and after pulling his leg for quite a while the biryani was finally ready. Sitting around a bonfire, eating steaming spicy biryani Andhra style, talking and laughing into the cold and quiet night - it really couldnt get better than this. Once we were all done with dinner, we finally retreated to our respective spots for the night. I was so exhausted that i fell into deep slumber immediately after my head touched the ground.

I got up pretty late next morning.. at around 8 30. I had slept really well.. not getting up even once through the night, which doesnt happen often for me. By the time i had got up, everyone else was already awake and were even done with their morning tea. The other group was there as well and so we got to know more people and make new friends. Most of them were in the pool, diving off different levels from the waterfalls into the pool below. What a brilliant sight it was to see! The photographers were frantically clicked away, trying to get the perfect diving shot. Quite a few magnificent pictures were captured in fact, waiting to become facebook profile pictures the next day. I tried jumping off a few lower rocks as well. The sense of freedom i felt the few seconds i was in the air is really indescribable! After everyone was done with their various stunts in the pool we eagerly took out our bowls again for steaming maggie soup. Once we were done with breakfast, the non swimmers and bags had to be ferried across once again. 

We then made our way through the now familiar terrain and reached the gorge pool. I was awestruck at the gauge.. it was one of the largest i'd ever seen! The swimmers were allowed to swim through it. It was a narrow, winding channel ending in a large water fall. Swimming through the winding channel was one of the most adventurous things i'd ever done and the waterfall at the end was icing on the cake! After a short photo session there, playing around with the underwater camera we made our way back to where the rest of the team was waiting.

After a short while we reached another ferry point. This was a little more difficult as both groups were going together and the the cliffs were very narrow and steep. Once everyone safely got to the other side , we stopped for lunch - yummy aval lol. We spent some time here eating, chatting and talking photographs. Some people even tried catching fish for a fish barbecue but let the fish back into the water in the end. The rest of the trek was very easy and it felt just like a nice long walk through the beautiful streams, rocks and trees. Now a larger group, we finished the trek with ease, chatting and laughing all the way. We were at the exit by 6 and after a group photograph the two groups parted ways again into their respective vans.


We stopped again at uthu kottai for an early dinner. Now that everyone had gotten to know each other really well, we were all extremely comfortable and completely ourselves and had a wonderful time. This marked the end of our trek as we all got back into the van to get dropped off at our respective stops in chennai.

This trek was one of the most awesome experiences i've ever had. I learnt a lot, made new friends, got the escape i was yearning for and had the time of my life. kudos to arun and the rest of the organizers for this truely amazing trek and for teaching me that anything was possible if only you set your mind to it. 

 With Regards




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