(February 11th & 12th)
Write Up by AJAY,
Before I start this write up, it is always worth to look up to this particular quote which says,
“Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth Westheimer.
These are few little things that make a lot of difference in a person’s life and in the end these are those little things that 20-30 years down the line still remain in our memories. One of this began with this trek which I am going to share of all our experiences together and how beautiful it was set up.
First of all, I would like to thank the Chennai Trekkers Club for having organized this trek for all of us and their guidance throughout the trek never went unnoticed. Like me, there were few others who were going to trek for the first time and it was indeed getting exciting to experience one in reality.
We started at 4am from Koyambedu on Saturday early morning and set our ride towards Nagalapuram Hills which happens to be approximately 90 km drive. We stopped by on the way to eat some breakfast and continued our journey to the hills. The drive was extremely pleasant and once we entered the Nagala topography, there seemed to be an aura of calmness which clearly showed how close to nature we were getting ourselves. Far away from the busy cities and chaos, this seemed a wonderful start to what was going to be an eventful trek.
The weather was ideal for a trek, and I could see passionate trekkers who just couldn’t wait to get started with this adventure. So, here we go, we all gathered our food supplies, segregated to each other and we set up for a fun filled adventure ahead. There was lush green forest around us with a lake and sun shining on us really felt a fantastic start to a trek. We traversed through thorns, bees, insects, rocks and the trail really helped us get our way into the hills. I was thinking, ‘Wow, this seemed really fun’. Around 30 minutes went by and then started the steep climb upwards and I knew that there definitely was a big test coming up for the new trekkers to face off with adventure.
THE FIRST POOL
Our first stop came at the first pool, and everybody was excited to have a jump in to the pool. I felt like I really needed a dip into the pool even though I have to admit the night before the trek I fell ill. But, it was important all of us enjoyed the occasion and there we went swimming, clinging onto whatever we could at the pool. Few of us had flare for diving and others just enjoyed the chill stream of the pool. It indeed was refreshing and felt really good to have a dip. It was for everybody to enjoy, even the non swimmers could dip in and have a swim and enjoy the fresh water. It was a refreshing time that we had and then we again set up to move forward in our trek.
We had to face some really testing terrain and it was a lot of fun for all of us walking together to reach a common goal, ‘The Picnic Pool’. So, we kept going and many of us had a trip/ slip here and there for the other’s delight. We had a good laugh all together and continued our trek. The stream kept coming along with us and the whole environment was refreshing.
A special mention to a dog which we happened to find in the starting point came along all the way with us every step. It was really fun to see it cherishing the walk and brought few smiles to people around.
We neared our next stop which was named as –
THE DEAD END POOL
It is quite interesting how this name came up, as it speaks about the previous trekkers who came until this spot and then found there was no way to go further. They used to assume this was the dead end. Only for a set of people who found a way out to go ahead and clear their way ahead of the dead end pool. It has these huge rocks that mesmerises you and makes you wonder how really we are going to get through them to the other side. We showed good team work and had to clear off all the baggage first in order to make way for each one of us to swim our way across to the rocks so that we could climb up.
I would like to refer to the first quote I said earlier in the beginning of the write up, that ‘Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth Westheimer.
This is what we are, and this is how we are tested. It is one goal, and everybody has different purpose in their lives to accomplish it. For some, it is a routine bread earner, for some it is a routine trek that they share as their passion, for some first timers it is one whole new experience to wonder how it is done, and for some like the lil dog, it is its path to happiness and its sole purpose of getting food from us. Each one of us have a purpose to live and work hard towards the goal, it’s now we reach it is what we are tested.
At this juncture, I would like to apologise to all my fellow trekkers for the less help I could offer to all of you, though I gave the best I could. I was ill from home right before we started the trek, and I was really pushing myself forward slowly to get this far. I absolutely didn’t want to miss the trek due to illness, and thus I wanted to face off with how far my body could take me and give it a shot.
A special mention to Bala, Prithvi, and Surya for all the assistance they gave to me and all others. In the end, it was all of us together that really got us this far. Thus, it was the whole teamwork that got us this far across the dead end pool.
So, here we are having crossed this no longer called ‘dead end pool’ and I look right at the creek and wonder, how on earth could I’ve ever crossed that. I am sure many other first timers would’ve guessed the same.
The group deserved a good rest and we all sat down cooking for lunch. Well made egg burji along with the Chapatis that were served to all of us earlier. A special mention on Bala who carried 60 eggs all the way in his hand and ensured it was in good condition for a good supper.
Many had dreams of catching fish, but it went in vain after few trials. So the wait went on, and meanwhile everybody had a really good lunch. We had got sweets for the whole group, and it was distributed to everybody.
We enjoyed the trek all this while, and then came the real test for me personally. My fever soared high during this time, and at one stage it really made me wonder if I was a luggage to everybody and was it better off for me to stay back, or do I push myself to limits now that having gone this far, it surely would make the feeling sweeter to reach the end.
So, I decided the latter and we took off further after a good rest towards the trek.
THE BECKONING HILL
Aha!! My favourite- Heights!! O boy, when I saw all of us set up the hill with the steep climb I knew there was a lot of hard work and some scary moments for me ahead. We basically were trying to find out if there was a way out to the other side by climbing this hill. The hill truly was calling us, and we kept climbing up deeper into its peak. I am personally scared of heights, and my legs have been cramping continuously due to less immunity because of my illness. This got me worried how would I face the fear of heights, and also bring in a sense of confidence in me that wherever I step my foot, that wouldn’t fall.
I would really like to appreciate the patience shown by the group during this phase, as I was kind of slowing down the pack due to my fear for heights. I would like to thank each one of them who helped me in this juncture and pushed me forward step by step. We climbed right up, and then it was a downhill which really got me scared with a small trail of space and the gorge below. Though took me a little time, but all of us did it finally and we climbed our way down the rocks and reached flat ground. That was a sense of relief for all of us. I would like to thank Surya for pushing me through this, to Prithvi who volunteered to carry my heavy bag; it helped me a lot as I could just focus on getting myself down with less weight on my back. To Bala, for having shown us the way step by step and to few others who accompanied us on this hill whom names I am unable to recollect. I really thank all of you for the support of sticking together.
Finally, I faced my fear- HEIGHTS! I felt really good and again wondered how the hell I could’ve ever done what we just didJ. The beauty of the gorge was there for all to see.
We set off our trail once again towards our final spot, by walking by the stream once again. It was a long 40 minute walk that took us through streams, and much more streams and rocks around. We chatted our way and kept going, and my tiredness was taking a toll, but I knew the Picnic pool was nearing and kept telling myself to keep going.
THE PICNIC POOL
We could see the picnic pool right in front of us around 400metres away. 2 choices, either swim our way to it, or again climb up a small hill. Many swam their way across and some took the hill, and finally we landed at the place. It felt great having got this far. Quickly everybody set up to have a swim and have lots of fun. Cooking for the night dinner was well under way, as at night it just gets pitch dark.
We had a lovely waterfall coming right from the hills and splashing down to the pool where everybody just seemed to enjoy their time. I was sad I could not swim much throughout the trek due to my legs cramping a lot. But I had a dip here and there which felt really good. We lit the fire, and started our cooking. Meanwhile some decided to get a well deserved sleep. I was admiring the way all were sitting and speaking their heart out. I wish I knew Tamil this well that I could speak just like how they converse, thought it felt really good to see the blokes enjoying their time J
We made Besibelabath and carrot halwa, and both the recipes were tried in 3 versions. The Besibelabath had few feedbacks and we quickly corrected the same in the second version and everybody ate stomach full. The 3rd version of besibelabath was prepared which was eaten the next day. The carrot halwa though was stuck in the first version for the whole evening J but, credit to all the guys for trying it out though. They started making it from 6pm and finally by 11pm it was ready and the halwa was a treat to eat.
In a place where food supplies are less in numbers, the guys did a good job of supplying food for everybody. Some guys tried their luck to get a big fish lingering around in the pond, but in vain.
The night at the picnic pool was simply breathtaking. As we lie down, we could hear the subtle stream flowing downhill in front of us, the moon looking as bright as it ever was, and the stars gazed upon the twinkling sky. Mountains all around, this was a moment to cherish. Add this up with the fire flies flying around, these are what hard work and a lot of courage brings us to.
We took a moment to cherish Mother Nature right beneath our feet and a sense of satisfaction that we all accomplished together.
The next day as we woke up to the sound of ‘fish’ being captured, everybody was excited and found we had fish fry being made. Everybody started working towards it, while some took additional rest. We had a nice Kellogg’s for breakfast and I tried a bit of the fish fry, and it was time for all of us to get ready and set for the return back to the base. Meanwhile, many took to the waterfall and dived to the pool with an amazement of us watching the same. It was really nice to see all of us having a good time.
I would not dig deep and explain the return, but will stress on the place we came to where we had to decide on whether we take the hill once again on top or there was a another way of climbing down a wooden log about 8ft down, and then a further 8 ft rope tied down to the below gorge. It was fun, and we all got down one by one, and swam our way ashore. Then on, it was a walk all the way towards the starting point. We stopped by just before the Dead end pool, and had a good lunch with chapattis, rice and a lot of mayonnaise adding to the taste. Took good rest, and recharged our batteries for what was in store of getting over the dead end pool.
One by one we started unloading ourselves to the other end of the huge rocks, and then it was for all of us to jump down the huge rock down to the pool below. The expert swimmers were waiting for us. So we did one by one and it was good fun. All the baggage’s were unloaded and swept ashore in dry land, everybody was fine and it was really good to see no serious injuries were suffered. In the end, we deserved a nice group photo at the starting point and we slowly walked back to our mini bus that waited for us.
I will finally conclude by saying that it takes a lot of hard work – mentally and emotionally to accomplish such tasks. The best part of this was that we lay down the challenge of this adventure, and we set out together to achieve it. We definitely did not have lush grasslands below us giving us an easy ride; it was hard rock, sand and a lot of effort to climb our way towards the hurdles that we crossed. 5-10 years down the line, we will still be talking about these days as this is when we were remembered for having enjoyed the adventure wholeheartedly.
I would thank one and all for all the support they have given to us and to me personally for all my illness. We will meet again in our next trek and am sure that time I would be in a better shape far off from any illness which would allow me to enjoy the water, streams more, swim along with all of you and socialise even more. I shall now copy paste the quote I have used as a base to this whole write up, as it does speak of what we are and how can we relate such experiences to our day today lives. J
“Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth Westheimer.
Thank you Bala and Prithvi, Surya and everybody else, to the organizers for organizing a lovely trek, to each one of you who were present, to the lil dog which accompanied us throughout the trek and went back home stomach full of food, to the Heights that scared me, but not for long as I worked myself through the fear and faced it head on! To our drivers of the mini bus who took us up and down and mingled with us.
A big thanks to Chennai Trekking Club, and I once again wish all of you well and let’s continue to have many more treks to come.
Here is the nabble link :