Writeup: Noel Prashant
Excited about my second trek, I thought I should not commit the same mistake I did during my last trek - To sleep. But the excitement never let me close my eyes. I tried, but hardly I could sleep for almost half-an-hour. My alarm rang at 3:30.
After my morning chores, I took my time to recheck whether all things are packed. Then I fled my room, and reached my pick-up point (Madhya Kailash) at 4:05am. I thought I would be the first person to reach. But, to my surprise, I was the last. All the enthusiasts arrived before me!!! Starting with a quick introduction, our pickup vehicle (Innova of Dr. Raj Prabhu) arrived at 4:10am, and soon we started to Koyembedu, Nathan's Cafe.
I was assigned to get signatures in the disclaimer form. So, I started my work as soon as I reached there. After all done, we, a team of 31, started off to Nagalapuram, West Entry with a tempo traveler, an Innova, a Ritz, and a Verna. Upon reaching the base camp, the food items and the common gears were shared. All were very excited about the adventures, some thinking it would be as in man vs wild, while few not exactly knowing "what a trek is"!!! ;)
After having our breakfast (pongal), We started walking across the dam, carrying our bag-packs. Crossing the dam, had a tough time walking the sands. We reached the first stream. It was then I was on cloud nine. Refreshing for some time, we started through the dense and narrow trail till we reached the Second pool, the non-swimmers pool. Not even wasting a split second,everyone jumped into the pool. We had a great time playing water balloon.
After celebrating the second pool, we started to the third pool, the mega sliding pool / the divers pool. Then swimmers displayed their skills by diving, doing back flips, and all kind of stuff!!! The non-swimmers too dived with their tubes/jackets on. Having a great time in the pool, it was time to have our lunch (lemon bath). After lunch, we rested a while, and started to the Mini Kutralam.
On reaching mini kutralam, we took rest, and waited for the sun to go down. Filling our water bottles, we headed towards the hardest part of the trek - a steep climb of about 100-150 meters, followed by a steep down. Finally we reached the place where I could felt my breath!!!, the fifth pool. After some time refreshing, we left to our camp site. A small downpour was there when we started to the camp site. We made in time in the rain, put on the tarps and started searching dry firewood in the rain.
The rain stopped after some 20 odd minutes, and it was then we started cooking. Soup followed by the noodles, everything yummy!!! After food, few slept, while few enjoyed playing.
Day two started at about four, when about 15-20 hard guys pushed themselves to the peak to see the sunrise, while others were still sleeping. While they were on the peak, we started preparing Tea and milk for our breakfast (Cornflakes and Chocos). They came back, and we had our breakfast, and Tea. Then, we started to pack the things, and are ready to start. We planned not to halt at any pool unil mini kutralam. We reached mini kutralam. It was there, when ajay, and three others said they were leaving to the Third pool. I later thought, I will also follow them to the third pool, instead of halting at mini kutralam.
But, my bad luck, I lost the trail and was forced to return back to the mini kutralam. It was on the way, where I tried to explore another way, thinking it would be a shortcut to mini kutralam. I tried to climb a 3 meter boulder, and my leg sliped and I came down about 2.5 meters and fell in the black mud!!! :( Then again, pushing myself hard, I successfully came up the boulder and reached mini kutralam. I then went to the falls to have myself washed, and had a great massage from Biju. Later, after all done, we had a small group photo, and left to the third pool.
On reaching the third pool, we enjoyed some time sliding at the head of the third pool falls. After a good time sliding, we reached the third pool. We enjoyed ourselves there, and had our lunch (Chapathis). Then after the sun went down, we started to the second pool. It was there we had the introduction. A group photo was then taken. Accounts were settled.
Then we started to the base camp, made it by sunset. And, rearranging the team into the vehicles, we left Nagalapuram with numerous memories!!! :)
Thank you Vinoth and Ajay for organizing a grand trek. Thank you Raghu and Shankar for the yummy food. Thank you Biju for the tips, and the massage. My thanks would not end up here... Thanks to all folks who made my day!!! :)
Write up by Suresh VR
An amazing trip to Western Nagala!
Day 0 (May 18, 2012)
The trek to Nagala West was my second trek, if one may consider the walk to Palani temple as a micro-mini trek ;) I was all real pumped up and excited about the trek.
Having volunteered to purchase noodles and chocos, I went to a nearby “annachi kadai” the previous night. After the order was assembled, annachi asked me for a carton box or a big cover for placing the items. I was blinking wide and from then on, this trek experience taught me various lessons. Lesson No. 1 learnt: Small grocery shops are not like Spencer daily or Star bazaar, so Take a bag before shopping ;)
Day 1 (May 19, 2012)
I opted to join the team in Koyembedu and with great difficulty, managed to be there just in time. Originally, the team strength was supposed to be 31 but because of two dropouts, it reduced to 29 (Dear dropouts, please dropout a day earlier and not on the trek day, atleast a couple of other interested guys could have participated J).
Prospective ‘Kanakku Pillai’ Naresh, Shiva, Noel and Others were volunteering in calling up participants, taking headcount and other activities. I was supposed to join Srinivasan Urkalan’s car (for those of you thinking who it is, it is our ‘power star’). Because of dropouts, his car was cancelled and I joined the others in the maxi-cab booked; We started at around 5.15 am; And the cab driver played songs which I was hearing for the first time in my life (From bagavathar to Shivaji songs).
After reaching the parking area, breakfast and other food items to carry were distributed. Thanks to Raghu sir for the awesome pongal. I remember some one asking if anybody needs extra pongal for breakfast... that was the last time, we allowed the organisers to ask that question ever in the next 2 days. Lesson No. 2 learnt: Whenever you are offered food in a trek, take it and dont tell a ‘no’.
Our journey to the 5th pool started and the climate was sunny. With initial spirits high, we quickly reached the first pool and without stopping there, moved on to the second pool. It was real fun there where we played water polo (Biju & Ajay – We bet you 5-3 J). That’s the place wherein we started interacting with fellow trekkers.
On the way to 3rd pool, Shankar got his muscle sprained and Ajay waited for him to recover. With a 30-40 ft depth pool, big falls (which served as a slider as well), clean & neat water, I thought this is going to be the most wonderful place in this whole trek. We enjoyed our life out there. I jumped with my life jackets on and enjoyed the most there. But at that time, Vinoth, Ajay, Viji & Shankar (senior Shankar, not the sprain shankar) jumped from some 40-50 ft height rocks into the pool and there was Lesson no.3: Better learn swimming to enjoy the core during treks.
I had the shock of my life when we started to move to the 4th pool. In Praveen’s terms, we were doing a cliff hanger task by clinging on the rock above the falls. Needless to say, once crossed that place, that thrill moment will always be in memory.
The trek started to shift its gears to moderate level when we started to move to 4th pool. Steep rise and then a steep slope, this is what Biju said when we started. But your honor, it should be noted that the steep rise and slope went for more than an hour and drained out the energy left in me. Lesson no 4 learnt: Freshers, please don’t undermine the task in front and get swept away by the easy & calm words spoken by the experienced trekkers ;)
Had lots of electrol, glucose after reaching the 4th pool and had a good time again swimming (Ofcourse, with the life-jacket on) there. This pool was a little different than the 3rd pool. When we started packing, rain god opened his eyes which made us move faster to the campsite. But thankfully, after few minutes, rain passed out and made the place very chill. While we collected dry woods, the organizer and experienced supporters helped build the campsite with mats.
Once the campsite was ready, our Master Chef Mr Shankar, made an amazingly superb Soup and noodles. I dunno if it was because of the taste or due to my reduced energy levels or a combination of both, I have never ever enjoyed a soup in my life like that.
After dinner, while few went to sleep, few of us played cards (ASS). That was real great fun. Naresh’s exception identification skills (am sure none of us could have that ASSessment skills) was exhibited during the game. And then it was Dinesh. I guess he would be following the nayagan policy of ‘Naalu payrku nallathu-na ethuvum thappilla’. Because, he was voluntarily getting knocked out in each game. Hope, you understand the game now buddy. ;) The other hero in the game was Ram, despite not participating in the game, was providing a laughter riot.
As everyone dozed off, we couldn’t do the campfire and went to sleep. I forgot to bring the bed sheet and was shivering like hell. Shiva was sleeping nearby and I asked him to share the bedsheet. But that bugger played a nadagam and continued his sleep. Sprain Shankar who was sleeping next to Shiva also didn’t bring bedsheet. But in the morning when I woke-up, I saw shiva sharing his bed-sheet with Shankar. Then was the Lesson no. 5 learnt: When in need, don’t ask your friend, just pluck it from him.
Day 2 (May 20, 2012)
Only 9 of us went in the morning to the peak from 5th pool. Needless to explain in detail, it was the best in the whole trek. To have climbed a steep cliff and then reaching the peak, seeing the sunrise and getting down the steep slope, it is definitely the best part in the trek. Kamlesh gave a twist to it by climbing it alone and joined us in the middle to make the count 10. I still remember his scream “I cant get back down” and then ajay & vinoth made efforts to bring him along with the team.
We had our morning breakfast at campsite and started our way back to parking lot. Biju gave some 12-14 of us a body massage in the falls and seriously man, half the tensed muscles got relaxed. On the way back to 3rd pool, we tried the water sliding and then jumped again in the 3rd pool. This time with confidence built, tried the backflip (Yes again, with the help of life jacket) with shankar’s inputs
We had our Chappathi’s. Thanks to yashwanth and pankaj. They were just sweating out in front of the fire and making chapathi. 1 chapathi was shared by 4 of us and mind it, Ram was one of the four. Lesson no 6 learnt: The need for food will be known only when one treks, so never waste food anywhere.
After lunch, we packed and had a good discussion session and left to the parking lot. We all then parted with lots of good memories, new friends and great fun. Thanks Vinoth, Ajay, Shankar and Biju. Meet you all guys in some other trek.