Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Eastern Endurance Post-Trek Mail

[Written by Samim]

Have you ever wondered why the picnic pool is called such when it is not a picnic getting there?
Would you like to see if you can compress a two day hike to a one day sprint?
So, do you want to put the picnic back into picnic pool???
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Reading these words straight out of the invite from Gayathri for June 3rd one day hike, I yelled out
"Yes, Sign me up for that"!!!
Pre trek discussions revolved around climbing up the gorge, braving the bee stings, and making the picnic pool and eastern trail squeaky clean by picking up garbages with military fervour...
In the dark veil of the night on June 3rd, we packed our bags superlight and drived to Nagala Eastern entry.
By 6 am, we reached the mountain base and by then sun had risen from the east amidst the towering mountains bathed in glistening bluish green hue.
The group was a handpicked mix of experienced trekkers on the likes of Raj Jacob, Gurumoorthy, Nachiketa, Gayathri,Ela,Ram, Rajesh, Amit, Jayanthi,Praveen, Raja and the rest of the folks who were relatively new but with a fierce will to make the 'eastern sprint' in quick time.
As Nachiketa took the lead from the front and the group heading for the eastern trail, the intent was clear though unspoken - Head for the trail, get a feel of the boulders,pick up the pace steadily, cross the Dead End Pool and henceforth sprint to the picnic pool!

As the trail unveiled, the group moved ahead at leisurely pace, marvelling the wilderness around and listening to the stream splashing on the rocks as it flows down the mountain.
The eastern trail is mysterious. The initial stretch is mostly green with 6 foot tall grasses that covers the trail ahead which you have to force away to make way ahead. The trail then winds up and once you climb up the rocky pathway, comes an enigmatic view of the pool 300 meters down which looks seemingly out of bounds to explore by anyone at arms length.
The upward rocky pathway then descends down to the first pool where we came face to face with another group of trekkers.
The young group comprising of Sharon, Sriram, Sajan and Mukunth seemed to be delighted with their first ever trek and with vigor, they kept clicking a lot of photographs all throughout.

Perching on the rocks overlooking the First Pool, for barely a couple of minutes, we further moved ahead. Then came the boulders, where you jump from rock to rock to keep moving. Then we crossed the stream from right to left multiple times whichever side presented a clearer trail than the other.
The group settled down at the Dead pool preparing to ferry across the bags one by one. Swimmers splashed into the water head on, non swimmers kept blowing their tubes up and the bags kept moving in the swimming tubes pulled across by the 25m ropes.
Once the seemingly insurmountable Dead End was crossed, Nachiketa held his breath and told, "Lets sprint from here".
In stark contrast to the first half relaxed pace, we started running up with as much pace to our comfort.
The beautiful steep gorge was ahead and we looked forward to the uphill trail to take us beyound it. As we stepped on the edges to the trail beyound which there is nothing but the deep gorge, fear suddenly starts tightening its grip.Neverthless this stretch is undeniably the most exciting part of the Eastern trail.
We crossed the gorge, looked at it from the other side, took a deep sigh of releif and marched ahead.

Soon another group coming down the trail was in view. They looked upon us with surprised faces and told words of appreciation for the quick pace with we almost reached the Picnic Pool. Eric from their team told us about the resurrection they did for Picnic pool and was delighted to hear that we have our own mission for the
same.
Climbing the upbound trail on the right, and turning to the left and a few steps further, the Picnic pool was in plain view. Looking upon the watch, Nachiketa had a gleaming smile in his face while announcing to the group that we had covered the entire strech of the eastern trail in just a little excess of 3 hours.
The first few of us who reached the Picnic Pool first dipped our feet in chill pool getting treated by the fish pedicure. Turning back we saw Sriram, Sajan and Mukunth reaching the pool straight through the trail without climbing up. This left us in shock and awe as none of the experience trekkers ever fancy this path, where these guys crossed with seemingly no discomfort in their very first trek.
Sharon and Madhumati deserves special mention for their perseverence in pushing ahead on a trail that is really testing for someone who decides to experice hiking for their first ever time.

The water stream was drizzling down from top, and getting splitted while striking the rock on the way and perculating down to create a heavenly bath where all of us took turns in getting drenched to our hearts will.

Akash was in the spotlight most of the time for his death defying dives from various angles and spots. Satish, Sanju, Vani, Vibin and later Gayathri where seen taking turns in sitting at the magical spot of shower in Picnic pool which is the pinnacle of pleasure in Picnic pool.

After taking nap and getting refreshed we set down on the trail back. The way back was quite relaxing compared to the upcimb and within an hour we again came in rendezvous with the Dead End Pool again. The sight of Ela stretching back on the cardboard sheet taking a nap was infectious and within minutes everyone was taking a full black out sleep in the well protected shade of the towering cliffs of the Dead End Pool.
Gurumoorthy who did a splendid job of sweeping the group arrived in awaking us all up with his lively chatter.Without getting barely any time to rub the sleep off the eyes, everyone climbed up the dead end rocks to the other side and got in position to jump on to the water to cross the pool. Bags were ferried and everyone swam across and we took a look back at the Dead End Pool before walking back. Very rarely does it happen in any trek that you cross the Dead End Pool onward and backwards on the same day and this day is indeed to be cherished for that.
We met the 'tree with a heart' where there is an upward diversion, and then reached the 'First Pool'. Here we again saw the group we met in the morning and they were just in there exit trail. From here the trail was smooth and we walked with brisk pace to make it to the mango pool in quick time.
A further 300 metres to the car park where we snapped the victory snap of completing the Eastern Endurance mission
planned and executed to perfection.
In barely 11 hours, we had gone up the hill to the pool and came back. A big thanks to Nachi and Gayathri for a well organized Eastern Endurance, and all others for being a fun group that kept the whole day entertaining, refreshing and memorable.




More experiences and emotions at - http://chennai-trekking-club.32436.n3.nabble.com/Eastern-Endurance-Post-trek-td4025104.html

Cheerio!
Nachi
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