Writeup: Anupama A
A WALK TO REMEMBER
Put together 472 metres, 48 hours and 38 strangers in a forest and what do you get ? A simply awesome trek and a really fun weekend!
It's been two days post the trek, my legs still hurt while climbing the stairs… I have a muddy backpack and a pair of crocodile mouthed floaters; but if you ask me if I'd still trek, my answer would definitely be an affirmative… The sense of elation that you experience when you think about the whole trekking expedition is something unique… you still get the adrenaline rush, the sense of accomplishment… the joy is almost palpable when you describe the experience to your friends… It is a feeling that you can only experience when you have been there!
The Journey to the Base Camp
The anticipation, thrill, excitement and the anxiety started building up once the trail mails started pouring in... Friday night turned out to be a sleepless night. By the time sleep started to set in, it was time to leave.
The 38 of us met up at a common point as decided earlier and made our way in car pools to Nagalapuram West, our destination for the trip with a brief halt at Pudukottai for breakfast. The drive brought out the daredevils in the trip with a few of them displaying their pro driving skills.
A couple of hours drive and we reach the Base Camp; from we started the walk up the foothills of the Nagala Hills…The Trek had begun finally !
…. so we thought, until Sanjeev told us almost after covering a kilometer and a half, that the REAL TREK had still not begun !!!
Forest Trails, Rivulets and Pools
We were now making our way into the forest… the sound of crickets, trickling streams, fluttering butterflies, before we knew it; we were at a mini pool. Pausing for a breather, a round of photo session, refilling bottles, we continued on. Now, the trek had TRULY begun. The path to the second pool was steep. The freshers had some difficulty initially but eventually caught up and found their foothold and grip…
While most of the group, being freshers were being very cautious, the regulars moved at a really quick pace running along the trails, bouldering and swinging on branches, (reminding me of the Chota Hanuman cartoon series where Hanuman jumps around to get to places) but at the same time lending their hands whenever someone needed help and just encouraging the whole group throughout the trek.
The first and second pools were a pleasure for both swimmers and non-swimmers. The whole group enjoyed the Slide pool and spent quite some time hanging around and having a great time… The guys on the were busy making a three tier human pyramid and two of the non-swimmers, Kowsalya and Ganesh finally got over their fears and made their way water debut, coming all the way till the waterfall in the slide pool.
Diver's Delight - Third Pool
The third pool was a diver's delight – the swimmers having a gala time cliff diving, doing back flips, slides and splashing around. The non-swimmers who were daring enough lazed around using tubes, while the others sat on cliffs taking burst shots of the divers plunging into the water and replenishing their lost energy having lunch, cracking jokes and wishing they could also swim as well as the divers !
To Jump or Not to Jump !
The highlight at the third pool would definitely be Bhavadharini's (Bhav) cliff diving act. She got onto the cliff planning to jump. Everyone below was cheering for her, waiting for her to take the plunge. She came up to the edge, took a peek….Everyone counting 1…2…3…
About a dozen people climbed up, jumped and even came a second and third time. Hats off to Gokul Kannan, who, despite being a non-swimmer had the guts to jump off the cliff into the 30 ft deep pool. Also, Sriya who took to the water like a fish and never seemed to want to come out.
Oh sorry forgot about Bhav! By the way, she was still at the cliff waiting to jump…Every five minutes, she would come up to the edge of the cliff, take a peek, consult the others about the direction in which to jump, close her eyes… people below would cheer her on… and then she would freak out and go back again. This continued on for a while, in between which the rest of them cliff dived.
Finally after a lot of dilemma, and about 45 to 60 minutes later Bhav decided not to jump and climbed down the cliff… It was only later we got to know from her that she was up the cliff only to get her wet clothes dry and not to jump ;) J
Dangerous Climb and the Waterfall
The next to come was a waterfall also called as Mini Kutralam. The trek up to that spot was pretty freaky for most of them. You were almost at the edge of the rock face and had to maneouver to the other side of the rock and cross the ridge…With a lot of help from the regular trekkers, everyone got over…further trekking took us to falls where everyone took a breather. Though there wasn't much water, everyone had a blast under the falls.
Just when we thought that the toughest of the trek was over with the cliff that we crossed, we were proved wrong. The steepest climb was awaiting us… and we were now nearing the highest elevation point… The view from there was breathtaking! (most of us were already out of breath ) Then came the descent to the fifth and last pool… our camp site for the night.
Night Skies and Fireflies
Twilight had set in and we had to call it a day…We were exhausted and famished… Bhagya took over as the head chef with a few others helping her with the cooking and cutting.
Our first course was soup which couldn't have tasted better any day, followed by a spicy Biryani…!
A camp fire was lit, and the human banter began. Each one of the group introduced themselves, with Mahesh stealing the show with his very interesting "Nature Lover" (also read Narcotics J ) story, various versions of the Madrasapattinam doing the rounds, everyone making it a point to thank the organisers and people pulling each other's legs… 38 perfect strangers bonded overnight…
Then came the surprise… A chapathi milkmaid cake for me…I couldn't have celebrated my birthday in any better way ! It was an extremely sweet gesture and totally made my day J Thanks a ton guys !
We finally called it a day…and camped under a sky filled with fireflies in the middle of nowhere…Nothing could be more beautiful than that to put to you sleep.
The Descent & Return
We began our descent down, which was actually more difficult than the ascent, nevertheless awesome fun. People kept tripping, falling and screaming… but in the end what mattered was that inspite of all the pain, cuts and scratches, everyone stayed strong. All the 38 of us made through the whole trek. No complaints, no hassles. Just pure fun !
Prabhu, Raghul, Kali, Magesh, Sanjeev, Muthu, Gokul and the other regular trekkers did a clean-up while returning ensuring that the beauty of the earth is not destroyed. Awesome thing to do guys!
Prabhu Jay, indeed an extremely well organized trip and kudos to you on a great job for your first one as an organizer. The rest of the the organisers and regular trekkers… if you hadn't been there, no one would have made it to the end…U guys rock!
All the Volunteers from the start to the finish… great job !
Each one on this trip had their own reason for the trek… for some it's a passion, for some an adventure, for some a break from the routine, for some to introspect, for some others to overcome their fears and for some it was just getting back to doing what they love…
Each one of us came in as individuals, but left as a team… In the end, that is all that matters…
I wake up just before noon to have my brunch
And I lock myself up in the room for the remaining day
Is there a way out of this? I had no hunch
Thinking it over and over, there just goes by 'my Sunday'!
One fine day, I heard about this CTC
CTC!?? Chennai Trekking Club it seems
I thought to give it a try and see
Without being aware of the experience I am gonna sense.
The trek site was in the state of Andhra Pradesh
Therefore it rightly started with a breakfast of spppicy pickle
And there commenced the trek with full energy ad whenever it's slightly sluggish
There come our sweepers to tell us to follow the leader's whistle.
Very easily we reached the first pool
Only to find it occupied already
So, then again started the trek, to the next pool
With an unrelenting aim to fall into it, be it crowded or muddy.
We just reached it, and I was already into the second pool
And that was one big mistake I made .
After having walked in the hot sun, let the body cool, seems is the rule
I have broken it already and instantly it showed up its effect.
I fell into the pool and had done just 2 strokes
Ouch! The nerve twitched and I have got a cramp.
I was put on land and was told not to come near the water folks
So I simply sat there watching and muttering 'Damn!'
There comes the third pool, this I call 'The All-in-All pool'.
I am a non-swimmer and I just want to stand in the water-'Yes, you are welcome!'
I am afraid of depths. – 'Go, jump from the rock which is high as a stool.'
'And wait, you also have the trial rock to get ready for the big game.'
The big game!??! – To jump from a rock-The tallest one!
I didn't dare to go near her for she really was frightening
And the same fact let me go a little down
But my spirits were up again by doing it while descending
Were I using the word 'trekking' all this while?
Oh, please strike it down at all the places
For the 'trekking' really started from the third pool with style
For its very well evident from all those bruises
This was the phase where my legs let me down
Making me skid and fall with every step I plan
Then the forest taught me to trek on my own
From then on, we both walked hand in hand
My mom was really worried when I started from home
If there will be anyone to take of her child in the wilderness
I have an answer now to tell my mom
There were indeed somebody by the name 'Organisers'
The journey, the McD Cake (Milkmaid Chapathi) and the intro time
Made the 38 become one 'Kaatopooci family'
I don't want this trek to be the best in my lifeFor I want it to get better and better thoroughly!!
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