Post trek write up - Emperors presents Nagala Northeast

Monday, February 3, 2014
Excellent write up from Hari Prasad

Hi everyone, I am Hari Prasad, a final year student from BITS Pilani. I have been a resident of Chennai from birth till i joined college. This was my first trek with CTC, and also my first "real" trekking experience. My introduction was through my friend posting on facebook about CTC. I was really interested to participate in such events, but since my college was in Pilani, i never got to take part in any of them. Recently, while discussing how to do something exciting during the vacation, one of my friends suggested a CTC trek which rekindled the old spark. So, with high spirits i registered for this trek and luckily got selected for it. After reading past writeups and seeing pictures on the CTC site, i was all set for the trip with very high enthusiasm.


Trip preparations started with an enthusiastic preparation mail thread (including a discussion on the legitimacy of vettiver sarbath). Different members quickly volunteered to procure the required items.  On Friday, the 20th of December, 2013 at around 6:00 PM, 16 of us joined the roadtrip at different pickup points (Tidel, Guindy and Koyambedu) in four cars. All the cars met up at the KFC in Poonamalle on the Chennai Bangalore highway.

Here, we had a round of basic introductions, trek costs were collected and head count was verified. After this, we continued our roadtrip. The car i was on (Nissan Micra commandeered by Kishore) went at a smooth pace on the dark highway road, at the rear of our 4 car contingent. We stopped for dinner at a south-style dhabba, suggested by Magesh, just outside the Andhra border where we hogged the almost endless supply of Parottas, Kal Dosas, Chappatis, Idlies, Salna, Sambhar, Coconut Chutney, Half-Boiled Eggs (the most famous item which had huge popularity and demand), Omlettes and the lone Chicken Biriyani. We complete the rest of our voyage to the base of the hill with melodious songs playing on the car FM and the beautiful nagala hills engulfing us on three sides.

Camping at the base hill:
We reach the base of the hill at around 10:30 PM and decide to set up camp on the outskirts of the nearby village. The camp site was enveloped by huge trees and surrounded by pastures on one side and a forest on the other. Using our LED torches, all of us set out to gather firewood, drift wood and dry leaves to make a campfire. We all gathered around the fire and the more experienced trekkers shared their experiences from past treks strung along with humour about encounters with bears, snakes and the such.


After a while, we spread out tarpaulin sheets around the fire, and lay down underneath blankets and sleeping bags facing the star spangled sky trying to contain excitement of the trek ahead. With great difficulty i catch a few winks of sleep till waking up at 4:30 in the morning.

The Trek:

Phase 1 - Journey to the first pool:
We wake up at 4:30 in the morning. The cars are taken to the village for safekeeping in a house. Then, we gather all the supplies and divide it up amongst all of us. After checks on backpack weight, we start out on our trek right at sunrise.

We start moving at a good pace with experienced trekkers Masu,  leading the way using GPS to make sure we are on the right track,  Magesh and Vimal Raj taking the rear to ensure nobody is left behind or facing difficulties. The initial trail is pretty easy to traverse with most of it being sand and rock with little stream crossings. Seeing some experienced trekkers take wooden sticks, i too fashion one out of a long stick lying on the way. This helped a lot in clearing out thorny bushes and maintaining balance while crossing the stream on rocks. We reach the first pool around 10:30 AMwhere we have some breakfast - bread, milkmaid and rusk by the stream. Here, one of our members, Mr. Sundar, cut his thumb while opening a milkmaid can. This led to a flurry of “Maid” jokes.

Then i jump into the pool, which with its cold water provided much needed freshening and respite from the sun.

Phase 2 - The Waterfall and Silver Pool:
After breakfast, we resume our trek. The path now gets more rocky and stream crossings start coming more often. Initially, i face problems moving quickly across the new terrain but soon learn the tricks to maintain good footing and balance and start to move across the rocks without much effort.

 We move across this phase of the trek slowly as compared to other phases, stopping and waiting once in a while for everyone to catch up. Our efforts are finally rewarded by the scenic waterfall. We all plunge into the pool adjoining the waterfall, swim around and click pictures here.

Soon, nobody could resist the allure of the waterfall and no photographer is left. After a while, we climb up a little more and reach the Silver Pool. This pool is deeper as compared to the other ones till now. Having swum in swimming pools all my life, this pool provided a much different experience with its base containing cracks and the pressure of being at a higher elevation as well as at a greater depth making it tough to stay underwater for long periods of time. Also, this pool witnessed a lot of enthusiastic diving and jumping.

Phase 3 - Reaching near the peak:
A short distance from the pool, we stop at a spot for preparing lunch. While some of the trekkers decide to stay and prepare lunch, others decide to embark on the more treacherous journey to the peak. I decide to try and reach the peak. At a point pretty close to the peak, there was a bit of free rock climbing involved. After slipping a little bit and being saved by an experienced trekker Manickam, i decide not to continue forward (Maybe next time when i am more confident, i will finish this part) and we both return back to the cooking spot. Here, i learnt how to cook rice using a vessel, ladle, wood and stream water. By the time the rice finished cooking, the other trekkers returned from the peak and the ravished lot of us combined the rice with the various mixes (such as vathakozhambu, pudina, tomato etc. ) and potato chips and consumed huge quantities of this.

Phase 4 - Return journey to the base:
After lunch, we started back on the way down. Me, Manickam and Narayanan started in front and travelled halfway to the breakfast spot by following the stream. We had just two stops on the way down to wait for everyone to catch up. On one, we prepared lemon juice in the cooking pot with sugar and salt, then consuming the tasty beverage in eating bowls and bottles. And the other one was in the breakfast spot, where we stopped for a group pic. We moved at a very good pace and the return was pretty much uneventful.

Phase 5 - Post trek:
We reached the spot where we camped the previous night, having completed our trek of 26.46 Kms. Here, expenses were settled super-fast by our super-efficient accountant Krishna, we split into different cars and we said our final goodbyes and cheers to future treks. Half of us decided to return via the same dhaba and have dinner there. After repeating the same dinner routine as before (minus the biriyani), we exchanged another round of goodbyes and cheers and split into different routes back home.

Thanks a lot to the organizers and all the trekkers for making this trek a really enjoyable experience. Looking forward to embarking on more such adventures in the future.



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