Post trek write up - Freshers trek to Munnar. March 1st-2nd, 2014

Tuesday, March 18, 2014
[Written by Aarthi]

Trekking with CTC has been on my bucket list for quite some time now and when I saw a posting for a fresher's hike from Kurangini to Top station, I immediately registered for it. A couple of days later, I was thrilled to receive a mail confirming that I will be doing my first ever backpacking hike with seventeen other CTCians.

I am a novice hiker who is just about five to six hikes old. I've heard a lot of experienced hikers say, that one should take with them on a hike only those things that one REALLY needs. If you ask me,I would say, one should take with them on a hike only those things that one can carry. So I decided to take my small day pack with a two litre hydration pack, one set of spare clothes, torch light, tooth brush/paste,sun block, bowl/spoon, digital camera, cell phone and some spare change with my sleeping bag and sleeping pad tied to it.
On Friday evening , we loaded our gears and bags  on the bus and started our 12 hour ride to Bodi. The following morning, we divided the food rations among the eighteen of us, followed by a quick breakfast and got started with the climb. It was a 7 Km well paved uphill climb with a gradual elevation gain. Though this was a fresher's hike, if this was the first time you decided to get up from your couch to  climb up a trail, you're in for a ride.  Each of us started the ascend at our own pace striking some interesting conversations on our way up. We took a break at Central station which was the midpoint of our ascend. We took some time off to soak in the view of the majestic mountains -not something you get to do everyday. I would easily rate the Nanari sarbath  that we had at Central station as one  the highlights of this weekend trek. Just awesome! We continued with our climb and reached top station in another hour or so.

There is always a certain point in a trek, where the individual in you disappears and you become one with everything around you. Everything you see simply becomes a part of you. The experience is so intense, that you don't want to let go of it.  For many of us, that is what drives us to come back to the trail over and over again.
When we reached Top station, to our surprise (and to our disappointment), there were quite a few restaurants. We kept our food supplies aside , and had a king-size meal at one of the restaurants. Bread omelet, dosai, Kerala meals,Tamil Nadu meals,bajji/sojji,coffee,lemon was quite a treat! After the heavy meal, a few of us decided to go on RP's ambitious 35 Km walk to Munnar. As you would expect, the plan got changed to a 1 Km stroll. We stopped by at one of the view points. The sight of the mountains with Illayaraja songs at the background was an out of the world experience. Something that I will remember in the last forty seconds of my life.

We got back to the camp ground to pitch the tarp tent and cook dinner. In  all the camping trips I've been to, I've always been forced to have lousy food. This one is an exception. Guess what we had for dinner? Russian salad (with crunchy carrots ) and kesaribath with just the perfect amount of sweetness. Bliss.

After dinner, we sat around the camp fire where fellow CTCians shared their adventurous hiking experiences. A little while later, it was time to sleep. While a few restless souls such as myself found it really hard to get some sleep, the others snored away to glory!

The next day morning, we cleaned up the camp ground and grabbed some quick breakfast before heading downhill on a scenic trail. Walking downhill, though takes less effort could be a little tricky-at least for me. So, I was walking at a slower pace- learning more about foot placement and centre of gravity balancing from the 'sweeper' team. I would have given up hiking long back if not for sweepers. It takes a big heart and a mature mind to be a sweeper in a hike. The biggest fear for any person beginning to hike is that of being let alone in wilderness simply because they have a pace that is slower than the group's pace. The role of a sweeper then is to motivate the beginner and help them find their natural pace keeping the humour alive. And that's exactly what Ela,RP,Srikanth and Captain did. A big kudos to you sweepers!

On our way down, we stopped at the falls to take a dip when it started pouring cats and dogs. We had no option but to continue walking in the rain.  We reached the Bodi bus stop, completely drenched. One of the villagers let us use her house where we cleaned up and changed into dry clothes. I definitely owe her one. We then boarded the bus back to civilisation- end to a beautiful weekend.

It always amazes me how a group of strangers from different walks of life bond in such a deep way over a weekend. To me, this weekend was all about bonding with some amazing people in wilderness. Each one of you will always hold a special place in my memory.Last but not the least, special thanks to Nachi and Ela for creating such a beautiful experience and RP,RC and Ponraj for capturing them .Cheers!



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