Write up - Emperors Trek to Nagala by Varsha Umesh

Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Write up - Emperors Trek to Nagala - Aug 02

On the weekend of August 1st'2015 a bunch of us headed to where Chennai Trekking Club (CTC) originated, Nagala, the eastern peak to be specific.
When I saw the invite I sprang up in my seat and registered immediately. Yes, that’s how excited I get every time I see an invite from the organizers. And also since I hadn’t trekked in a couple of months, I thought this might be the much needed stress buster I was looking for.
So we all assembled at our meeting points at about 9pm on Saturday… We gathered all the Chennai team members and drove towards Nagalapuram at about 11.30pm. Although the journey was quite short, the heavy downpour and the loud music in our car made it very exciting. I was car-pooling with Haneesh, Vishwa and Joy and it is needless to say that with a witty guy like Vishwa around, you aren’t gonna catch a wink of sleep :P
We waited at every major turn to make sure all the cars were on the correct route.
We then halted at a tea stall for a quick break and also for Arun to join us (who by the way missed his train and somehow found an alternate means to get to us) :-P
After some quick introductions and chit chatting we drove towards our base camp.
We could barely see any turns or diversions from the main road in the dark but Masu, Arun and Vibin seamlessly led all the vehicles through the mud roads of the village which clearly indicated their acquaintance with Nagala and the number of times they have visited the place.
We then reached our camp site for the night which was a temple at the base of the east peak of Nagala.
We split into groups and identified flat land to lay down our tarps and snooze off…
Some of us slept inside the temple and some of us in a half constructed building.
The weather was very pleasant and we all got the much needed sleep to keep us energised for the trek on the next day. The Bangalore team had reached Nagala at 7pm that day and they reached the base camp way past mid-night and tried to disturb the rest of us.... :-P
We all woke up to a beautiful pleasant morning with the view of the dam and the peaks surrounding us. We freshened up quickly and had light breakfast (bread, peanut butter, jam, aval).The organizers gave us quick instructions and we set foot to climb the beautiful sun kissed east peak.
Vibin led the team and a couple of us tagged along with the sweep team, moving at a slower pace posing and clicking pictures… :-P

We climbed for quite some time to witness the first pool… But Arun had better pools to show us further up so we passed by that and continued walking.
We​ crossed many steep pool​s​ as we walked, 
clicked a few pictures and hiked further up.

We then reached the Step ​Pool next which had a small waterfall flowing to form the compact water body that was just perfect for our group.

We got rid our shoes and backpacks in no time and jumped into the water. Some of us climbed the rocks to the waterfall while some of us took turns to dive into the pool including swimmers and newbies. Personally, I felt accomplished to have jumped from a height of almost 10ft into the pool wearing a life jacket (with zero swimming skills). It is the small things like these that you discover about yourself when you are surrounded by such amazing people. You become absolutely fearless!
By this time we had Masu, Manickam and Vinoth Sankaran bring us hot idlis and yummy chutney, many thanks to them… We all hogged and then split into two groups.
One group headed by Arun moving towards the 7 Obstacles and the other led by Masu and Vibin. I joined Arun and the others as we headed towards the first obstacle.
We maneuvered our way through thorn clad bushes and trees skidding and falling a number of times. As we all stopped to figure out the trail to descend down into the valley we were lucky to spot a deer, a really huge one. And across the valley on the other side we could see clouds that seemed to be at an arm’s reach. The sight was truly breath taking.
​​All along the way we encountered huge slippery boulders and a number of pools that were neck deep and we had to cross them with our backpacks on our heads and shoulders. The water bodies were all mostly covered with a thick green layer making it difficult to judge the depth. 

We finally made it to the Dead End Pool which was the 7th and the last obstacle. Doing justice to its name it was indeed a deadly pool with huge super slippery boulders.
We managed to cross the boulders by first passing our bags and then descending one by one. Just as we all descended the boulders, Arun spotted a bee hive that was right above the pool and we had to cross the pool to get on to the other side. So we kept our voices low and ensured not to disturb the hive. You sure do not want to mess with those guys !! :-P
The swimmers ferried our bags one by one by placing them on the floating tubes to the other side…    
We were all finally relieved to have crossed all the 7 obstacles… We moved into a cave like rock formation by the stream to eat some food and catch a quick nap. We had yummy avul with some onion and tomato rice paste, biscuits, tang and kadalai mittai.
This is one of the best afternoon naps that one can ever experience. The warm barren contours of the rocks and the mild breeze eases you from all the pain of the day long trek.
We were then woken up by Arun’s call, ‘Guys let’s move’  :-P
We descended following the path of the stream and we ran into the other team that was led by Vibin and Masu who were also descending.

As the sun started to go down we all then headed towards the dam and the base camp. Some of us had to rush to catch our respective trains and buses. That was the end of one amazing, fun-filled and adventurous weekend. It was as always a great experience to trek with the Emperors, the only thing missing this time was cooking :-P
Hoping to see you all soon at future events! Cheers ! 
Thanks for reading...

It is an appeal to all CTCians to come forward and register your name in the blood donor link below. You never know how this little act from your end can be a life saver for somebody else !! 



Varsha Umesh



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