As usual 5:00 AM pickup at Nathan’s café with a team of “9 MAN OF STEELS”
Just before reaching Uthukottai, one of the car got puncture and our team mechanic Mr. Kathir replaced the tyre and slowly reached Uthukottai and had breakfast in our regular location. Then we reached water falls road and parked cars near village and prepared ourselves with necessary things into our backpack and 8:15 AM we started walking towards SADUGUDUMADU falls which took about 30 mins to reach falls. Then immediately we climbed the falls using hanging roots and started moving quickly in the stream.
Since we were moving along the stream we kept our water bottles empty and hydrated ourselves wherever we felt thirsty. While moving along the stream, surprisingly we saw two old men living there in which one old man was happily reading a Telugu novel. Since we were on 25+kms to go, we were just passing them with a smile…
Then we keep on moving along the stream with boulders, loose rocks & thorns. At the end of the stream we reached a falls with some water splashing from 50m high. There we refreshed ourselves and had some food, filled water and took some group selfies and started our climb into bushes to reach view point.
Just before reaching the view point, my backpack was struck in bushes and water bottle dropped down. Luckily it was struck into bushes before it fall too deep. Then I gave my backpack to Muthu and got down and took water bottle which hide into the dry leaves and Muthu guided me to climb that tough part of the steep and started jogging for some time and reached view point.
Wow… The view was awesome and Vishal showed the way which we come across was clearly visible from view point.
And one of the STEEL MAN – Kathir shoes torn off. We used some glue to stick the sole and also used some threads to tie together and continued towards central peak water point.
Within a short time we reached central peak water point and hydrated ourselves. And our organisers Muthu & Vishal discussed about the trek route and said we are ahead of our plan. Then we started walking around the central peak and reached a big rock which was laying in between the trail where Vishal and Thomas practiced rapling. I was surprised to see Vishal was sticking onto the wall like a lizard by holding his body weight just using his finger tip.
After small practice session we continued walking around central peak and reached another water point which is small and narrow bit inside. At this point Kathir and Saravanan choose to go PICNIC POOL – DEAD END POOL – EAST DAM EXIT. Others we started to climb eastern ridges where we have seen colour full of newly grown plants. Which was really awesome to walk through that colour full plants. Then we started walking along the eastern ridges which was flat and nice experience to walk into that flat area for a long time. Then immediately we got down through a deep valley where in half way I got cramp in stomach and left leg at the same time and took short break to manage the cramp and reached team who were waiting for me.
Then we were kept on moving till the water point on the way and team mates helped me to hydrate since I got some pain due to cramp. After some hydration we started moving continuously but I couldn’t maintain the fast pace with Muthu and Vishal, but I managed to move on my pace without any breaks.
Then we reached MAGIC POOL and took some snaps shots and kept moving to exit east dam before it gets dark. So without any break we kept moving and reached FIRST POOL. I thought of taking a dip in first pool, but since Rajsekaran team was waiting for us outside, we tried to come out as early as possible. So we didn’t waste time by taking dip, and we keep on moving and reached welcome stream without torch. From there we used torch and got into dam trail and reached east entry temple and met Rajsekaran & Jack team and in their cab we came out till the village and then Thomas, Sathish & Muthu went to bring another car. In mean while Vishal tried to reach Kathir and Saravanan who took PICNIC POOL stream to come out. But they didn’t come out before us. Since they had some difficulty they came out after some time and then they were picked up by Vishal & Thomas and we started driving towards Uthukottai for dinner. There we were disappointed to see PUNJABI DHABBA was closed. So we finished our dinner in another hotel. And then we return back to Chennai and I reached Perungalathur by 11:45PM
Finally the MISSION ACCOMPLISHED
Total distance covered was ~30kms in 7:12 moving time
Since this is my 11th trek, I can see myself doing better than previous treks. But still I want to push my limits. So I’m waiting for next difficult trek with tough guys.
Thank you very much to MUTHU, VISHAL, THOMAS, MANIRAJ, MURUGA, KATHIR, SARAVANAN & SATHISH for making this trek wonderful.
MAN OF STEEL
Write up By Vishal Photos: Muthu
As usual the day started off so early with people assembling at Nathan’s Café in a sleepy mode. 15 had registered, keeping in mind the trek is meant only for real men and we have to survive through this mission. Finally 9 turned up, we began our journey and pshhhhh. There you go, a puncture just before Uthukottai. Kathir and Muthu , fixed the puncture quickly and we headed towards Uthukottai. We had a very good breakfast, but almost everyone were so sleepy and I said let’s do a quick climb , take a power nap and proceed fast once we reach our precious jewel of the eastern ghats. We inflated the tyres, just to be on the safer side and parked the cars near the south east entry. Started walking slowly towards the waterfall that was gigantic enough to scare people off to climb above. As usual, I went ahead and climbed to get all the bags and place it at the top of the fall.
We kept on moving once we climbed up the fall, as we know this is going to be a difficult mission and we have couple of steep climbs to cover. And in order to check the team strength it is important to do such climbs, after one such climb. We found Satish was not able to cope up, so we advised him to stay on the stream, get down by the village trial , come back to East around 5 pm by car. He was intelligent enough to relax in the stream with other villagers who were mediating, reading books, taking a dip in the stream peacefully. This kindled my spirit to visualize how peaceful their lives are whereas we see people under constant stress in the so called concrete jungle called as Chennai.
We reached the point where we had the 8m falls, surprisingly there was enough water to refresh ourselves. We hydrated our bodies and souls with crystal clear water falling from the top, contrastingly we could notice the scorching sun awaiting our entrance at the top to get dried off.
We started climbing very close to the falls, which is unusual and a pretty interesting climb. Muthu led in front by stomping those deadly thorny bushes and went ahead. I could see Thomas, Kathir, myself and others getting torn up these thorns and the sun scorched grass showed how dry it is at the top. The next climb still steeper, where Muthu with his giant arms just got hold of strong root and climbed up and gave his elephant leg for others to climb up. It was just amazing to see the whole team climb up to the view point. For me, it was like a Iron rod (Muthu’s leg), just a little push and I went to the top. Everyone followed , but a waterbottle fell off while the last person was climbing, so we had to pick it up and climb again to the top. The view and breeze at the top was worth the climb. We quickly started moving on the ridge.
At one point, Kathir’s shoe torn out and Bakiya and Muthu used Ana bond, Rope , tape to fix it. It was in a pathetic condition, considering the amount of heat everyone is withstanding on your head and below your foot. We kept on walking until we found a big rock (possibility of Nagala Rock climbing), and we tried out our climbing skills with this rock and we felt so satisfied to climb and get down.
The rock was perfect. Soon we caught up with the trail, and we noted the diversion that is going to water point near central peak and other one going towards east. Soon we went to the water point, had our lunch and got a lot of mosquito bites to start off with the central peak trail. Instead of going to the peak, we tried to do more ridge climbs, and eventually we went to higher altitude point. We had to get down again with thorns and loose rocks surrounding you everywhere. The team was pretty good and felt super happy with their skills. Soon we were surrounded by flames and smokes everywhere. We had to run through the flames and smoke to escape the wild fire. The Sun, Smoke and the fire showed us the importance of water and also how a forest fire can destroy natural habitats.
We quickly escaped and went to a waterpoint where a trail goes down and connects the eastern stream. Kathir and Saravanna took the stream, but this one was the stream that had beautiful pools, big rocks and ends up with the side stream of picnic pool. The 6 of us climbed up and crossed the dry stream and climbed up the ridge. And suddenly the grey ash color of fire, smoke and flames disappeared and colorful leaves, flowers due to the spring emerged. We took a break for 5 min near a big shady tree and looked at the opposite peak covered with flames. The mighty mountain was fully covered with smoke. We moved on after we had watermelon and grapes. It was so hot that we never wanted to stop, we kept walking for 4km to descend on a steep dry stream where I heard the noise of Bakiyaraj. He was doing great till I heard his pain due to cramps. We waited at the cliff till he regrouped with us. Hats off to his determination, he did not stop as we informed him, we are close to the water point and we can have Tang, Electrol and Lemon with salt. Instantly, the team moved and we reached the water point which is very close to the 50 m falls top flat space. Thomas and Bakiya took a power nap after sharing oranges, lemons and Tang.
The team was completely restored and we had to keep moving, so we moved in parallel to the eastern stream at the top of the ridge until we reached Magic Pool. We did not even stop for a minute, the team was amazing with a non-stop 5k walk . All 6 of us took a group picture at the top of magic pool and we thought Kathir and Saravana would have crossed the dead end pool by now. We quickly went to the first pool. Just imagine, we did not sleep (the power nap, firstly I was talking about) and we did not even take a single dip in the water. Bakiya was eager to dip his feet in the first pool, by then when he saw us climbing skipping the first pool, he asked “ No dip?” Let’s go to the dam and take it. He was like “ What, there is no water in the dam ? ” Swiftly, everyone started to the first water point, by then it was completely dark. We just kept on jogging till the end, while Mani, Bakiya and Muruga were just behind us. We did a little sprint at the end to exit and meet Jayanthan and Rajasekar with their teams (2 day trek). Bakiya asked “ Boss, Dip kooda eduka vidula la :P” , Soon we got a call from Saravana, that they are near the first water point. It was perfect, to see Satish waiting for us in the car near the eastern entry. We went to pick up our car which was in SE entry, by then Kathir and Saravana came to the temple. Thomas and myself picked them up.