CTC Navigation Boot Camp 2016 – SHARKS Team Write-up by Vidya

Sunday, August 21, 2016

SHARKS Team – Four souls, Who were determined to do till end.
Four ppl from four different groups finally destined to meet as SHARKS team. Kote, the Lead welcomed us happily J (@ the same time his mind voice, baku baku gudhae 2 freshers vachitu , direct ah boot camp ah). Yes, Myself and divya, We both were new to Nagala, Trek and everything ;-).  We ourselves didn’t know our ability that time. Then, Prakash (Kutty Peter) ;-) strict oppicer and motivator of the group.

Pre-Assignments- School/College feel after 5 years ;-)
From registration till end, I was so excited and could experience a different feel @ each level. Curiosity about the bootcamp(epdi irukum idhu ?? Yenna panna porom ?!), interesting theory thru mail, Putting all efforts to understand , Finally able to do the sample first(Happada evalo dhana), fear of submitting the assignment before deadline (though we didn’t :-P),  then the assignment  @ end of each assignment( Panniyachu Panniyachu feel ). Then of course the RESULT !!!.  It was shared thru mail like the result displayed on the school board (that baku baku feel, Pass ah Fail ah ;-)  and the result will be like “thappu thappu, kota 1st lendhu podu”).  Thru all these steps finally they made us to understand clearly. Here I must appreciate the core team who reviewed all our results till the day, before the Final assignment. In spite of the time, day and deadline, they were always there to review our answers and gave feedback whenever we submit our results. So THANKS A TON to the members who were part of the core team, who helped us to learn. It was really a great feel when we are bounded to one team and competing with others by doing assignments and targeting one GOAL. Altogether It was a great 2 months experience.

Whooo Finally Nagala-With full satisfaction and holding lots of memories, I am writing My first experience @ Nagala.
The preparation started for the next day boot camp. Myself and Divya purchased food items like chapathi, Thakali Thokku, Fruits, Vegetables and lots of snacks for 4 of us and loaded 2 big bags ;-) As they mentioned we need to bring the food ration and the thought of getting lost made us to buy all these things :-P.  Once we reached the meeting point, After seeing the luggage, Kote and Prakash’s reactions were like, “Are we going for Picnic !?!”. they were really shocked :-D. Then after few modifications in the luggage, We started our journey from Madhya Kailash and reached Uthukkottai by 6.15 am. There we had a nice breakfast  . when we were about to start to base camp, Sanchana’s car didn’t get started. Few ppl lend their hands for pushing the car and finally after a struggle it got started. We reached the base camp and got our final assignment paper with Assignment points with its sequence. Luckily SHARKS and Happy Feet team got same points with same sequence ;-) So we 8 ppl together started our Navigation after a strategic planning of execution ;-) J
A5, B3 and C1 are our assignment points.

Journey To A5
Had some bananas and started our navigation towards our 1stpoint A5. After a 10 mins of walk, We reached the 1st stream, Where Kote and Prakash had their first dip. I was so jealous of them, and I could only taste the water, As this was my 1st trek, I was scared to get wet @ the start itself.Drinking the water like animals!!! Ha ha definitely it was a bliss J.After a small break, We proceeded further and started marking the way points then and there wherever it is possible like Big Tree, Split and Stream. Initially I faced difficulties in climbing and getting down and I was not so confident @ my step. But Once I used to it, I walked very comfortably.
After quite some time, We reached the 1st pool. Here also Kote had a dip and luckily could see a snake between stones and due to that he couldn’t fill our empty bottles :-P. Poor me, I was only able to throw stones @ the pool. Karthi made that stone to bounce 3 times in the water. While I was trying what karthi did, Peter and team, Who have come for the Cleanup Trek passed by. We exchanged our greetings and they proceeded in no time. When It was time to leave, Prakash accidently broke Suganya’s power specs. Suganya didn’t bring liquid for her lens and can’t use her glass as well. She can’t walk independently without these. Thinking about this situation, they praised each other for their brilliant act :-P Meanwhile poor karthick got slipped by a slippery rock and his phone got drenched in water L Worst thing can happen to anyone in this ERA :-P My mind voice to Karthi ( Happiee independence Day ! :-D).  Finally we departed from the pool and walked some distance.

There it comes L A big steep peak..Atleast for me it is. I couldn’t walk efficiently coz of my worst decision(New shoe, new trek bag with KGs of weight). As though sun doesn’t have energy, I feel like It pulls all my energy ;-)  I was bit tired at this point due to all these factors. Everyone started climbing this 350m hill to reach the 1st point A5. But I was left behind and thinking how am I supposed to do this !! I was looking @ Divya, Her bag also has heavy weight. With that she was climbing slowly without anyone’s help..I was admiring her that tym. After seeing my reaction, Kote helped me by exchanging  our bags and he dragged me to the top in a rapid way. I was flying and took 2 breaks inbetween. My god, such a steep as a beginner and no stamina @ that time. I never forget this in my life. I somehow managed to go with his speed. While taking me he promised methet he would give lemon juice. Tinking that I was able to climb bit more efficiently(Namaku soru dhan mukiyam :-P). Yesss We reached the peak and He kept his word.

Wow Man!! That juice was awesome @ that tym (Amirdham for me), felt refereshed and got boosted up. Wat a cool breeze even at sunny time !! Its heavenly.  It feels like I have achieved something beautifull and all my difficulties vanished at the moment. (Idhukuthanae aasaipattai balakumara ;-) he he). We decided to spend some time over there by having Cucumber, carrot, apple and juice. I literally wanted to sleep there. Divya alwaysgets a sofa kinda spot luckily. Even King wont relax that happily :-D .We started again after a veggie break and we reached our Point A5. Indeed Our First Achievement !. After few selfies we proceeded further towards Point B3. While on the way, Karthik noticed my shoe lays was not proper and he helped me. That time everyone noticed that I was uncomfortable with my new shoe. Mahi came forward to exchange his shoe with me as we both shares same size. Wow!! How weightless it was..I didn’t felt like wearing. Thanks a ton Mahi for ur shoe donation :-P Yeah I felt like running after that. Seriously I walked much faster and confident than earlier.

Journey to B3:
From the 350m peak, We came down to the 1st stream. Initially I thought of taking rest and planned to wait for others, who were going to point b3. But, after Mahi’s encouraging words, I also decided to join them. From there, we walked towards the point B3 by walking on a dry stream. All our journey towards this point is full of rocky stones. Kote was leading us and he would say only 200m left every 15 mins. Wat? again! Yeah 300m only left. Ha ha yes It was keep on extended each 200m. Few of us decided to take a break there and thought of sending few people to complete the second point. But after few mins everyone was determined to see point B3. Meanwhile Mahi praised my brain for the shoe selection ;-) The one which I gave to him was a winter shoe it seems, It was keeping the heat inside as no holes provided for ventilation. He adjusted with all these things and made me walk comfortably. Finally we reached our second target point  approx. 600m from the 1st stream. Took some selfie @ B3 and We returned back to the 1st stream for Lunch and power nap :-D

Lunch followed by power nap:
Few of us took a nice bath @ the 1st stream J No words to describe, It was that refreshing !! After all this (sunny day with walking, climbing, scatting :-P ), getting into stream for bath was heavenly. As water leaves our body, It felt like all our tiredness, dirt, pain went away.  Time to think about food now :-P. Divya brought cooked instant chapathi and I bought thalaki thokku for that. Though It was tasted like pickle, everything was awesome on that day. We refilled our empty bottles and took a power nap. Sleeping near the stream, hearing the water sound, lying on the stone, after a bath, u know how that sleep will be !. Seriously I didn’t want to get up initially. Then the urge to explore (what more is left for me) made me to get ready for the next point. Journey continues to our Point C1.

Journey to C1:
1st stream as a base, from there, we took 3 different ways for these 3 different points. So, now took a different path which leads to C1. On the way, We marked couple of way points and proceeded further. In the entire day, After this break, I was very much comfortable in walking and climbing. I was very energetic. May be I was used to it or practice made me perfect, I dono. Few asked was it me !!. We followed one dry stream for almost 1 km, which has lots of big stones and in few places We climed like monkeys with the help of tree branches.  We reached magic pool after some time. OMG, It was awesome. I really wanted to swim L Being a non-swimmer, watched jealously. Only thing I could do was getting my palms wet.  Karthik was in dilemma to get in as he was not that confident. But after Kote’s push, He was already in water :-D and He managed to cross the pool. They both had a nice time and others had a small break. We again refilled our empty bottles here and started climbing. Again a steep came, but this time I faced that with confident and moved independently. It took some time to settle my breathe. We reached the peak by 4.30 pm.  Someone gave apple there, Seriously an apple never tasted that much in my life before!! We met Bakya and team, We enquired about the stream and proceeded. Again we found one dry stream and followed it. At one place I fell down and got hit by a stone. I was alright after a couple of minutes and we found water there. Had Orangeand refilled our empty bottles there. Suganya started feeling difficult, as her specs were broken. We took some 3 to 4 breaks in-between, Divya was not able take a next step, she was totally exhausted. With the team’s motivation she tried hard. End of this stream, we did a 10 feet, 90 degree climb with the help of tree branches which was attached with that. Once we reached the top, that was the point C1. By 5 pm we successfully completed our assignment. The happiness in all our hearts were endless. We took rest and took few selfies.

What Next? Find a Stream:
It was almost dark and It would be difficult to reach the base camp. So, We decided to find a stream, where we can actually stay. From point C1, there was one way to climb, but that way was with full of thorns and bushes. Using knife, they removed the block and created a way to go. After that, one by one started climbing with four legs ;-).  Steep was like that with slippery small stones. Suganya waited for others in half way. As I was so scared to wait there, I proceeded further and sat near one tree.Once, everyone reached the peak, we all settled at place to plan further. Finally, We took all our torches and got ready to identify a stream. It became dark and Kote told us to stop @ one place. He went ahead and searched a stream. With the hope of getting a positive reply, we waited. He called prakash for help and They both searched.  Finally we could hear a glad news from them that they could see a dry stream. With joy we stepped down slowly with the help of the torch.

Usually I am afraid of darkness, My imagination and creativity makes wonders only in darkness. It was very dark at that time and Wherever I see, I felt like seeing someone standing. But, I was wondering Why I was not afraid. Meanwhile, like minded people reminded us about bears and its presence in this nagalapuram, which was told by peter(Naan ketana, Naan ketana??? Idhu verayaL).  Peter told  the way to escape it seems. My mind voice “Will it come really??”. As I said, Again my brain was busy thinking abt snake, ghost and animals. What if a snake comes? What if a ghost following me? My reply to my inner questions-“It wont come, u shut up and walk”. I forgot to bring my torch and I was holding kote’s small torch, in which the brightness is less. I fell down twice as I couldn’t balance with one hand.  Kote leaded the team and Mahi camelast. These two people guarded us.
I fell down couple of times as I was not able to balance with one hand. From that, I kept my torch inside and walked along with Kote, with his torch’s brightness. Couple of times I have touched Attai*** which was there in the tree. It was present in almost all the stones, 3 per stone like that. We were walking for almost 2 hours, then we were able to hear water sound. Everyone started screaming, stream!. Stream is a word (thanni satham kekudhu ! is an emotion :-P)Seriously I dono how to explain that, @8pm we were walking to find a stream and finally we were able to hear its sound. With full enthu, we proceeded further, and Yes We were finally able to see it !!!.  We halted there for almost one hour for kutty sleep. Yeah.. treading on the stones made us feel tired, that too for 3 hours. So, We gave rest to our body.  It was fulllll dark, torches were turned off, hearing the stream sound, when I looked up, My god….u know wat? I could see some 10 Fire flies <3 a="" after="" again="" and="" bootcamp.i="" could="" darkness="" day..wat="" enough="" experience="" fav="" fire="" flies..this="" from="" full="" had="" have="" highlight="" hill="" i="" imagined="" in="" is="" journey="" life.="" like="" made="" mid="" mob="" moment="" music="" my="" never="" nice="" of="" our="" p="" picnic="" pool.="" rest="" sleeping="" something="" sound="" started="" stream="" that="" the="" there="" time="" towards="" with="">

Night Camp:
We started  by 9pm and walked along the stream. Kote was finding the way and we were following him. Trek itself new to me and walking @ night with torch, dat was totally new. Let me call (Kote, Mahi, Karthi and Prakash) them as Funtastic Four. I couldn’t walk comfortably, but Funtastic 4s  helped me and divya wherever we found difficult.
Kote and Prakash used to go and find a way, then they will ask us to follow them. Till then others would  wait @ one place. Like this we halted in 2 places. @ third place, when we were waiting for them, they returned to us saying, We couldn’t proceed, We had to stay here. In order to proceed we need to cross a water body it seems, @ night they didn’t want to take risk. So, We all decided to stay there itself (Our camp place). That was also a nice place. Both sides 40 ft steep hill, looked like a giant wall  and @ the centre, Stream was flowing. We had large space for camping. I found a spot and started sleeping, Meanwhile Funtastic 4s made the camp fire. When I got up I was sleeping @ the end, along the stream and all were near the campfire, which was other side. I got scared and joined them :-P. Suganya prepared noodles by using divya’s ever silver box, in which she brought chapathi. As we didn’t have spoon, used sticks as chopstick and had a delicious dinner. Time to sleep, but I didn’t want to. Everybody was  sleeping and I was just staring at the sky. In the background silver color sky, black color tree branches and its leaves looks fabulous. Then comes my imagination of bear coming. I made a full stop to my bullshit imagination and slept. Morn was serene and heavenly.
I have never waked up like that. I was lying on the ground, Chill breeze, stream sound and birds ku koo sound. Important thing, no pressure of going to office and getting ready :-P. Yup, It was a cool morn to remember. Had bread with jam, Goa, Carrot and lemon juice as a breakfast, Yes It was heavy ;-). While having our breakfast, Peter and Vishal found us finally :-D. We reported the status of our assignments as completed and they noted both the team names. They told, It was not a good idea to go via dead end pool as non-swimmers were there(Me only :-P).  We got some inputs from them and also they shared a very IMPORTANT news. That was, they invited us for biriyani and jigarthanda juice. Lovely news @ the morn..isnt it?!?! Thinking about biriyani, We spent some time refreshing ourselves and started our journey to Picnic Pool.

Journey to Picnic Pool:
Without unaware of, what challenge I was going to face and What experience I was going to have, I started my second day @ Nagala. As we knew, we need to cross water, We took our shoes in our hand and started walking.  In a few mins, We found another camping place, where some other group stayed last night. They made a big leave plate with 100s of leaves :-P Wat a creativity..They had rice it seems. I controlled my mind saying, “enough of investigation, Walk first”.
Yeah, I was the last person. So decided to overtake few and @ one place we wore our shoe. Need to climb a steep peak and need to get down from that inorder to reach the picnic pool. One by one started climbing and reached the pool. Hoooo!! Could around 50 CTCians there. Kote was the 1st person to jump into water. I was sooo happy to see water tubes there. I got one and had a great time. There I met a non-swimmer,  Who in turn calls me as non-swimmer, none other than Vipul. Peter encouraged me to try with the mat. I was also very much interested to give a try. Sundari helped me to tie that around my top and She tighten the shawl well. Yes, ready to go!! People around me started the count down. 4..3..2..1..GO..Jumped..Hoooo Not bad, I was able to swim :-P went and touched the falls and came back. While I was doing Peter told me that I was swimming with the same attitude as swimmer has and he asked me to come to ottiyambakkam with same spirit. Wow!! I really felt happy over his comment.
It was time to leave, So came out and refreshed. As we planned to reach Chennai by 3 pm, We started without having biriyani L as they were only preparing that time. No biriyani,No jigirithanda L
Vipul was sharing his milk powder with everyone, I also got some. It was nice to have. Meanwhile, Kote was getting info about the route from Vishal. After taking few selfies (with Peter, Sanchana, sundari and Vipul) We left the picnic pool.

Return to Base Camp:
We need to climb one 90 deg steep rock with tree branches which was Majestic, Atleast for me it is. I really had a doubt that whether I could be able to climb and cross this. Ganesh accompanied us and with his words, I got confident and I started climbing. @ one place with his help, I could climb and felt happy that I crossed that. We knew this return journey would take 3 hours and no stream was available. Even then, We forgot to refill our water bottle @ picnic pool. After few mins again a steep peak, I felt like I lost my energy. Need to climb like monkeys, yeah with 4 legs. Ganesh left us here he went somewhere. While climbing, My bag was going one side. So, Mahi took my bag. Without any bag and Kote’s support, I reached the mid peak. Once kote identified the path, we proceeded towards left. I couldn’t walk, I was so tired. Again we were waiting @ one place, when Kote and Prakash went to explore the path. I wore a thick woolen black top, which was not a good choice. Steffy lend her CTC jersey andI was so comfortable after wearing  that. Meanwhile, Karthick prepared lemon juice and I had some..yummy. Felt refreshed. We took a small break till kote was back.

Again we started climbing and we felt like lost. We didn’t know the right path to proceed and 2 of my bottles were empty. So, Kote and Mahi went to picnic pool to refill the water bottle. When we were waiting, We heard kote’s voice calling Prakash. As Prakash was going to picnic pool, We all had water and emptied all our bottles except one. Prakash took all those bottles and went. Thought of having a small sleep, as it would take time for them to come back. I removed my shoe and socks, so that heat could come out. When I was about to ly down, heard mahi’s voice. Yes,He calledus to come to one point. Uhhhh no rest ?!?..Alright, We climbed a bit and reached,  Where Mahi wasstanding near a tree. He told us to take rest there. Hyyyy Rest !!  We took rest happily. But, that happiness didn’t last a min. L small honey bee were torturing us. They were surrounded all our face and they were making noise. Couldn’t sit and take rest. Karthick gave odomos and we applied it. It didn’t come to us after applying J. We spent almost 1 hour there, thinking about the biriyani, which we couldn’t have. Spending vetti time here, could have stayed @ picnic pool and started with trek team. We thought like this initially, But good that It didn’t happen that way. We learnt so many and we had unique experience. So enjoyed whatever happened. So, Finally Kote and Prakash came up with a team (Vishal, Ganesh and  ***).

After a quick intro about everyone, Vishal and team got all our water bottles from us and told that they would give only when it is required. I was thinking, “Oh trekking with Organizers will be like this?!”. Kote’s msg to me: “They won’t wait like us, so u need to walk fast”..he he yes I could see. But, Fortunately I was brisk enough to walk fast by following him. At few places Kote noticed the lat and long of that particular places for future references. We took two breaks in between and had some snacks of course ;-). While coming down, We saw few plastic papers and bottles. After seeing those, Vishal and team were really happy that their purpose of trek was accomplished. Yes, they had came for the cleanup trek. So, on the way, we collected all the plastics and bottles. Finally we reached our 1st stream again !!!. We felt very relaxed thinking that we were safe, completed our assignment and finally back to 1st stream. After a break we started from there and reached our base camp.

Things to REMEMBER:
This boot camp taught me so many things to remember and follow. I was really blessed to have a wonderful team. Hearty thanks to kote, Mahi,Steffy and Karthick. Kote, Who took my bag as, I am not able to walk with that heavy weight and gave full moral support throughout the boot camp. Mahi, Who exchanged his shoe with me as I couldn’t walk comfortably with mine. Steffy, who gave her jersey as,Mine was not a good choice for summer. Karthick, Who encouraged me and gave his support while trekking. Special thanks to Divya for lunch(chapathi) and Suganya for Dinner(Noodles). I must thank Prakash and Karthick for the cool drive.
Below are the things, I learnt from this awesome experience.
·         Travel as light as possible ( Did mistake here, bought so much to eat ;-) , bag was heavyL)
·         Best items to take ( Lemon and salt, pulipu mittai, cucumber, padam and dry grapes)
·         Comfortable clothing ( based on the season, need to pick our clothing)
·         Proper shoe ( My mistakes : bought a winter shoe and new shoe for my 1st trek)

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