If kolli 1 was the my birth place as a trekker, I felt reborn in kolli 2. Its ironic to speak about birth and rebirth in a place which literally means ” Hill of death” …
The trek was monumental in the history of CTC, judging by the sheer size of the contingent- 88, a CTC record in a single trek. It also marked winding up of some unfinished business from Kolli 1. We finally managed to conquer the raging stream to unlock the spooky cave on the other side…. Immediately after the trek we had some narrations from the trekkers… i would like to showcase three such narratives.
Priya Thiagarajan finally shed her image of a “last minute drop-out” and had a blast in the trek. She detailed her experiences in the trek :-
“Though I joined CTC about 8 months ago, I never got around to participating in any of the treks until last weekend. As much as I felt bad about not joining any of the earlier treks, I do not have any regret about stating with this one as I do not think I would have enjoyed any other as much.
The people, the attitude, the surprising friendships, the care and concern, the sharing thought, the helping tendency…I think I saw all of what makes one look at things positively in life….I always used to check on everyone’s write up and the pictures posted and never did I ever think I would actually end up writing this. At least I never thought of myself to be able to express my experiences in this manner.
When I got to the egmore station and paid for the trip, I was still apprehensive as I did not know anyone (except for anand chenduri’s voice) and it was probably the first time I was actually venturing into something like this…but then…starting from the time I said my first hello to the girls vaishnavi, harsha, madhu, mathangi and saranya…the whole scene just changed. Then it was prakash, Tamal and Anand and then the list went on and on and on….The comfort level was just amaaaaaaazing!!
When I reached the top with the rest of the guys, I almost fainted knowing I was one among the first few…but that was completely because of Anand, Ram and Vinods voice constantly ringing in my ears saying “move it move it”, ” bridge the gap”, ” jus 10 more minutes”.
Thanks to palani for giving me his boat sized slippers when I couldn’t wear my shoes because of blisters.
Managing such a large team can be quite a task and hats off to all the members who were able to pull this off…It was all perfect and quite exciting till the end!!
On the second day, when I couldn’t even take a step, I could manage to trek down up to the caves and back only because of the tremendous support and encouragement and patience shown by Bala and Vinod. And of course My physiotherapists Dr. Chezhian and Anand Chenduri . Thank you all so much!!
The river would have been a mission impossible if not for Jagan, Ashok, Arun and Baidik, who were not just demonstrating the jumps again and again for our sake but were screaming “you can do it” so many times that I really did jump for their sake if not for mine.
Bagat and Vikram, thanks for all the pics and Bagat, special thanks for keeping up you word for the solo session.
Finally, to sum this up, I am glad I made it to this trek and broke the image of ” Priya Thyagarajan? The one who signs up but doesnt make it to the trek?”…. it was one of the most memorable trips in my life and thanks to all the beautiful people who made it so….”
Second one is by our very own Arun “maga” gowda… i don know why people kept calling him that… He summarized the trek like the TOI sports reporter summarizes cricket matches nowadays. It was informative —
” 88 superb trekkers – The trekking gang was awesome, all like-minded, easy going people – njoyed ur company….
1 Mission – To complete the Kolli2 Succesfully
2 days – As usual, most enjoyable days of the week if ur trekking
180 glasses of hot Soup – Mouth watering hot veg soup at the peak (still my mouths watering 🙂
over 400 dosas – Don know wat dosas were they, but at tat point everything was tastyyyy..
100 omlettes – full boiled, half boiled and a few un boiled bcoz of the queue for it 🙂
2 peaks – One temple peak and the other 1050m peak – few guys missed this… me and vikki had the best view at the vertical drop.
Tough down trial – 35 brave souls completed this, kudos to all…..
Amazing Leaders – From the front Peter and from the back GRam…. 🙂
Birthday Bums – As our usual target amal wasnt their, we celerated samyaks 1st bday with bday bums 🙂
Great Team Effort – Everyone lending their hand to help. Palani, peter and few more guys helping all cross over the stream was gr8…
Kool Photographers – 3 photographers who dint miss any action or views but got most captured – samyak,vikki and Makka
One Hit Movie Shot – Thnx for the efforts of the actors, Angel, Nisha,Ram, Makka and Mr. Bean. Me and vikki directed and gave the music….
Introductions – Many more frends to the list… People got introduced to each other. Vinodakka, urs was the best 🙂
Stomach Full Fun – We repeated the Yelagiri bhajan session of lord Ram and Ra Ra song.
Gorgan Griser – Thanks to the organiser Vikki for arranging this….”
Well said Arun….
The third one is from a group who i think were on their first trek… They had some nice experiences to share too….
“On the 9th Jan a “small group” of about 75 people started our journey from Chennai Egmore to Salem, where we met the rest of the gang from Bangalore and Trichy. In the station we got all our luggage loaded into the vans that the organizers had arranged for. From here we proceeded to the starting point of our trek.
The place is called Puliyanjolai. On reaching this place, we changed to clothes that will be best suited for trek, loaded the snacks, water bottles and glucose that had been arranged by the organizers into our backpacks and started the trek – destination Kolli. After walking along about 40 minutes, we reached a small but a beautiful, clean and scenic stream. None of us wanted to go any further without taking dip into this stream. Our captain Peter said we will have a 10 min break (????). Thats all was needed. Almost everyone were ready to take a plunge into the water.
The 10 minutes was never a 10 minutes, as anybody could have guessed. It was about 30 minutes before we resumed our trek. We had to wade through a rocky terrain. I would love to see the same stream in its full flow during the rainy season. About 1:30pm we settled down amidst the rocks to have our lunch, as our leader informed that we may not have any more streams until we are close to our destination. The entire gang spread across the landscape and had our lunches, which was neatly packed in aluminium foil by the organizers.
By around 2:15 we once again resumed our trek with clear instructions from Peter that we have to start moving at a good pace to reach the destination for the night. Now the trek was a real trek and not just a walk. After climbing for about 2 hours I was very exhausted, as this is my first trek. So I had to take small 2 min breaks in between to catch my breath. We then reached the top of a huge rock from where we can see the entire valley. The rest of the team had already reached this spot and were sightseeing and encouraging all the trekkers who have made to that point.
On the way we met some locals who regularly come to these places from the Kolli town to collect twigs and logs for domestic usage. We were moved when we saw one of the men carrying loads of logs in his head, but one of his leg is not fully capable of supporting him. We wonder how they are able to cover so much of distance everyday. We were huffing and panting, but for these people its like a walk on a flat surface.
After walking along the trail for about 2 more hours, we arrived at a beautiful village. It was a plain in an elevated area. Located about 2000 ft above sea level this looked like a different world. We were able to see various crops being cultivated here. The group proceeded to the village nearby and to a peak beyond to take a 360 degree view of the entire valley. A part of the group which was already tired, proceeded in a different route to reach the original destination. Four of us went along with the group that went to explore the peak, but in between entered the village to fill our water bottles.
This is when we befriended the most funny character of the entire lot, Ambarish. By the time we started to climb the peak, we already saw the group has almost reached the peak. The time was around 5:30pm when we started the climb. Myself, Dinesh and Rajesh climbed the steep, but Ambarish decided to wait in the base and asked us to call him if the group were to take a different route while returning. We started climbing through the gardens of the villagers, then through dense grasslands. the grass had grown up to knee level.
Now we had 2 options with us. Either proceed along or get back and wait for others. We thought we will make it to the top, but it was getting really difficult with the night and we almost lost our track. Exploring any further will mean that we will not only head in the wrong way, but also will slow down the others. Since it was getting darker and late, and there was no sign of Peter and the group, we thought we will return back to the base of the peak and wait for the others. When we turned back we were not able to recognize the way through which we had climbed. The only saving grace was Ambarish. With his white shirt, he was sitting on a rock like a light house. We had his direction in mind and started climbing back down only to realize that we are moving along the wrong direction. Somehow we managed to track back to the village after some jumps on plants, falling down, sliding and some minor bruises. We were waiting on the way to our original destination in a place where we will be able to get a view of others. After about 30 minutes, we saw the rest of the gang returning back. We joined the group and proceeded further to our final destination of the day – ArapaleeswararTemple.
We thought we have almost made, but soon realized we are not going to reach the temple before crossing a couple of peaks, slopes and a few streams. Since it was a full moon day we did not have much difficulty in walking in the dark, especially with a large group and people who knew the trail. Once again I have to mention the efforts of the organizers in helping the entire group. Its a proper example of team work. By the time we reached Arapaleeswarar Temple, it was already 9:00pm and we were just famished. Some of them started preparing Maggi for the group, which was sent up in the vans. Some of us ordered for parottas, dosa and whatever that was available in the small eat out that was there. That was the end of day one. The entire lot went to sleep i the Mandapam of Arapaleeswarar Temple with our sleeping bags and sleeping mats.
Day 2 started early for most of us. The group took bath the stream behind the temple and had breakfast in the same so called fast food centre. The agenda was to explore the caves near the falls. Most of the group stayed back as it was going to be a trek with strict time lines and people who were expected not to slow down the entire group. So few of us stayed back. Since I had sprained my right knee during one of the falls or slides the previous day, I too decided to stay back as I know I will be slowing down everyone if I join them. The pain in the knee was a bit nagging and it really slowed my normal walk.
But curiosity got the better of me. Rajesh, Dinesh andMyself decided that instead of waiting without doing anything, we would go to falls on our own and take a bath. The climbing down was not as easy as I expected with my sprained knee. I had to take one step at a time and it was really slow. Though I was initially very disappointed that I was not able to join the others, I now really felt that I had made the right decision. I would have slowed others drastically. Once we reached the falls, it just took our breath away. As I had mentioned earlier, though I have seen it during the summer, I never realized it is going to be this majestic during this season. Now I really wonder how it will be during the monsoon.
We finished our bath, of course in the mist, and climbed back to the temple where all our luggage and a few others who opted out of the 2nd day trek were waiting. We had our lunch and waited for the rest of the team. The rest of the gang arrived at about 2:00pm and had their lunch and decided to trek down to a point where they can join the others. After they started we stated our journey in the vans downhill towards Salem railway station. On the way we clicked some photographs of the setting sun. This was the most interesting part. Except for some 10 people everyone arrived at the Salem Junction on time and unloaded all the luggage from the vans to the platform. Peter and the other trekkers were yet to reach and we had no clue when they would reach. Most of our luggage were in the van which had been with them for bringing them from Karavalli, the foothill to Salem.
Peter and a few others who were trekking down finally reached the platform just 5 minutes before the train’s departure time. That’s when we found two luggage were missing. That was mine and Rajesh’s. We searched in the pile of luggage that we had unloaded into the platform and in the ones that had come late, but we never found it. Chezhian, one of the organisers, suggested that we can go back to the vans and check if anything is missed. To our disappointments, we found it was not there. When we returned back to the platform, the train was about to start. Chezhian was confident that someone should have already loaded the luggage into the train. So we started searching all the compartments in which CTC members were sitting. Luckily one of them had brought our bags and had it safe. That was a great relief to both of us.
That was the end of my first trek with CTC and now eagerly waiting for the next one.”
That was very detailed write-up by rajshekhar. Looks like he had blast too and made some new friends. Like many first time trekkers’ experience, it was very interesting to note the excitement in doing things on a trek, which we wont even dream of doing while living our regular and mundane lives. Things like walking in darkness on steep climbs, getting lost and finding our way back in, getting sprains, injuries but still carrying on etc are the things which make a trek unforgettable. It changes the way we look at life altogether …
A very important aspect of the trek which both the narratives missed was the selfless act by ram and company to stay back with a ailing member to make sure he reaches chennai safely… Ram set an example which should remain in the minds of the members for a long time.
In the end it was a marvelous trek and as usual viki excelled in the organizing part… BTW we even set our sights on our targets for kolli 3… That’s the way we do things at CTC!!!
“It was a trek that was like a 20-20 match where the whole match looks like the highlights show of an ordinary match.”
Organized by: Vikram J
Participants: Abhimanyu Abitkar, Akila Duraiswamy, Alwin Ramesh, Ambarish, Amjad Ahmed, Anand Chanduri, Anand Raghunathan, Angel Glady, Arun Gowda, Arun Nagarajan, Ashok Somasundar, Ashwin, Babu Ramalingam, Baidik , Bhaghat Kumar, Bhaskar N, Cherian, Dennis George, Dinesh, Dinesh, Divya, Diwakar, Dr.M.P.Saravanan, Ebin Quinn, Ford Bala, Ganapathy Subramanian, Ganesh Raja, Ganesh Rajendran, Gopinathan MR, GurumoothiI Gnanasam, Harsha sajjnani, Indira Kadambi, J K Das, Jeevanandam, Jegatheesh, John Kingsley, K senthil subramanyam, Karthikeyan, Kumaraguru, MadhuMitha R, Manivannan.Gandhira, Mathangi, N M R Saran, N V Pradeep, Namratha, Nikhith Ashok, Nisha Luiz, Palani Kumar, Palanidaran, Payam Yavari, Peter, Petter Bellander, Prasanna G, Prasanna Pandian, Priya Thiyagarajan, R Ramesh Kamak, Raghuvir Reddy, Rajagopal S, Rajesh, Ram Prasad, Ramachandran B, Ramani R, Ramasubramaniyan Krishnamoorthy, Revathi Ramanan, S.Nithya Anand, S.Thiagarajan, S.Vithyashankar, Samyak Kaninde , Sandeep Patil, Saranya Senguttuvan, Sathish kumar gynasekaran, Sathish Raj, Sekar Jegan, Selva Prakash , Shankar Sachithanandam, Snekalatha V, Sridhar G, Sriram, Srivatsan, Sudhir , Suthakar, Tamal Dey, V.Badrinarayan, Vaishnavi K , Vara Prasad G, Vikram, Vinod D Varghese, Vinod Roy, Vinodha Jeyanthilal