Wow!!! What a trek to organize and enjoy! I just loved every moment of it.
It all started on Javadhu/2, where me and Narasimhan thought -why not organize a trek to Javadhu’s peak – Padhimalai, Nara suggested we do a pre-trek to fathom the terrain and difficulties of the trails, water source, trek route and so on (with some wild photography too). Once we completed our pre-trek, we were so thrilled to try it again with CTC members.
Decided to take up the challenging task of this trek to Javadhu Hills on 7th and 8th of March. called up the forest officials and enquired about the weekend trip with CTC to Javadhu, got the permission, and mailed the invitations to the team members. It was nice to see as much as 28 members showing interest on Thursday and I closed the registration. Now starts the actual adventure of organizing a trek. On Thurs day by 8:00pm, a guy called up from Bangalore and said he will bring 4 people along and join us in Vellore – “Did you register?” I quipped in time. “No” the answer comes casually.”You gotta do that first”.
Friday morning 8:00 am – Confirmation SMS to all participants
8:30 am – Hyundai service centre – left my car for service
9:30 am – SMS starts coming in with drop outs list growing
10:00 am – Ordering for breads and sweet boli
11:00 – Reached office (by tea-break).
Now, phone calls were received every hour from the dropouts, @ 1 per hour, 2 cars too dropped out, leaving us with only 2 cars for transportation. Not letting that dampen my spirits (I don’t want anyone waitlisted for this trek) I decided to hire a tempo traveler with 22 participants in the list.
5:00 pm – left office and bade bye to all my colleagues
6:00 pm – picked my car from the Hyundai(hopefully after good service )
6:30pm – at the boli stall collecting delicious boli packets (after tasting one just to make sure its taste)
7:30pm – at the bakery collecting freshly-baked breads I ordered for.
8:30pm – chapatti parcels from a Bengali stall
9:00 pm -back home. And, I found, to my dismay, that none was packed in aluminum foil.
10:30pm – ran helter-skelter to Spencer’s while almost shutting down, cajoled the attendant for aluminum foil for food packing,
11:30 pm – 22 food packets are ready. Oh, I forgot to my fill my car petrol. Drove again and filled petrol.
11:40 pm – a participant calling for registration. It’s merely 4-5 hrs to start the trek and I was getting new registration. Acknowledged.(ha..ha…) Food arranged for all the people and nicely packed, and now the time is …
12 am – Saturday oh no! Just 3 hrs to sleep and start the trek.
Saturday Morning 3:30 Alarm woke me up, I had to call all participants near Guindy, Koyembedu and Narasimhan takes care of Tidel park. Naras confirmed that the tempo traveler arrived on time and all participants are on the way. By 5:15 am all the trekkers were assembled at the final pickup, Koyembedu. No delays, we made that clear to everybody. Whoa! Here starts our weekend trek to Javadhu!!
I had my colleagues Karthick and Vivek joining us in the trek, met RaviKanth after Talakona, Sudhir &Hima bindu,Sravan from Nagala 14, Bharat with 5 Chinese nationals, Rahul, Murali, Srinivas & Shrinidhi Hande. We took the NH4 to Vellore, a very nice highway to drive on, yet with annoying toll gates. It is always a pleasure to drive early in the morning in the NH with the freshest breeze blowing. We had our breakfast in Vellore, took a left turn to join the SH route to Polur, again took a right to Padaiveedu. Halt! Guides were waiting as arranged, parked the car in the village. We all boarded the tempo traveller, and reached the Dam. Food packets were distributed to each of us that made them wonder what it contained.
The participants also wondered why the van was stopped and why they had to start the trek so far away ? Its due to the wild elephants that would be spotted on our trek route and guides have advised us not to take the van anymore inside. So everyone turned a bit shaky about this big animal. Surely, nobody wanted to encounter one. Nara was quite calm and instigated to go with the team spirit by which we could overcome any such challenge. So here we move on to Javadhu/3 trek, with 20 members marching towards the peak of PadhiMalai. After 3-4 kms of plain walk with sun beating us without mercy, we all got so tired and found a big tree to rest. We found a small hut nearby, with some village inhabitants, who gave us water and Koozh (Raagi mixed with buttermilk)-many of us never had a taste of it before – which gave us so much of energy to climb (The strength we get after drinking this is more energizing than the Glucon-D which we were carrying).The next query everybody started asking was “Ravi, are you planning to go via the water stream today ?” It’s all because of the heat of Sun God, and water stream did seem to be an oasis on our trip. After 2hrs of hard walk and trek, we reached a big tamarind tree – our lunch spot. Many opened their sleeping mats and laid flat, exhausted. I bet no air-conditioning system in the world could offer such a cooling experience. Only half the group have reached the spot, So we all waited for everyone to come and it took another ½ hr for them to assemble together.. By now all the freshers of CTC came to know what trek of CTC is all about.
After lunch, it was going to be another 3-4 hrs of steep climb to reach Padhimalai – Base camp at 800m. Everyone refilled the water bottles and decided to take up the challenge of resuming their task (ofcourse, they had no other choice), So Narasimhan who took up the job of leading from the back and me as the trail leader in the front. The climb was steep with rocky boulders.Vivek turned on his mobile phone with some energizing songs from “Nan kadavul”, doing a karaoke, keeping up the pep of the team while climbing. Around 4 p.m., we all got so exerted with all the Glucon-D being used, everyone’s mind thinking –“Still how much more?” and atlast…We Reached the Peak of 800m. The villagers were looking at us strangely and asking “Why did you guys took this tough route? you could have taken the easy one” But they never knew “We, in CTC are tough guys, hence we chose the toughest” ha..ha… Overwhelmed by our hard endeavour, the villagers offered us juices, biscuits, tea, coffee, veg puff, samosas, bajjis, Then every one was strictly advised to share his valley view -room of PadhiMalai Valley View resorts with his trek-mate, only one room for 2persons …Hold on Hold on Did I type something wrong ? – I shall redo the last sentence . Overwhelmed by our hard endeavour, we were offered nice water and healthy koozh by the villagers and an old school was offered for our stay, where we did not have place for the 20 of us. As true trekkers, we managed to climb on the top of the school to lay down our soul and body.
But hold on – yeah, we haven’t reached the 1km peak which we planned to scale. We were only at 800m altitude. Some brave souls raised their hands and already on their feet to reach the peak – to view the sunset with all its glory – the crowning glory, which they will never forget in their lifetime. By this time we got all the entire team reaching the base camp on time by our great steam engine named “Narasimhan”. So about 12-14 people decided to reach the peak of 1km in another 30 minutes or else we lose the sunset on the top. So all the determined trekkers wanted to make that extra one mile to reach the peak, and we did reach our peak on time!!!!!!!!. Hurrayyyyyyyyyy!!!!was the shouting and all the pains were gone, with the mountain breeze welcoming us to the peak, it was such a tremendous feeling of being here, with the Nature. You should actually be there to feel what we all felt, everyone were alive with adventurous spirits. What a unique and fulfilling feeling it is to savour and share. I enjoyed every atom of the oxygen thoroughly. After taking the sunset shots from the peak, we decided to get back the base before it gets dark. Before that, we had to cook our supper with the soup and noodles which we carried all along. Sudhir and Hima Bindu volunteered to do this great job. Guys started to collect firewoods and vessel from the villagers. Ravikanth’s Ipod with external speakers was quite effective in creating a party atmosphere making with vibrant music while the soup was getting ready. Our mentor Peter would always say “Soup never tastes better”.Yummmy…. All went for a second round of the soup. Then came the main course, Maggie noodles and every one munched as much as they can.To our surprise one of our Chinese trekkers, made his own chop stick and completed his dinner his way.
Someone of us was continuously engaged in the work of fetching huge logs of wood (that would last for two days if burnt, at least) and burning the campfire. We need to honour his services. Now we planned to entertain ourself by our chief guest – Chinese friends who have traveled so long with us. So Shun started to sing the song
“I believe I can fly, I believe I can touch the sky
,I think about it every night and day,
Spread my wings and fly away “
Then we requested all our Chinese trekkers to sing a Chinese song. Although we could not understand what they were singing, music has no language and its true. Bharat did some Bengali/Hindi number and then we all slept for the night some inside the school and some on the top(as usual).
Next day waking up was so very tough and which made us miss the sunrise which we planned but still I had some good pics from my cam on the sunrise. We again cooked and ate the left out Maggie packets we had and said ‘ bye –bye’ to all the Padhimalai residents for their hospitality and started to descend. Descending was in another route which was very scenic with the whirring sound of water flowing which was feast for the eyes and ears with bubbly atmosphere. After 3 hrs of descend we reached our pool and everyone without any second thought jumped into the pool of water. We spent enough time at the pool quenching our thirst and also the pain in our body. After that, we had our lunch and started walking along the stream for about 4-5 km. Now we have reached the dam and were on our way in a solid tar road which seemed as though we trod on it very long ago. After reaching Vellore, we indulged in a lip-smacking dinner at Hotel SaravanaBhavan. Its time for BYE-BYE now.
My intention of writing this blog is not only to express my experiences as a trekker, but also to present a fairly clear picture of hardships faced and the euphoria derived out of it.
Written by: Ravi A
Organized by: Ravi A / Nara