After completing 3 DOAs, CTC wanted to stretch its limits and boundaries. This time named as Death for Sure. Before DFS start, Peter was sending preparatory mail. The mail stated no extra food, no sleeping bags/mats to fasten up the trek. Energy bars and the water were the only survival food.
The day came and I joined the team at Tirupathi at 12:00 Midnight. Food (rusk, jam and energy bars ) were distributed. We took a jeep to Talakona falls to start trek at 12:30. We left Tirupathi dumping our cars and we had the chill 90 minutes drive from Tirupathi. We stopped in the middle for tea and the driver was doubtful as the Forest guards might stop the vehicle. We convinced him and he dropped at Talakona by 3:00 AM Saturday morning. We started walking towards Talakona falls with torches off to get away from people’s eyesights. We were walking for 20 minutes and we reached Talakona falls. Peter was asking to fill up water bottles as there would be no water for some time. Basker and Guru had a bath while filling water. The place was windy and chill and we started trekking the initial climb up.
All were with constant speed and everyone taking deep breath and sweating and reached Talakona top in next 10 minutes. First time in CTC history the Talakona top achieved in 10 minutes. Everyone were pumped up and were expecting much more. We decided to sleep for sometime before we get into the forest. Without sleeping bag and mats it was difficult. By 5:30 one by one got up and we were laughing at one another since none had a sleep. Everyone were struggling to get sleep. But the cold wind didnt allowed anyone. We started trek at 5:30 and started walking on the trial. At a deviation Peter and Guru marked the CTC welcome message on the ground for the actual Talakona trekkers. Then we took the same deviation from the trial and reached some paths of DOA2. We were walking along that trial and we kept on walking on that. There were several drops of 5 feet and 10 feet and we crossed those hurdles in no time. Finally we reached the DOA1 trial where Peter had the accident. CTC found the shortest trial to the magic pools of Venkateswara and we went towards the exact place where Peter had that incident. We viewed for sometime and started decending that drop. It was so challenging and each one descended very carefully. Karthick was mentioning that they had a tough time during DOA1 also while climbing up that place. Climbing down was difficult than climbing up.
We had the first bath there and were enjoying the rock formations and water. Since we reached the place much earlier than we expected, Peter said we will try to explore some other trials. For the next 2 hours we were walking along the stream. We dipped into water at two places and those pools were amazing. Palani wanted to learn diving in the pools. Guru, Vetri, Peter were giving tips to him. Baskar was trying to kill his fear on swimming. He did few amazing back dives. After sometime we reached the place where in earlier treks people tried to make a bridge in crossing a stream. That was the last point of earlier trials and we filled up water bottles.
We started climbing on right side of the stream. We climbed up and we were able to see a cross formation of the hills. The main stream valley and the 90 degree valley from other two hills intersecting each other. The place was rocky and the bushes had grown after the initial rains. The Sun god was mercy this time as it was not too hot and ideal weather for trekking. We didnt consumed water much and we were progressing at steady pace before we stopped for lunch on top of the 90 degree hill top.
Now we started climbing down the hill on the other side and we found another stream running downwards towards the main stream. We started following that stream and some places we were required to swim and use ropes to come down. Peter and Guru as usual went down the narrow streams and checked the paths. After crossing several narrow streams we reached the down forest at 2:30 PM. We have covered almost 22 KMs till that time. We were discussing of going back to Talakona for Sunday since we covered much earlier than expected. Also we were planning to camp at super pool near the temple that night. We observed several different varieties of butterflies in various colors near the pools.
We started walking down the stream again in rocks and boulders. We were at constant pace and covering distance at ease. Everyone was hungry and we were taking few chocolates and energy bars in between. Finally we stopped at a place around 3:45 PM. My slippers were hurting and i got some burns and was slow among all 10. We had a short break and decided to start at 4:00 PM from that place. When we were about to start it started raining. We went under a tree and waiting to stop. Meanwhile we were discussing of going to super pool and enjoy next day and exit from forest earlier on Sunday.
After 10 minutes the rain was drizzling and we started walking down the stream. We found people telugu scribblings on the rocks and dated May 2009. After few metres we found another drop and a nice pool. We jumped into the pool and it was refreshing. The rain stopped now and we started to walk down the stream again. In another 200 metres we found a 100 metre drop and we were required to climb to right. We spotted a trial on the left side but we stick on to the right side which will eventually take us to Kodur. Also as we were very tired and reached the destinations much earlier Peter told that we will get out of forest and get into Dhabha for food. We will go to Nagari on Sunday for a short trek. With this announcement all picked up the speed and started descending faster
We climbed up the right hill and descended other side and we found a dry stream. We kept on walking on the dry streams and boulders for a long time. It was a long walk and by 7:00 PM we reached a village. Guru and Peter tried to get a auto or other to get into Kodur. But all were not promising. Finally after 30 minutes we started walking towards Kodur which was 12 Kms away. We walked and reached another small village and we rested there for sometime. Finally one villager came and helped us get a Tractor till Kodur. The tractor was late for another 30 minutes. Meanwhile the villagers gave us water and mangoes to eat. Finally the tractor came and we jumped into the tractor and we had another 30 minutes rough drive. We didnt want to get delayed by taking dinner at Kodur and decided to have it on the way to Tirupathi. Guru and Baskar went and rented a Sumo where all were squeezed into that. We had a really small place but all were very hungry and eager to have food. The driver informed that the food would be spicy and Guru started his talk with that driver about the mangoes and others. Everyone slept till the railway gate near to Tirupathi. The gate was locked and not opening. We decided to take other way and we convinced the driver to take us there by paying extra. Finally we reached Tirupathi at 12:00 midnight and were very tired. The driver started his foul games by demanding more than he agreed earlier and we were furious at his rude behavior. He didnt stopped at Dhabha and demanding higher. Finally everyone left the place and we found a veg hotel near to busstand. We were searching for non-veg food but we couldnt find any at that time. Atleast we had some Parotta with juices at Tirupathi and we started back to Chennai at 2:00 AM morning. Finally we decided to go back to Chennai and take rest and plan for something on Sunday. We reached Chennai around 5:30 AM and we went homes with the accomplishment of 41 kms trek in a day.
The significance of this trek is the distance covered with almost no fresh food. All we had on the trek was few chocolates and energy bars. All 10 were even ready to walk to any distances. This DFS had really tested our stamina and hope we will have some more tougher ones as we keep on increasing our levels higher. All this is accomplished only because of none other than Peter. Thanks again for Peter and believing us for his first mission of DFS and successfully completing.
Written by: Senthil
Organized by: Peter Van Geit
Posted by: Karthick Sundararajan