Eastern Ghats Exploration, Aug 13-15

[Written by Ram]

Go placidly amidst the noise and madness:

This is an idiom I learn when I was schooling. In nutshell the trek experience for an infant trekker like me, was the true expression on GO Placidly alone with the exuberant group I spent 3 days with. It truly was a getaway from the noise and madness that prevailed in my day to day mundane life.

For prelude, Leon Girton(my mate/colleague) & I were regular commoners living the mundane city life which is merely nonsense and chaos to full length. Precisely 3 months ago, a little introspection into the lives we lived provoked us to take a deep dive into the exotic adventure mission to explore the natures true form. Since then, we trekked at a few spots where there were no tuktuk’s, no honking, no dust in the air we breathe and tasty water without impurities which wasn’t plastic bottled. A month and a half ago whilst searching for some next spot for a trek, we came across CTC group doing such similar activity. Being intrigued, we gained our membership by signing on the Inet form. We were bit anxious post the sign up on how the groups of different culture might come together and behave on a over night stay. With anxieties surfacing we found a trek (Eastern Ghats Exploration Trek) request circulated. We swiftly signed up for it and had a few email exchanges with the Organizer – Peter.

Having not been a part of any Trek with the group, I am certain Peter ought to have felt petrified as the level of the trek was difficult. But we managed to ascertain our confidence with our experience and got our names listed on the final list. So, it was the D-day i.e.12th Aug 2011. Leon and I made a huge check list and managed to tick off everything by that night 21:00 PM. We said to each other that we are good to sleep now and wake up at 01:00 AM on 13th Aug 2011 to assemble at the Tidel point. With mixed emotions of being a part of trek of 30 member group and being away for 3 days, we were so enchanted that we couldn’t get our sleep. Finally, we got ready and went to our point by 01:45 AM as we were asked to assemble 15 minutes early. We parked our cars and walked toward the point to see a few lads standing around with shorts and sleeveless. All of them carried a bag which must have had just a 2 liter bottle and a sleeping mat. Quickly recognizing that must be the group, we introduced ourselves and confirmed our attendance. In a few minutes, few more gathered and finally met Mr.Vangeit. We introduced ourselves and had a small chat. Minutes later we got everyone sorted in each others car and moved to others point and picked everyone.

There we embarked on our Odyssey towards something that we clueless about. 3 and a half hours drive into a Village called Venkatagiri where we parked our cars. In our car, we accommodated Vipin Lal, Prashant Holkar and Jisha. We engaged in such a fascinating enjoyable conversation. They had their mouthful laughter when Leon & I were inquisitive about our food, camping point, wildlife etc. of their previous experience. They sincerely recommended us strip our backpack half as we carried nearly 6 liters of water+blanket+toiletries+rain jacket+etc.each. Based on their advice we tied a few down in our car and got off at the destination point and began walking into the village.

Day 1: 13th Aug – The first few kms of trek were on a flat surface. As we continued walking, we found almost everyone in the trek walking at windspeed. it appeared as though no one had a backpack or any weight on their body. Fortunately we both were 6+ feet tall boys who were athletic enough to keep up with the pace. All along for a few Kms we followed the trial which seemed quite simple. Suddenly we took a detour and found ourselves walking through dense thorn plants where the vicinity doesn’t go beyond a meter or two. Everyone seemed to take it quite well and not surprised. We were shocked. Yet, we walked a through all of them without a question or a doubt with the group. There were plenty of times our backpacks and tshirts were caught between those plants. Everyone who walked along with us took real care to help at every glitch we encountered and managed to keep us with pace.

Within a few more kms, we were at a point where it was completely full of boulders of different size and shape between which the stream of water was running. With trees standing tall on both sides, we were covered utterly from the world of noise. The tranquility of the place cannot be articulated. Utterly serene and extremely green. We didn’t spot a single human besides our group members. It was just impeccable to walk on those rocks and jump from one to another in great pace. We halted at a point to have our morning breakfast along the stream. From 3 hours of trek, the creambuns & coconut buns enticed our tastebuds. We enjoyed filling our bottles with those delicious tasty water from the running stream and continued our walk. The whole day we managed to keep the pace and explored all that passed along the stream. We found ample number of exquisite water pools where we took a swim and enjoyed the nature at its best

Post a few more trek around that area, we halted for lunch and enjoyed some mouthwatering coconut poli. The whole group realized that we were new to trekking and kept giving us tips on how to eat and when to eat and what to eat to keep our energy levels. Leon and I were so adamant to put our best efforts forward to keep the pace with the group to not dismay the fun for others. Overall the first day exceeded our expectations with a few very steep climbs and high boulder runs along the stream. We camped at a spot that evening where all the folks ran out for a blissful dip in the serene pools offered by the range. Sankar/Nagin – took the post of hosts to entertain all our taste buds for that night. After a day longs walk, the Soup and Maggi tasted beyond deliciousness. Having enjoyed a lovely dinner, we set up a campfire and few gathered around enjoying discussion. In a few minutes Leon and I found a rock for ourselves and fell asleep that night

07:30 AM on 14th Aug – We were woken up by the birds singing. I opened my eyes to see that I was surrounded by tall trees. Lovely birds chirping and stream of water running along where I slept. It was the perfect heaven on earth. People pay truck load of cash to enjoy what we did and what they receive in return is absolutely abysmal experience. It was a bright beautiful morning. Within an hour everyone got ready. As usual, Shankar was kind enough to provide us with Hot tea and rusks. We enjoyed the nibble with an Orange and a pear and started our trek. This day was the best day in my whole life. If I recall vividly, my knees hurt, throat ran dry, my shoulders hurt – in nutshell, I was knackered. Yet, I achieved and overcame fears which I haven’t done in my entire livelihood in this planet. This was a day of mountain climbing. A climb of 900 meters – Venkatagiri Fort and 2 other ranges around. Every step I took – mattered. Every rock I held – reaffirmed my faith in nature, every trouble I ran into – increased my trust levels with the group who helped.

When I look back and review those wonderful pictures of Peter and folks – the feeling is so elevating. I feel that I have overcome the fears which I have had. Such steep climbs with a massive backpack. A group of people whose age varies from 20 to 45 could all do it. It provoked me to do it too. I didn’t even look back on giving up. I wanted to keep pace and do what everyone else could do. A day of sheer courage and a sense of significant achievement. This is day will also be remembered in my memory bank for the first night trek indulgence. We had to walk from the base of the fort till our camp point. It was a thorough decline path walk. Average speed – 07 KM/Hour. Walked between 17:15 & 20:20. We had our torches on in that pitch dark night in the dense jungle and continued to follow Peter. Ultimately we arrived at a point where Peter identified water source and camped the night. Shankar & Nagin again cooked a lovely meal and we crashed the night

Day 3: 15th August – Our trek commenced really early. As we Peter had planned to explore another valley range, we had to start off around late 07ish that morning. Walked a few miles and arrived at a civilization point in the forest. It was a temple where few people were gathered. We hoisted the National flag and sang the anthem of our country. We distributed what we could to the poor in the temple and carried our exploration journey. Another day of steep climb – incidentally there were no mountains. But very difficult inclined planes. Midway we stopped at a lovely stream again for a delicious lunch. Today they helped us enjoy some oats meal and indian masala. That was our last point post which we had to follow the trail back and join the civilization. 03:30 hours of continuous walk from there got us back to our initial point where we gathered. Finally, we ended our trek. We got back into our cars and headed towards our regular lives. On route, we stopped by a dhaba for our meal where every one enjoyed a lovely feast and continued our drive back to our city

In summary, Greatness cannot be achieved without mere suffering. Yet, to live what we did for 3 days with unknown folks helping each other to make a memorable event, I would do it any day. Those were really the 3 blissful days of my life. Never have I seen people come together to help each other to fulfill each others dream than their own. I would cherish this for the rest of my live. What have I learnt?

– there are still people who help each other without expecting any favor in return

– what is nature in full form and how civilization of today has abused them

– how to climb mountain

– overcome fears of heights

– Physical/mental endurance

– Team work
– how to appreciate what I have

I could go on more to express and articulate all that I desire from my experience on these 3 days, but I dont want it to lose its essence. So to conclude, I like to express all my feelings with the word THANK YOU (Peter and every individual in the group), although I know its grossly inadequate as a word to express, but thats all what the language can do!

Thanks again and looking forward to see more of the club members in the forth coming treks.

– Ram

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