CTCs 4th birthday celebration on Venkatagiri peak – Emperors Team 3

CTC’s
4th birthday celebration on Venkatagiri peak

Let me just begin by saying this:
never did I dream I would have such fun in this trek….We started in the wee
hours of the morning of 18th Feb. 10 of us crammed into Shankar’s scorpio half
asleep, trying to associate names with faces and not quite succeeding. All
along the way more people and cars joined us, right up to Venkatagiri, bringing
our total count to 29 members in 5 vehicles. Half of us caught up on our sleep
during the drive, except for the poor guys driving the cars. So to give them a
break we took an hour long halt in the fields where everyone took a short nap
and then headed out again to Venkatagiri where we had a hot breakfast of idlis,
dosas and bondas (this is where the breakfast scam happened).
Another hours drive from there and
we found ourselves in a small village where a guide hopped in with us and
agreed to take us to the base of the hill. Half way there we realized the local
GPS (guide) had a configuration error (didn’t have a clue what we were talking
about) so we had to rush back and switch guides. After we parked our vehicles,
divvied-up the common gear for all to carry we set off on the trail, surrounded
by cows, which took us right to the edge of the hill. Looking up, a lot of us
refused to believe that we were going all the way to the top. We thought the
organizers were kidding. No such luck…But kudos to our team despite the fact
that the climb was steep and long and a few of the members were freshers, we
made it to the top through thorns and loose rocks, huffing and puffing our way
through. And all of this was possible only because of the encouragement and
help of the other members especially “Popcorn Masu”, “Scorpio Shankar”
and “Accountant sir Charan” who were there to even carry our luggage
when we no longer could and who gave out yells of encouragement to boost our
morale. We stopped en route a few times; sometimes to catch a breath and
sometimes to eat – to keep our energy up. The last patch was the most difficult
of all but we persevered and made it to the top in record time surprising even
the organizers. YIPPEE!!!
The peak (which I googled and
confirmed is just short of 1000 mtrs, though it seemed much higher at the time)
however was pretty dirty where some of the locals had left behind a lot of
waste after a night of partying. So the team split up; some helped clean the
place up, some others left to collect water for cooking, while the remaining
people collected firewood for the night. Then we spent a good hour admiring the
view and taking pictures of the sunset. As night set in and it got cold,
preparations for dinner began. We had a two course meal of soup followed by
“birthday biryani” (delicious by the way). In the middle of the night
a few trekkers, who later confessed, committed the popcorn scam 🙂 blaming it
on the cold and the snores of a few fellow trekkers for keeping them awake.In
the morning everyone woke up refreshed and in great spirits with tea to start
the day, followed by a cornflakes breakfast with organic honey (yumm!!). After
spending some time bonding and joking around, we started with the task of
wrapping up the gear and cleaning up the camp site. All tasks accomplished we
walked down a different way to a small clearing a few mtrs short of the peak.
The view from this point was even more breath taking. Took a few good picture
from this vantage point (including the yet to be famous CTC human chain) and
then headed back for the base. Some of the guys split from here to get water
for the rest of us (much appreciated).
The climb down was amazing. The
steep and narrow steps were right at the edge of the cliff with nothing much to
hold on to. The trekkers most of them novices, displayed their nerves of steel.
Slowly but steadily we all came down and with just two breaks in between we
reached the base singing and posing for pictures along the way. At our last
break we had a post trek introduction session in true Emperor style with
everyone pulling each others leg and lots of appreciation and laughs.Once we
reached the base and loaded up all the gear and personal belongings into the
cars we headed for town by 5PM to have a late lunch. Initially it seemed that
the lunch was going to turn into a “survival of the fittest” contest
because we were all so hungry. But as things settled down and plenty of food
was passed around, we all had a delicious meal of chicken 65, fried rice and
chicken curry with chappatis. After a stomach full of food, lots of good wishes
for our anniversary (thanks guys), promises to stay in touch and catch up on
FB, we headed back home to Chennai.
Let me finish this by saying that
every scratch, every bruise we endured along the way was TOTALLY WORTH IT.

Aditie Singh 

From Kishore kumar 
 
EMPERORS once
again proved that they are the best. No matter where the place is they make the
trek exciting and interesting. This is my first trek with CTC. I came to know
about this trekking club very recently through my colleague and joined in it
immediately. After joining this club, I came to know that CTC is celebrating
its 4th birthday in Feb and on this occasion they were conducting
some 20+ treks simultaneously in the same weekend. This left me with more
choices to choose my first trek. I want this experience to last evergreen in my
memory so I spent some days reading post-trek experiences from the CTC web site
and finally I chose this trek to Venkatagiri.
Now the Journey
begins …
I called Alagappan at 11:30 pm on Friday, he said that he is
about to start and that he will pick me up on the way (this point is 10 mins
away from my home). So, I started from my home immediately and started walking
to that pickup point. Even at that time so many cars were going on and I was
eagerly looking at every passing car to see if some car will stop near me to
pick me. At the end of 5th minute one car slowed down on the
opposite side of the road and the person in it waved his hands towards me. Finally,
the journey began after a wait for about 1 month. After introducing each other,
we picked Charantej near velechery bus stand and 2 other musketeers at their
home in Velechery and headed towards Guindy. We reached Guindy (opp. Toyota showroom) at
around 12:00 am and slowly everyone started coming. To cut short, after
completing the formalities, 4 cars (Santro, i10, i20, and Scorpio) started our
journey to Venkatagiri. On the way, at around 3:00 am, we stopped for Tea and
then around 5:00 we stopped before Venkatagiri for a short nap.
After a short nap for about an hour (from 5:00-6:00) we
started to Venkatagiri. We reached Venkatagiri around 7:00 am where some more
people joined us making the headcount to 29. We had hot hot breakfast of Idlis
and dosas at the road side shop in the bus stand and started towards the base
of the hill. On the way we picked some local people from the village near the
bottom of the hill to guide us to the bottom of the hill and also to take care
of the vehicles for 2 days. After sharing the common gears and food items, we
started our trek at 9 am. After walking for about half-an-hour in a narrow path
made of sand and loose rocks and covered with thorny bushes on both sides, we
reached the edge of the hill where our guide left us.
When we looked up, there were so many beautiful mountains
standing next to each other overlapping one another. It is a beautiful feast
for our eyes. As we are not sure of which one to climb, each one told their own
preferences. When I enquired the guide, he showed me the tallest mountain in
that area with a plain vertical rock on the top half. I stood in astonishment
wondering how it is possible to go to the top (I was even doubtful if I could
make it to the top as I am a first timer). The initial climb was a bit tough as
the steep path is made of loose rocks and mud. As we were progressing,
breathing became heavy. Since it is the morning time, the sun is doing its part
draining our energy. We took stops every now and then recharging ourselves with
oranges, energy bars, electrol, etc. At around 12:00 noon we covered almost
half the distance and stood at the height of 600 meters. To our surprise we
were standing at the bottom of the vertical rock which I mentioned earlier. Masu
clarified the doubts we had about reaching to the top. To reach the top, we
have to go beyond that rock where there is a way to the top. After having a yummy
lunch of polis, we took rest for about an hour. Around 2:00, we refreshed
ourselves and after taking some group photos and single shots we continued our mission
to the top.
Throughout the trek we walked through the narrow path. But,
till now we felt a bit secure as when we look down, we don’t feel like standing
at a height of 600 meters above sea level as the steep next to us is filled
with bushes and trees. But, the main game began only post lunch. As we were
moving forward, our adrenalin rush started. There is open space on one side
which is going down just vertically reaching somewhere at the bottom and the
other side with flat straight rocks with little or no grip to hold. My God! I
have seen such things only in movies. It was really exciting and it is a great
adventure for me as a slight slip would take you directly to the bottom in less
than 2 minutes. So we placed every step carefully with full concentration focusing
only on the next step and somehow we managed to reach a flat surface and
thought that is the top. But we weren’t lucky yet. By the time we reached this
spot most of us have only empty bottles with us. Meanwhile, Masu our lead went
in search of water while we were taking rest. We were informed that on the top
there won’t be any wood available for cooking and camp fire, we were asked to
collect some dry wood on the way itself. Some started collecting the wood,
while some went with Masu to bring water for our survival and some went to the
top to choose a place to put tent.
On the top, there were used paper plates, remains of
half-burnt wood, paper cups, etc. left by some local people who trekked to this
place a week before. We CTCians started cleaning the spot and made it
client-ready. We chose our cooking area (thanks to the previous trekkers who
left thick dry logs which reduced our workload) and a beautiful flat place to
set up our tent. By the time everyone reached the top, the sun started going
down. WoW! What a marvelous scene from such an altitude. Everyone started
running towards their bags to get their cameras to lock this romantic scene in
their cameras and share them with their dear ones. I was not an exception. I
too captured some nice shots along with others. We took group photos here too.Then
came the main part. After a day’s trekking most of them was almost tired. But,
the organizers started preparing the dinner for the tired souls. Thanks Maasi
and Shankar for the filling our tummys with yummy yummy soup and veg biriyani.
Thanks for accommodating our request and giving a second round for those who asked
for it. We had our dinner near the camp fire set near the tent. By the time we
finished our dinner it is around 9:00 pm. People started dumping the tent with
their tired bodies and were preparing themselves physically and mentally for
the return trip. One sad thing is that some of them (including the organizers)
not got a place to sleep in the tent so they laid their sleeping mats outside
the tent in the cold. Sorry guys! As the time passed by, it was getting colder
and colder and at around 3:00 am it was extremely cold drenching our bed sheets
and rugs with mist and fog. It was like covering our self with a bed sheet
drenched in ice cold water. Still some tired souls (including me) continued
their sleep with those bed sheets. Only at this time 2 scams happened
side-by-side which came to lime light the next day.
Most of them got up around 7:00 in the morning (the time
most of us usually wake up at home). Again cameras started clicking the sunrise
and the 3600 view of the surrounding mountains. The tea was ready by
this time and everyone started sipping their tea sitting at the edge of the
mountain enjoying every inch of the natural scenery. After having tea everyone
went to attend their nature calls. After freshening themselves everyone started
packing their belongings and common gears and got ready for the return journey.
We had our breakfast of corn flakes with milk and honey and started our return
journey from a different route. Some volunteers went to get water for all of us
while others continued their downward journey. The return journey was a bit
easy but looking down from the narrow steps ran a shiver in the body. Yet, we
continued moving steadily. We had a self intro session in the mid way where the
now familiar people were telling about them and their experience. We reached
the parking spot at around 5:00 pm. everyone was happy that they have completed
the near-difficult (Moderate+) trek successfully.
We then moved to a nearby dhaba to fill our tummies with
delicious food where we came to know that Ankit and Aditi are celebrating their
anniversary. Thanks both of you for the treat. After emptying the hotel we
trekkers parted saying that we keep in touch through Facebook. The best part in
this trek is that no one seemed to be a stranger to the other. Everyone was
friendly, helpful, and caring with one another which helped us to complete the
mission successfully.
KUDOS to everyone!!!

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