NAGALAPURAM TREK (February 11th & 12th)

NAGALAPURAM TREK
(February 11th & 12th)
Write Up by AJAY,

Before I
start this write up, it is always worth to look up to this particular quote
which says,
 “Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain
path with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth
Westheimer.
These are few
little things that make a lot of difference in a person’s life and in the end
these are those little things that 20-30 years down the line still remain in
our memories. One of this began with this trek which I am going to share of all
our experiences together and how beautiful it was set up.
First of all,
I would like to thank the Chennai Trekkers Club for having organized this trek
for all of us and their guidance throughout the trek never went unnoticed. Like
me, there were few others who were going to trek for the first time and it was
indeed getting exciting to experience one in reality.
We started at
4am from Koyambedu on Saturday early morning and set our ride towards
Nagalapuram Hills which happens to be approximately 90 km drive. We stopped by
on the way to eat some breakfast and continued our journey to the hills. The
drive was extremely pleasant and once we entered the Nagala topography, there
seemed to be an aura of calmness which clearly showed how close to nature we
were getting ourselves. Far away from the busy cities and chaos, this seemed a
wonderful start to what was going to be an eventful trek.
The weather
was ideal for a trek, and I could see passionate trekkers who just couldn’t
wait to get started with this adventure. So, here we go, we all gathered our
food supplies, segregated to each other and we set up for a fun filled
adventure ahead. There was lush green forest around us with a lake and sun
shining on us really felt a fantastic start to a trek. We traversed through
thorns, bees, insects, rocks and the trail really helped us get our way into
the hills. I was thinking, ‘Wow, this seemed really fun’. Around 30 minutes
went by and then started the steep climb upwards and I knew that there
definitely was a big test coming up for the new trekkers to face off with
adventure.
THE FIRST POOL


Our first
stop came at the first pool, and everybody was excited to have a jump in to the
pool. I felt like I really needed a dip into the pool even though I have to
admit the night before the trek I fell ill. But, it was important all of us
enjoyed the occasion and there we went swimming, clinging onto whatever we
could at the pool. Few of us had flare for diving and others just enjoyed the
chill stream of the pool. It indeed was refreshing and felt really good to have
a dip. It was for everybody to enjoy, even the non swimmers could dip in and
have a swim and enjoy the fresh water. It was a refreshing time that we had and
then we again set up to move forward in our trek.
We had to
face some really testing terrain and it was a lot of fun for all of us walking
together to reach a common goal, ‘The Picnic Pool’. So, we kept going and many
of us had a trip/ slip here and there for the other’s delight. We had a good
laugh all together and continued our trek. The stream kept coming along with us
and the whole environment was refreshing.
A special
mention to a dog which we happened to find in the starting point came along all
the way with us every step. It was really fun to see it cherishing the walk and
brought few smiles to people around.
We neared our
next stop which was named as –
THE DEAD END POOL


It is quite
interesting how this name came up, as it speaks about the previous trekkers who
came until this spot and then found there was no way to go further. They used
to assume this was the dead end. Only for a set of people who found a way out
to go ahead and clear their way ahead of the dead end pool. It has these huge
rocks that mesmerises you and makes you wonder how really we are going to get
through them to the other side. We showed good team work and had to clear off
all the baggage first in order to make way for each one of us to swim our way
across to the rocks so that we could climb up.
I would like
to refer to the first quote I said earlier in the beginning of the write up,
that ‘Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path with lots of rocks. But
it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth Westheimer.
This is what
we are, and this is how we are tested. It is one goal, and everybody has
different purpose in their lives to accomplish it. For some, it is a routine
bread earner, for some it is a routine trek that they share as their passion,
for some first timers it is one whole new experience to wonder how it is done,
and for some like the lil dog, it is its path to happiness and its sole purpose
of getting food from us. Each one of us have a purpose to live and work hard
towards the goal, it’s now we reach it is what we are tested.
At this
juncture, I would like to apologise to all my fellow trekkers for the less help
I could offer to all of you, though I gave the best I could. I was ill from
home right before we started the trek, and I was really pushing myself forward
slowly to get this far. I absolutely didn’t want to miss the trek due to
illness, and thus I wanted to face off with how far my body could take me and
give it a shot.
A special
mention to Bala, Prithvi, and Surya for all the assistance they gave to me and
all others. In the end, it was all of us together that really got us this far.
Thus, it was the whole teamwork that got us this far across the dead end pool.
So, here we
are having crossed this no longer called ‘dead end pool’ and I look right at
the creek and wonder, how on earth could I’ve ever crossed that. I am sure many
other first timers would’ve guessed the same.
The group
deserved a good rest and we all sat down cooking for lunch. Well made egg burji
along with the Chapatis that were served to all of us earlier. A special
mention on Bala who carried 60 eggs all the way in his hand and ensured it was
in good condition for a good supper.
 Many had dreams of catching fish, but it went
in vain after few trials. So the wait went on, and meanwhile everybody had a
really good lunch. We had got sweets for the whole group, and it was
distributed to everybody.
We enjoyed
the trek all this while, and then came the real test for me personally. My
fever soared high during this time, and at one stage it really made me wonder
if I was a luggage to everybody and was it better off for me to stay back, or
do I push myself to limits now that having gone this far, it surely would make
the feeling sweeter to reach the end.
So, I decided
the latter and we took off further after a good rest towards the trek.

THE BECKONING HILL

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Aha!! My
favourite- Heights!! O boy, when I saw all of us set up the hill with the steep
climb I knew there was a lot of hard work and some scary moments for me ahead.
We basically were trying to find out if there was a way out to the other side
by climbing this hill. The hill truly was calling us, and we kept climbing up
deeper into its peak. I am personally scared of heights, and my legs have been
cramping continuously due to less immunity because of my illness. This got me
worried how would I face the fear of heights, and also bring in a sense of
confidence in me that wherever I step my foot, that wouldn’t fall.
I would
really like to appreciate the patience shown by the group during this phase, as
I was kind of slowing down the pack due to my fear for heights. I would like to thank each one of them who
helped me in this juncture and pushed me forward step by step.
We climbed
right up, and then it was a downhill which really got me scared with a small
trail of space and the gorge below. Though took me a little time, but all of us
did it finally and we climbed our way down the rocks and reached flat ground.
That was a sense of relief for all of us. I would like to thank Surya for
pushing me through this, to Prithvi who volunteered to carry my heavy bag; it
helped me a lot as I could just focus on getting myself down with less weight
on my back. To Bala, for having shown us the way step by step and to few others
who accompanied us on this hill whom names I am unable to recollect. I really
thank all of you for the support of sticking together.
Finally, I
faced my fear- HEIGHTS! I felt really good and again wondered how the hell I
could’ve ever done what we just didJ.  The
beauty of the gorge was there for all to see.
We set off
our trail once again towards our final spot, by walking by the stream once
again. It was a long 40 minute walk that took us through streams, and much more
streams and rocks around. We chatted our way and kept going, and my tiredness
was taking a toll, but I knew the Picnic pool was nearing and kept telling
myself to keep going.
THE PICNIC POOL

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We could see
the picnic pool right in front of us around 400metres away. 2 choices, either
swim our way to it, or again climb up a small hill. Many swam their way across
and some took the hill, and finally we landed at the place. It felt great
having got this far. Quickly everybody set up to have a swim and have lots of
fun. Cooking for the night dinner was well under way, as at night it just gets
pitch dark.
We had a
lovely waterfall coming right from the hills and splashing down to the pool
where everybody just seemed to enjoy their time. I was sad I could not swim
much throughout the trek due to my legs cramping a lot. But I had a dip here
and there which felt really good. We lit the fire, and started our cooking.
Meanwhile some decided to get a well deserved sleep. I was admiring the way all
were sitting and speaking their heart out. I wish I knew Tamil this well that I
could speak just like how they converse, thought it felt really good to see the
blokes enjoying their time J
We made Besibelabath
and carrot halwa, and both the recipes were tried in 3 versions. The Besibelabath
had few feedbacks and we quickly corrected the same in the second version and
everybody ate stomach full. The 3rd version of besibelabath was
prepared which was eaten the next day. The carrot halwa though was stuck in the
first version for the whole evening J but, credit to all the guys for trying it out
though. They started making it from 6pm and finally by 11pm it was ready and
the halwa was a treat to eat.
 In a place where food supplies are less in
numbers, the guys did a good job of supplying food for everybody. Some guys
tried their luck to get a big fish lingering around in the pond, but in vain.
The night at
the picnic pool was simply breathtaking. As we lie down, we could hear the subtle
stream flowing downhill in front of us, the moon looking as bright as it ever
was, and the stars gazed upon the twinkling sky. Mountains all around, this was
a moment to cherish. Add this up with the fire flies flying around, these are
what hard work and a lot of courage brings us to.
We took a
moment to cherish Mother Nature right beneath our feet and a sense of
satisfaction that we all accomplished together.
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THE RETURN
The next day
as we woke up to the sound of ‘fish’ being captured, everybody was excited and
found we had fish fry being made. Everybody started working towards it, while
some took additional rest. We had a nice Kellogg’s for breakfast and I tried a
bit of the fish fry, and it was time for all of us to get ready and set for the
return back to the base. Meanwhile, many took to the waterfall and dived to the
pool with an amazement of us watching the same. It was really nice to see all
of us having a good time.
I would not
dig deep and explain the return, but will stress on the place we came to where
we had to decide on whether we take the hill once again on top or there was a
another way of climbing down a wooden log about 8ft down, and then a further 8
ft rope tied down to the below gorge. It was fun, and we all got down one by
one, and swam our way ashore. Then on, it was a walk all the way towards the
starting point. We stopped by just before the Dead end pool, and had a good
lunch with chapattis, rice and a lot of mayonnaise adding to the taste. Took
good rest, and recharged our batteries for what was in store of getting over
the dead end pool.
One by one we
started unloading ourselves to the other end of the huge rocks, and then it was
for all of us to jump down the huge rock down to the pool below. The expert
swimmers were waiting for us. So we did one by one and it was good fun. All the
baggage’s were unloaded and swept ashore in dry land, everybody was fine and it
was really good to see no serious injuries were suffered. In the end, we
deserved a nice group photo at the starting point and we slowly walked back to
our mini bus that waited for us.
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CONCLUSION
I will
finally conclude by saying that it takes a lot of hard work – mentally and
emotionally to accomplish such tasks. The best part of this was that we lay
down the challenge of this adventure, and we set out together to achieve it. We
definitely did not have lush grasslands below us giving us an easy ride; it was
hard rock, sand and a lot of effort to climb our way towards the hurdles that
we crossed. 5-10 years down the line, we will still be talking about these days
as this is when we were remembered for having enjoyed the adventure
wholeheartedly.
I would thank
one and all for all the support they have given to us and to me personally for
all my illness. We will meet again in our next trek and am sure that time I
would be in a better shape far off from any illness which would allow me to
enjoy the water, streams more, swim along with all of you and socialise even
more. I shall now copy paste the quote I have used as a base to this whole
write up, as it does speak of what we are and how can we relate such
experiences to our day today lives. J
“Our way is not soft grass; it’s a mountain path
with lots of rocks. But it goes upward, forward, towards the sun.” – Ruth
Westheimer.
Thank you
Bala and Prithvi, Surya and everybody else, to the organizers for organizing a
lovely trek, to each one of you who were present, to the lil dog which
accompanied us throughout the trek and went back home stomach full of food, to
the Heights that scared me, but not for long as I worked myself through the
fear and faced it head on! To our drivers of the mini bus who took us up and
down and mingled with us.
A big thanks
to Chennai Trekking Club, and I once again wish all of you well and let’s
continue to have many more treks to come.
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