A write up by Sundhari Thevar.
It all started of as a birth of an idea. Born in the minds of the evergreen CTC team.
May 18:3:30 A.M-A planned team of 50 members ready to leave to Nagala to explore the untrodden trail of east .There were 7 dropouts in the last minute. Plan Bs were rapidly being made on the spot.
A group of 43 excited teams members gathered at the base of the hill at around 5 a.m.The food items were all gathered at one spot.Breakfast consisted of Sweet poli and coconut balls(We are still in search of an answer as to why coconut balls?)The bag’s were weighed and common food items like milk powder,Sugar,glucose were stashed away in each others bags alongwith each ones share of apples and oranges and the very staple diet on a trek,Snickers.
We started our ascent amidst a very animated audience who were just trying to figure out what in the wild were such educated ,well groomed people wanting to go up a mountain.
Every one was filled with food,chatting away to new members ,introducing each other and not to miss out ,energy personified.
Slowly the heat started to rise,with every increase in altitude ,there was a decrease in energy.However as the saying goes,the peak was far away and yet to be attained.No one said the journey was a bed of roses. It was a walk for almost an hour before we stopped by a steam to refill water and take a breather.No one was talking now. Saving up all energy for the climb that resumed. Another long haul of walk we were rewarded with this beautiful scienic view that is always depicted as heaven in most of the movies.
Clean sparkling water ,birds flying around and a place carved out to rest.It was time for a short snack. Each one ate what he/she could get his hand on.Snickers,apples,oranges,left over coconut balls and sweet poli(eeks!) This was the base camp for the basic group.
This was the point many were to tale a decision if they were to continue for a further act of will and skill or if they were complaisant with exploring the spread of the heaven look-alike.Peter however wanted to go ahead with the complete group and then have them make up their mind enroute .
20 of the 43 did not want to take the peril.Another option was provided to the 23 members if they could make it to the top.2 dropped out and made their way back to where the basic team was located the remaining 21 members made their way to the top.
A clear destination in mind ,desire to attain the peak and anticipitation to see all the sights that Peter tempted us into .
Heat was getting the worse of us. It apparently was the most the hottest day of the year that day!!Sweat dripped !Legs started to ache!Thorns tore through some of our legs who had decided to wear shorts due to the heat!We were about three hours away from our lunch spot. The urge to reach and rest pushed us further the trail.
Trail made by CTC coz there was no trail. It was a virgin path. Never a second we could plan on what to expect, Sandy paths caved into bushy ones. The bushes were intercepted here and there by thorns. A few kind members managed to inform the people coming behind while the rest were too tired to say anything at all.
As in every trek we had one member who was exhausted to the extent of wanting to be left alone in the midst of nowhere.Team members encouraged him to move on. Peter had to slow down and help the member .We then met a few localites who informed us that we were just short of our lunching site.
We mustered all the energy we had and started the trail again.It was around 1 p.m we reached the spot of camp for the afternoon. There was no stream anywhere around to be seen.A few volunteers ventured further deep down to uncover a stream where water
trickled at the rate of 5 drops a minute!All bottles were provided to these kind hearted souls when the remaning group crashed down to rest. We rested for two hours .Every nerve in the body cried for relaxation.
At around 3 the call came in to carry on again. Another 5 minutes of rest felt could make a difference but obviously would’nt .The team gathered up their lighter bags and heavier stomachs!!Food was well eaten.
We started the ascent to out camping site for the night.The forest was not in the least courteous to this tired,sweaty adventuress heros (and heroines).She thrashed us with her wrath.We braved our way to the top and reached the next resting location .It was getting a little darker.No water was found here.There were two options.Option 1-3 hour trek to the temple and the very famous waterfall or a 45 minute trek to another camping site and then an early rise and trek to the temple.
Vote was taken.Everyone’s heart wanted to reach the temple.The bodies did not support.We all opted for the shorter trip and rest.Started our peril with a little diminished light.A few of us were trailing behind and finally managed to catch the group which had found the camping site.
What luck.The stream had dried out.We were informed that Peter and Jeevan and gone out to find a water source.We waited for almost an hour and did not see the return of them.A few other members ventured out looked for the members and water.They found neither.
We gathered all the water we had as a group to get around 6 litres in total.This was crucial for our trek back the next morning.We could not cook dinner!We again ate the left over snickers.apples and oranges .A fire was built and everyone spread their gear around to rest.
No one had the energy to talk.No one had the energy to even feel depressed that there was no water.All bodies had gone to sleep.We were not worried of wild animals as our stench would have scared the hell out of them.
Morning 5 a.m-Movement of the tired souls started. Still no sign of Peter and Jeevan.An announcement was made to start packing.The idea was to reach the site that we had camped for lunch.Our closest water sport.
The 3 hour long peril started. Exhaustion without water was even more nerve wrecking.Water was provided to all in measured quantities.Lemon with salt was an alternative to water.As we moved we were informed we had taken a detour.Hell!!That was the worst that could happen in this situation. Still the team did not give up.We gathered our strength and moved towards the right direction. Alas we reached the spot where we had the trickling stream.!!The smiles returned to everyone’s face! Again volunteers went down with bottles for the group.Some followed suit who could not wait for them
to come back.This is when Peter and Jeevan made it back to the site.They had walked without water and food and had assumed we were following. So much for miscommunication. They ate a mouthful and went over to the water space.
Breakfast was prepared and people were fed with Kelloggs.The first decent meal from the time we started.Kelloggs never tasted this good.Ravi helped prepare some tea.Heaven land back again. People freshened up with the water. We were ready to leave again back to meet the basic group. We reached the stream around 2 p.m and was just in time to catch up with the basic group who were flaunting around less meaner grounds .They looked all well fed and more healthier than the advanced group.A swim in the stream and chilling our body and mind,thought went to food.We just then realized the two members who had opted out from advanced never made it to the basic.In fact they took an auto and went Home!!
Lunch preparation started.Lunch was Maggie ,Sambal and Eggs(Rice and a coconut curry preparation)- Thanks to Ravi and Shyam.Shyam had actually saved those eight eggs without a single breakage during the long overhaul.It was so hot we actually feared that the eggs would hatch midway!!Fortunately we were able to eat them for lunch.
The advanced team then headed further upstream to the waterfall.The path was completely bouldered and some struggled to make it through swiftly.Once back the team made their way back to the base by around 5 p.m.We were loosing light,however the path was light by the moonlight.The two days trek was now taking a toll on every body.Speed reduced,legs cramped up and body got the better of the mind.Will power to move died.Every now and then the trekkers rested.
At around 8 p.m we finally sited our cars.All people were accounted for and payments made. We planned to stop on the way for dinner .The group was large so a few halted at a place which served
limited food.The remaining moved to another hotel and ate like they had never seen food in their life.
It was finally around 12 p.m when everyone was in their homes ,safely in bed. A nostalgic feeling of what surpassed. A trunk load of wonderful memories. Everytime I fill my bottle in office with water my mind automatically wanders back to the stretch we did without any water.
Would we do this whole thing again with all this hardships?
Hell! Definetely Yes. Again and again and again..