Emperor's Nagala Monsoon / Exploration Trek Write up

Written by Dr. Ragavee
After a lot of thinking I finally decided to register for the best trek I have ever been. While packing and planning for the trek I got a call from Arun about Karthik’s birthday plan. We finally decided to get him a cake and do a small surprise. We all started our trip on Nov 20th at the Toyoto showroom at Koyambedu. I was very excited to meet my mates and the van to safeguard the cake before Karthik comes. It was raining cats and dogs and finally the van came. With some small small intros from my new friends we got settled and started our journey towards the base. As usual our accountant Bency did some initial accounting which set a good pace for our chats. First interruption to our chats came when we took a dinner break. Then came the most awaited birthday celebrations and the BLACKFOREST CAKE :P. With few gifts and surprises we continued our way to base. We reached the base camp which was a school giving us good shelter for that night around 1.15am and finally for that day a sound sleep :D.
Woke up with great energy and grabbed our things for the trek with all those essentials and starting our Day 1. There came a beautiful sight of the stream brimming with full of water which was a rare sight and seen only during heavy monsoon. Then came the IRON MAN of our trek Jebin who came in a separate car with cooking pot and some common gears. With a slow pace and good refreshment and some photo sessions we headed onward. We saw the beautiful site of a dam which was over flowing with water…and  froze those moments in our cameras. After walking a few kms we reached “The South eastern pool”. We had a small break and that was our breaking the fast with some bread, jam and milkmaid. There was so much water in that fall which stopped us from climbing over it and made us deviate and go around to reach the central peak . It was a very difficult hike for me but did it with soo much encouragement from my friends. The lead team saw a SAMBAR deer. We reached the central peak hut when Manoj and Bency told that they saw a python which increased our zeal a thousand times. We ate our lunch “aval and pickle” for that day and even had some food to spare for the Mani (dog) which was also a co trekker and was a two day pet for Amalraj.
We found the route to reach the camp-site of that night….THE PICNIC POOL. We started hiking down a very very steep valley and the sun was already going down in a quicker pace. It was already dark at 5.30 pm and we were moving down the valley in search of the stream……… whose sound we could hear at last. We moved fast down to reach the camp-site as soon as possible before the light goes off. But then we realised that we got divided into 2 groups, 8 of us were in the first group led by Arun and Amalraj and 6 of them including probies Manoj, Jebin, Vibin, Karthik, Prabhuram and the newbie Kailash. It was dark and I could see just a plain steep rock, rushing river and few people whowere hiking it, I was obviously scared to climb it, but u know I have to so with all energy left in me I stepped on the rock but slipped fell down but luckily Arun and Amalrajwere there helped meand hiked the rock successfully. After this incident I was told that the stream leads to a waterfalls of about 50m(I am acrophobic)…OMG thank god. With much difficulty we came to the camp-site at last at 9pm. We had little of aval and managed with some biscuits. We were totally outta scope about where the other team was and  Even though we reached the camp safely we were not very happy coz we had only one tarp for 8 of us in that raining & freezing night and the other team meanwhile had no food :L . Me, Arun and Amalraj were not able to fit into that tarp and were shivering in cold and rain without sleep for a very long time. Around 2.30am I got some space to sleep and asusual dozed off comfortably.
Finally dawn came followed by the other team which  gave us a great relief. We jumped into the pool enjoyed with some diving and swimming with a loads of pics and started the next day of our trek. In the middle of all our excitement we had time to have breakfast that was yummy cornflakes. We decided to follow the stream and exit via the Eastern Gate. We were moving downstream and it was basically a water trail and we were very happy as it was new. We tried to avoid the places with more current walking in a zig zag manner helped by Saravanan and Vibin. With the help of rope and guys watching out for danger in currents we crossed the stream then and there but still fell down many times and stood up every time. And there came the gorge but we were not able to go through the gorge due to a  large amount of water so we went around it. Again came the same path and quite a big pool which we ferried . After moving in the same trail we got a warning from Vibin as it was rainy and the current was slowly increasing. So we waited for Arun and Manoj to come and help us to cross. We asked for the rope and it came and we were happy to see the dead end pool which was our lunch point just hardly 100m away. We just started climbing up a few steps to wait for Arun when we felt the current slowly increasing and suddenly it was tons of water and FLASH FLOOD roaring strongly with all the debris rushing with it giving it an image of a BROWN MUDDY MONSTER. And all those sight of dead end pool and everything vanished. We didn’t know whether to be happy for that narrow escape that we had, and  none of us were separated from the team or to be afraid thinking our way back home.
When we looked up we just saw a very steep cliff to climb and fear in all our faces. With enough determination to climb  we planned to go back our way up(coz that was the only way). It was steep, slippery and we where all shocked after the flashing experience. Using roots, branches and rocks with many narrow misses from falling down, finally we reached the grasslands and thank god it was a flat topped cliff. With energy Tang from Ravi Singh we rested there for few minutes and again started climbing in the search of a trail to the Central peak. Aww I started becoming hungry but had only oranges from Keshav, and few biscuits to satisfy my tummy, and few mokkais from Ekambaram to satisfy my mind. We climbed climbed and climbed and finally reached central peak hut at around 7 pm. That was the official time-out for lunch when we had some raw yipeeee, with masala, pickle and the leftover aval which made us realise that we reached the central peak hut, had some chats and then remembered that the van will be waiting for us in the eastern gate, our cell phones had a very faint signal and called the driver asked him to come again to the south-east gate in 3 hours. Then started walking for sometime in search of the trail and hurray!!!!! Found it :D. By  this time many of us have already hurt our legs and were arriving in pain but Then came our episode of moving down all our way again which we climbed initially, which we all did with lots of encouragement that was left in all of us. We were in such great happiness as we reached the plains but due to our empty energy reservoirs we were just not able to express it. After a 2km walk in plains and rains, it was dark and lost our even there but still somehow came across the dam and stream and there stood our destination “THE VAN” . We were on our way back to Chennai with a small dinner break and reached our homes the next day morning and that was our ULTIMATE TREKKING experience……..The best so far……..and hoping for more to come….
 Special thanks to Organisers Arun, Vibin .
Accountant Bency
Photographers Arun and Keshav
And the Teamates for making it such a memorable trek.
See you all soon……… :D.
Ragavee V

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