Weekday Morning Trek & Night Camp WRITE UP – Harikumar
Where it started?
I have always been intrigued as to where around Chennai an overnight camp/ trek is actually possible. After close to 6 years of regularly irregular CTC treks, the conundrum really picked my mind. I finally got my opportunity to explore the idea on February 7th 2017.
For someone who is used to gathering at the famed Nathan’s cafe at Koyembedu, Guindy metro station was a new starting point. Apparently that meant Alandur metro station. After innumerable dropouts and several calls, it was decided that I will be picked up at Velachery check post. There I met four new friends – Sujith the robotics man, Dinesh our driver who is into food processing, Mahesh the photographer who is also a graphic arts designer and Rahul the grocery supplier who is multi level marketing. After picking some bread on the way, we picked our way through the south Chennai traffic to reach VIT Chennai at about 8 pm. As against popular opinion, the trek wasn’t surely inside VIT and we were to gather some 50 meters away from that entrance.
Reaching our destination
After a mini conference at VIT Location, it was decided that one of the bikers Prasa would lead us to the camping spot. Off we went on unknown roads further south from the Vandalur Kelambakkam road to roller coaster our way to the camping spot. After about half an hour negotiating blind pits and bumps, we suddenly realized we were climbing a bit. The signals on the phone started to wane off and soon we hit a dead-end. Or so we thought. We had actually reached the camping spot. We cleared some trees and started to set out our camping gear all about a flat space perfect for camping.
We had empty cans to get water and couldn’t start cooking straight away. But some of us had water in our bottles and we cleaned a few knives to start cutting vegetables. We had to cut onions, carrots, potatoes, green chillies, cauliflower for the vegetable biryani, onions and green chillies for raita, more potatoes for side dish and some of the others got into readying some chicken for the barbecue as well.
Srini, our chief cook was overseeing the proceedings and our organizer, Vanathi, in spite of all the halla bulla, managed to collect the meager cost of 200 per head from all of us. Some innovative dum biryani cooking and a splendidly weird potato, cauliflower, bread and onions gravy (over seen by Poo Kadhirvelan I think) were highlights from the cooking. The biryani, raita and potatoes were all finally ready by about 11 pm and the chickens were grilled as well. Soon some of us had “early” dinner ahead of others who had gone to fetch more water and got into getting ready the bread halwa for dessert. Finally by about 12 midnight we all had the tasty halwa cum payasam and hit our tarps for the sleep with the organizer promising to wake us all up at 4 am for the trek.
We got up only at about 6 am and then quickly in about 20 minutes managed to dispose left over food, collect trash, pack our gear, even attend nature calls and set out for the trekking spot. We reached the spot at about 7 am and began the trek earnestly through a jeep trail in between bushes. Soon we hit a road and followed another stone-filled jeep trail that lead into the hills. Soon in about 40-45 minutes we reached the peak view point and gathered for a group pic there. The view of man-made quarry lakes was a sight to behold.
Way back to City life and realizing the previous night
The trip down was fast and by about 9 am all were set to go back to their lives in the concrete jungle wondering if they should simply take the day off and savour the events overnight or face some serious work.