My first trek – Nagala western entry on March 12-13 2011
I was really feeling bored those days. Working at home, and when I dont have a work I just browse net. I know, it feels so lifeless. To break the chain I wanted to do something adventurous like trekking.
I had zero experience with trekking at that time, so I decided to get some experience in Jungle tactics. I looked for some place where I can trek or some group of like minded people. And I found Chennai trekking club (CTC) website. I was so impressed with their photos and blogs that I decided to join a trek with them as soon as possible.
Sometime in Feb last week I got a mail saying there is trek on Mar 12th and 13th to a place called Nagalapuram(a village in Andhrapradesh). The trek was organized by a cheerful couple Shumon-Sucharitha. It was supposed to be a freshers trek, so I joined immediately. Since I was a beginner I was worried about how I am going to do in the trek. If I cant walk or climb because I am tired then I will getting in the way of others. And thats the last thing I wanted. So I started jogging to make myself more fit. Its funny when I think about it now.
The trek participants had to put an advance amount of Rs 700 to the organizers bank account. I was amazed at how less expensive it is. Normally if you spend a weekend in Chennai you might end up spending more than this.
I didn’t have any trekking gears at that time. So I went to Roshan Bag mall at T Nagar to get a backpack with waist support , a woodland shoe(which they said is good for trekking, but was the worst ) , a sleeping mat ( a thermorexin sheet which you can get many shops in Royapettaih ) and a LED torch for night trekking. I felt good at looking all the camping gears I have bought. I said to myself, from now on my life is gonna change.
Saturday early morning 55 of us we started our journey from Chennai to the base of the hill. We came in a hired bus. The bus will be parked in the nearby village named Aree till we come back from the forest. We took our breakfast and started walking. Initially there were some village trails and then followed by a jeep trail. Soon we reached the first water point, I mean a running stream. It was pretty nice and I could feel my heart beating fast with happiness.
After some amount of walk we reached a pool. Some experienced guys said that its called the first pool. It was a medium sized pool with a small waterfall at the end. Everyone started jumping to the pool. Even non swimmers jumped to the pool with their sleeping mats( they are used as floaters in water). Seeing them I too jumped. Oh god, it was so much fun. Chill pure water, in the middle of forest. I knew I was getting addicted little by little to this amazing experience. After some time we got out of the pool and started walking upstream again.
In some time we reached another pool named second pool. This was better than the first pool, and I like calling it as the non-swimmer’s pool. It has a fairly good shallow region where all the non-swimmer’s can enjoy without the mats. Even now when I go there I practice swimming in this pool. Its simply amazing how nature has created all these pools.
After enjoying for quiet some time we pushed ourselves to the third pool. This was a bigger pool and was pretty deep. As a non-swimmer I didn’t stay too long in water. And the clock was ticking too, with a major part of the trek remaining undone. We pushed ourselves and reached another water falls in half an hour. This was called the 4th pool or Mini-kuttralam falls.
Without much break, we continued walking, or trekking. I would call this part as the start of trekking. It was a medium steep climb to avoid the water fall. Everyone got really tired after this climb. There was a light trail, but for freshers that was a difficult climb. After reaching a good altitude we walked on the ridge for some time and climbed down, back to the stream. I was happy to reach back to the stream. From there, in 30 mins walk we reached the next pool called 5th pool which was our camping site.
As a pool, 5th pool is not that attractive. But it had some good flat spaces for camping. Our strength was 55 and we badly needed some good place to crash for the night.
In the mean time few people like Vadivel and others started cooking. Our dinner was Maggi Noodles with some vegetables. I was surprised at how tasty it was. After food, some people climbed up little bit to find a good camping space while others including myself stayed near the 5th pool. The night was cold, but I managed some how with the thin blanket I had.
In the morning we saw Peter and his Ex5 team coming from upstream. They were exploring Nagala east to west. That was the first time I was seeing Peter. After having some noodles, he said that he is going to western peak and he is ready to take a small interested group with him.
I really wanted to trek with him. But I was scared. Other people in the group where saying how fast he will trek, and how we have to come back if you go with him and so many other rumours. Anyway at the end I decided to join him. He was indeed fast. But he stopped at regular intervals to make sure that people dont get lost. He had a GPS device with him, which he used to check the route. At each regroup point he said how much more to go to motivate us. And that helped too.
After 2 hours of climbing we reached the western peak. I was reaching the limits of my stamina by then. I realized that I have a long way to go. We could see the entire western parts of Nagala from the top. After spending some time there, we started climbing down. We didnt had any water and everyone was so thirsty. As Peter says trekking is really a Mind over body game.
We reached back in one and half hour to the 5th pool. Followed the same stream back to the village. And there ends my first trek..:) My life was changed by then. I decided I will go for trekking every weekend and make my life alive!!!