My fourth trek – 3 day trek from Nagala west to east.
After the mission Nagada with Peter there weren’t many treks coming up. In the mean time, one of my trekking buddies, Arun Sekhar posted in facebook that he is going to do a Nagala west to east mission on Apr 22nd to 24th. If no one comes too, he was going to do it alone. I liked the sound of that post. I said that I will join too.
Anyway no one else wanted to join us, still we decided do it. At that time, none of us had a GPS(to know the way). To add to our dumbness or craziness we didn’t even care to buy a compass. So we made out a plan and bought food for 3 days. The plan was to start early from regular western entry early in the morning and camp near the 5th pool. Also we agreed to check out the western peak in the free time. On day 2 we will go to central peak, and then take the main eastern stream to picnic pool and camp there. On third day we will exit through the regular eastern entry. The plan sounded perfect..:)
Since there were only two of us we decided to take a Tirupathi bus and get dropped on the way in Pichathur. We reached Koyambedu in hope of getting a bus and it was crowded like anything. All the buses were full, the bus people didn’t reply properly when we ask the bus timings or bus ticket availability. On top of that it was way too hot. Both of us were sweating like crazy. At the end, after enough waiting we got a local bus to Tirupathi. No seats , we had to go standing, though after some time I sat on the floor and slept..:)
At around 2 pm we reached Pichathur bus stand. There was no one else on that place except few drunkards sleeping in the bus stand. We decided to sleep there till we get the first share auto to the village Aree, from where we had to start the trek. With all the tiredness of the night we wanted to have a good sleep, but the mosquito’s over there were like an army. They were biting me, like they wanted to take revenge or something for killing there Tamil brothers in Chennai. After around one hour of miserable trying I realized that sleeping there is impossible. We wanted to pass the time and then we started chit chatting, constantly looking at the time ticking. At around 4 am, a tea shop opened. We went there with our bags and ordered for a tea.
After one hour, we got a share auto to the village Aree. It was just 8 rupees. And when I say share auto dont think that it was full of people. Only 3 or 4 of us were there. We started walking towards the hill with our backpacks. The dogs in the village were barking so loud seeing the early outsiders. We just prayed that, they don’t take a taste of our flesh. At 5.40 am we reached the Aree dam. We continued walking.
On the way we saw snaking having its breakfast. See the pic below.
We decided not to take any break in the 1st and 2nd pool because we wanted to go to the western peak. By filling our stomachs with stream water we continued the journey. At the third pool we stopped for having breakfast. By around 9 am we reached the 5th pool. After a complete sleepless night we wanted to take a nap, so we decided to sleep till 1 pm.
When we woke up in the afternoon the situation was changed. we could hear thunders every where. We kept our bags there under my sleeping mat to save them from rain. With one bottle of water and a camera in a plastic cover we started climbing up. Unluckily we took a small deviation and ended up some where else. The uphill route which we took was another small peak, but without any navigation tools in our hand we didnt had any idea where we were. We didnt want to admit a defeat at this earlier stage, so we decided to climb up more. We thought we will get an idea of our location if we reach the top of the hill we were climbing. The route we took was a virgin route. Lot of thorns and in the middle of the trek it started raining heavily. With Arun’s camera outside we didnt want to trek in the rain. So we sheltered in a small gap between two rocks. Though it saved us from the rain it was crazy. The thunders were making huge sounds and we were scared that if lightning hits that rock structure we will get fried there. Once the rain stopped a little bit, we started climbing up again. With a pumping heart we reached the top of the peak.
From the top we saw another peak infront of us which was way bigger than our current peak. We assumed that its the western peak. By then the rain was again building up so we decided to go down to the camp site. It was getting dark too. On our way back we saw a good trail which we were supposed to take to reach the western peak. We took the same trail to go back to the stream. In around one hour we reached down. By that time it was raining again. We started thinking about making a shelter to save us from the rain. Tried some thing with the big leaves on top of us. I was almost going to give up,getting mentally ready for a sleepless night, and Arun accidentally found a small cave near the water falls where we can sleep. I was so happy. I was so sure that we will be having another sleepless night and here there is a good place to sleep. Thank god. We took our bags there, had dinner and slept there.
In the morning we knew that we will have another tough day in terms of distance and trail finding, so we woke up at 5.30 in the morning. We started following the same stream, up, for 2 hours. After 2 kms we had to climb up to the right which will take us to a small peak. From there we should see the central peak. The plans were nice but after climbing up the small peak we lost our direction. The idea of “lets see sun and find out direction” didnt work out because the sky was filled with too many rain clouds. We went here and there on the top of that peak until we saw the majestic central peak in front of us. It looked like an elephant to me, but Arun said it looked like a ship! We realized our location immediately. We decided to go down to the eastern stream down below us and see if we can find a good route to the central peak.
But when we reached the eastern stream we were like “hey lets skip central peak..” . With picnic pool in our mind we started going following downstream. It was a long route. Around 3 to 4 hours in huge boulders. We reached the picnic pool by 5 pm. We couldnt make any fire because of the rain, so we just took an Orange and slept. Luckily it didnt rain that night. Slept well.
Next day we started around 8 am. We reached the 200m gorge which we decided to cross by ferrying the luggage and swimming. Since I didn’t know swimming Arun had to do the ferrying two times. I swam with the help of my sleeping mat.
In one hour we reached the dead end pool. This time without ferrying we tried to explore another way to circumvent it. We climbed up a little . The path was so thorny. We found that its almost impossible to go down because it was a 10m steep drop. We had two options. Drop our bags down and go left to jump to water and swim across the pool. Or drop bags and climb down the steep drop. Arun took the first option and I took the second one. I have never thanked god so madly like I did that day. It was too risky. There practically nothing much to hold, and at one one time I cant go up or come down. Called God I have never done before and trusted the rock and nature.Finally I made it without getting any injuries. Thank God again.
Once we reached down we took some time to rest. After that with a spicy tasty Dhaba food in our mind, we didnt stop at any further places. We reached the TP Kottai dam by 4 pm. In another one hour reached the village. Ate some tasty 50 paisa bhajji there(I recommend this Bhajji for all trekker who there). Took a share auto to Nagalapuram town. Got a bus to Tiruvallur, on the way someone stole my Woodlands shoe. By 10 in the night we reached Chennai. Had some dinner from Alreef restaurant in Tiruvanmiyur.