March 4th, 2009
Hey guys n girls, last Sunday I trekked on the beautiful Nagalapuram Hills. Thanks to the Chennai Trekkers Club for organizing this trek. I wrote a blog entry for them on the same & with their permission, I’m repubishing it here for your convenience . Without much ado, here it goes.
I love one day treks & I also love water bodies. Throw in some steep climbs, thorny bushes and 20 foot water slides; you have perfect contents for an ultimate experience; which is what happened yesterday. Nagalapuram is a Pristine Beauty.
About 100 CTCians assembled at Koyembedu by 4.45 AM on a not-so-cold morning. After making sure that there was sufficient transport available, we all whistled and started towards the Heaven on Earth which is named as Nagalapuram. What a sight it was to see more than 10 cars and bikes ruling the early morning roads like an Anaconda.
Soon, we reached Nagalapuram, distributed snacks, lunch etc. and we started on the path.
Initially, we had to walk for close to 3-4 KMs on a path strewn with medium to huge sized pebbles. It looked like water had been flowing through this path few months ago. Then we crossed a dam and posed for the first and only group photo 😀 which had all the members of the trek. After we crossed the dam, we stepped into the forest. The divine greens were a huge difference to us city folks and it immediately made our spirits soar. On the way to the first pool, we encountered small rivulets where we washed our faces and let our bodies enjoy the first touch of Mother Nature’s purest water. It was crystal clear, cool and tasted like nectar.
We reached the first pool. The water in this pool was very clear and cool that no one will ever get a chance to taste something even remotely similar in cities. To the left of the pool was a small waterfall which was the main source to this pool. The waterfall had few rocks which were naturally arranged in the form of a couch. Few people swam to this end and enjoyed the waterfall. There was one more huge rock right in the middle of the pool. Lots of people including non-swimmers climbed to the top and jumped into the deeper end of the pool from here.
Clear water and pebbles
An eeru kuchi (tamil word for a lanky twig) called Rekha got on top of the rock with Peter and Guru. She doesn’t know how to swim. Holding their hands, P, R & G jumped in. Peter surfaced first, followed by Guru. With the force with which Peter and Guru pulled her up, she almost flew for a few seconds making us all roar with laughter. This happened for few more times. Then an adventure!
An awesome dude named Satya wanted to hop along the water bed to reach the other side. In his path, the deepest end was about 6 feet; just enough water to cover our head. On the return journey, our dude lost his balance and did an underwater somersault. I was following right behind him and tried to pull him up. But he was heavy for me and he got on to my shoulders pushing me down. Thank goodness I had my nose and mouth closed. Seeing us, 3 swimmers jumped in immediately to the rescue.
Thinking I was in distress, they lifted me. But I was all ok. Now two of them realizing this, went under water and lifted him by his trouser. As he was nearing the surface all the 4 of us lifted him like we lifted Rekha. He came out of water shaking his head and screamed “I made it!” … We all laughed at that and continued on our journey after an hour of massaging that we got from the Nagala waters.
We never thought more adventures were yet to come.
Forty Feet Deep Pool
As we continued our trek, the next destination was a forty foot deep pool. This pool had to be crossed with all our belongings intact. Non-swimmers were the most dangerous lot. All the swimmers got in first. They made it to the other side of the pool first and transferred the first set of bags. Many experts in swimming held two bags above water and swam across effortlessly like a fish. I was all smiles seeing that. I only knew how to float properly. Silently, I vowed to myself that I would learn to swim like that and also learn the underwater cycling trick.
The Forty Feet Pool
As soon as the swimmers settled, transportation of non-swimmers began. One by one, each non-swimmer held on the rolled over sleeping mat and started kicking their legs. Each of them was accompanied by a swimmer. When we reached the other side, Naresh, Sujai, Mahesh, Rahul and many more guys helped us to find a decent place where could put our hands and climb up the ledge. Did I mention that the ledge was very narrow and it’s just a plain simple drop to the deepest end of the pool if we slipped?
But none of us slipped. Adrenalin was in full flow. As more people got on to the ledges, we formed a human chain to transport the bags being passed from the other side of the shore. The human chain extended to the rocks beyond the pool and all bags and belongings (cameras importantly) were transported safely. This teamwork happened instantaneously with no one telling what to do. When instinct/survival mode takes over, humans naturally cooperate with each other and get things done.
There was a small waterfall between two rocks. Water was rushing & it made me to jump in immediately and get wet. After staying for about 10 minutes there, I joined the rest of the gang in the climb up.
Steep Climb + 1
The Steep Climb
We took some snaps and we were on our way to go. Shortly on our walk, we came to a second pool. There was an alternative steeper route to the top, which we decided to pick. There were no places to hold on to, except some loose creepers and tree roots. We started climbing here. As soon as Satya and I made it to the top, we heard some voices at the bottom. They were wondering whether that was the route we had to take. We smiled at each other and waved at the sweeper gang to follow us. Guru came in first with his backpack. Together, the 3 of us first transported the sleeping mats to the top.
There was no place here except a thorny bush. So we placed the mats next to each other to form a platform; on top of which the trekker’s bags were kept carefully. A nudge would have sent the bags rolling down to a greenish pool below. Soon everybody made it. Our dear Sujai started tearing our ears with his mokkais. I asked “Why blood?” and he replied “Sameblood :D” in typical Vadivelu style.
After crossing this place, we came to another beautiful pool. Diwakar walked in first and depth-tested it. After he signalled that it’s easier to walk across the pool, we followed suit. In the similar manner as in pool 1, we got on the ledge above the pool. Only difference was that this ledge was even smaller. From here, we hopped on to the rock on our opposite. Placing one foot there and another foot in the place where we were, we were climbing in-between 2 huge rocks like spiders. At one point, we saw a big brown crab. As I was admiring its beauty, my foot slipped and I landed right beneath our crabby. Admiration quickly turned into fear. I found my balance quickly and climbed up.
Yay! What a day it had been until now. We even forgot that we were famished. We had some lunch and started on our way. This time, we had to pass through huge boulders by hopping on them. At one point, before I got to know Naresh’s name I tried calling him as “white t-shirt guy”, “white cap guy” etc. Ok we were actually screaming to make him turn. But he didn’t budge. Guru was beside him. We all shouted “Guru” & he turned. We said “Call that deaf man besides you ;-)” and Naresh turned immediately, smiled and asked “Were you trying to call me?” We said, “We were trying to reach your grandpa”. We laughed and continued.
Before long, pool 3 came about. This was a very small one and nothing in size compared to pool 1 and 2. These pools in the wild have the tendency to get deep suddenly. So all of us treaded carefully with bags on top of our heads and walked to the other end. We had a guy named Ashok in our gang. Since he was the tallest and fussiest, he nick-named him as Mama (with dubious meaning 😉 & ragged him. He rewarded our rag by snapping our pictures on his Nikon D-something SLR. I hope the pictures came out well.
After crossing pool 3, we rested for a few minutes and got on one with Mother Nagala Nature. Sujai got bugged at the eerie silence and started to talk. Almost immediately, our ears started bleeding and we were all chattering again. More was coming …
Natural water slide at Pool 4
Peter was with us, listening to all our mokkais and rags. He led us to another pool that was part of another river flowing through the precious Nagala. The river created a medium sized pool at the bottom of a natural 20 feet water slide. All the swimmers took turns to ride the slide and fell WHOOSH!!! in to the water, creating big ripples. This reminded me of the Kone Falls adventure I had. Sujai did the same too; only that water had been displaced 20 feet higher ;-). Many videos were shot at this place. After diving and enjoying, it was time to move on.
Back to first Pool
We trekked for about 30 minutes and then came back to Pool 1. I got excited and jumped in immediately. Many friends from the first gang were already in the water, tempting us even more. We bathed, swam, dived and floated for about an hour and half. Then it was time to come back to the base camp in the same route we had come in the morning … crossing rocky terrain, ledges and following the forest trail.
Pretty quickly, we reached the dam and were on our way. At the base camp, we changed into comfortable wear and started our way back to home sweet home.
I can sense something burning somewhere :D. Probably your stomach? Here are some galleries to add fuel to the fire:
Seriously speaking, I can NEVER forget this Sunday in my life. It was one of the best experiences ever. I know all of Nagalapuram-14 trekkers would agree with me on this.
Thanks CTC. Thank you Dear Nagala. We love you.
Hope you enjoyed reading it … as much as I enjoyed writing it! Thanks.