After doing a few treks with CTC, this was the one I was looking forward to very eagerly, as it had a lot of thrill and exciting factors filled in. First one which crossed my mind was the fact that this is usually a 2-day trek, which we dared to complete in 1 day. The second was the 'no-food' factor. I don't eat much during treks, and usually prefer just to survive with just chocolates and glucose, so this part didn't bother me a lot, although I knew it would test my endurance at the closing stage. But I sure wanted to give my best.
I've done a few one-day treks to Nagala West with CTC and know the trail to a certain distance, 3rd pool to be precise. This made me a little more confident to do this trek.
So it began when the group of enthusiasts assembled at CMBT. It was around 5 when we started from there after a cup of tea. As usual the road en route Periyapalayam was shattered and we had to drive slow. The sunrise was perfect that morning, unfortunately we could not take a break for a photo shoot as it was getting late and we still had to complete breakfast before reaching the base. Luckily breakfast did not take much time and we started towards the base camp, where we reached around 8.
After distributing the 'lunch', we started our ascent towards, what would be, the ultimate experience of my life. We gathered for a group pic, as we were not sure if we would find time for this later in the day as we usually do on relaxed pace treks. I wanted to assess my stamina and pace, as I was trekking with some big guns of CTC this time and would have to definitely keep up with their pace. It was 9 AM here.
It took just 20 mins to reach the welcome stream and without any break it took another 20 mins to reach the 2nd pool. WOW. This is quite a good pace for me. I had to take a break now, for sure, but not for long. Vadi and Muthu had already started to prepare themselves for a quick shower, which would be irresistible even for people who don't know to swim. Jesu and myself decided to skip pool2 and reach the 3rd to freshen up for the rest of the trek. But I could not keep up the pace, as I had a little too much breakfast, I guess. So I had to rest for a while. In the meantime, Vadi n co had started and both of us reached pool 3 at the same time.
By 10 AM, we had all started towards mini kutralam. From this point onward, the trail was completely new to me and had a lot of expectation in my mind about the 4th and the 5th pools. I wanted to see it for myself, hence did not ask how the pools would like. After reaching mini kutralam, I could not hold myself from getting drenched and wash away the sweat. After a 10 minutes break, we started for the steep cliffs, and there started the real test for me. This is a place I'd have to be really thankful to a many, Durai especially. Unfortunately 4 of our fellow trekkers fell behind before we reached the 4th pool. It was quite fortunate that our mobile still was within reach. Vadi managed to get hold of Senthil, who had reach mini kutralam. He decided to get back there and regroup. So we decided to wait at the 4th pool till they arrived,which gave us some time to spend in the pool.
We still had a lot more ground to cover after the bottles were filled at the last water source, the 5th pool. Durai kept pushing a few of us encouraging we are just a few minutes away from destination, though it never was. As the day progressed we were starting to feel the sun draining out our energy.
Our target was to reach the 800m peak by 2PM. After some tiring effort, we were quite successful in getting there well before time. MAN! The view was inexplicable. Though the sun was at its peak, the cool breeze was so soothing, it made a few fall asleep, including me. We rested for about 30 minutes and gathered for a group pic with the breathtaking view in the background. It was indeed one amazing view of the dam below and that of the entire Nagala range.
By the time we started the return trek, most of us were completely out of water. Things went smooth, until we lost the trail to the 5th pool. Thank god to Vadi, who came to the rescue, as always. Soon after he sensed the trail we reached the pool and quenched our thirst. At a steady pace, we continued the descend and managed to the reach the welcome pool and took a break for a last dip of the trek.
Just about dusk, we reached the base camp and settled the accounts and ended the trek with spicy Andhra briyani.
I'd like to thank everyone who made this trek so lively, especially Vadi and Durai for organising it. I'd definitely have to mention both Muthus, Jesu, Gokul, Vasanth, Sivavarthanan, Rajkumar, Goutham, Satish, Rohith - I so enjoyed your company. Hoping to meet you all in the forthcoming treks.
WE DID IT GUYS!!!