Monday, 13 June 2011

Nagiri Exploration

This weekend was one of the most amazing weekends ever. My new found hobby of trekking is fast turning into a passion.
Well, my intern requires me to work on every Saturday except the second and  I had been wanting to go on a trek ever since my first one to Nagala. I was hoping a good one would come up on the second weekend. Well, it did. And what more, it was exploration trek! And it had the names of people in CTC I was raring to meet in person!!
The first day, we climbed up to some 800m to a peak. After many moderately steep climbs and long walks, we got to this viewpoint to have this view.

Then no one was sure where to find water, so we started from there in search of water. Luckily, Peter had some idea on where there could be water, and trekking along for another km or two, we reached a small stream and a super-flat amazing camp-site where we planned to stay the night. We made the fire, had dinner and found places to sleep. There had not been much sun during the day, the views had been simply amazing and we had just found a place with water where we could have a long rest before the descent the next day. I felt the gods had been smiling on us.
Well, in half an hour, the gods just decided to rain on us. Just like that. And it rained like hell. We scrambled under the tarpaulin sheets and were just sitting there hoping that rain would stop so that we could have some sleep. All the clothes were wet and it was getting cold. Finally the rain subsided for a while and before it started again, we had pitched the sheets as tents, put a few sleeping mats together and crashed for the night.
The next morning, the sun shone bright and  a couple of people who were injured the previous day started off on an easy trail back to the base while we started off on another adventure of checking out a couple of valleys. Well, lets just say I am not a big fan of heights. So naturally, I find ascending easier than descending. The decent started normally and was going along well till we reached the valley. It was damn steep and the rain the previous night just made things worse by making the rocks loose. We proceeded along this moderately steep descent till we reached a place where we couldn't proceed along the valley as it was a vertical drop. We had to go along an alternate route.
On both the treks I have been on so far, there is some point where I feel "Damn, why did I even sign up for this". I felt so at this point. This is a very important feeling for me as this is the point where I learn a lot and this is the point where my physical and emotional limits are reached. This is the point where all my fears are at their worst but I still know that there is no other choice but to confront and fight them and proceed forward.
We proceeded slowly along the wall of rock on the side till we reached a place where there was a bit of foothold to climb down. This I don't remember how I crossed. What I remember is that when I did cross this point, I felt I had left a tiny tiny bit of my fears behind. I felt I was a better trekker then than what I had been at the start of the trek. The sense of achievement is one of its kind.
We had reached this spot and had lunch. I learnt that one half of the descent was over.
We started again after lunch and trekked along another moderately steep path till we reached a pool much to the delight of everyone. We had been longing for a dip as it was really hot. After that break we started again and moved a short distance where we came out on one side of the mountain. We had the most amazing view of all the peaks on this side of the mountain.

 We continued to descend along this side of mountain and made good progress with the help of the tall grass. Me and couple of others almost encountered a colony of wasps on a wrong turn before finding a way to get back to the path the others were taking. We reached a stream after the long descent and started following it. I was trailing behind a lot and was beginning to have a head-ache. There was not much water too. I continued along after taking an aspirin and proceeded to reach the trail that would get us out of the forest. Everyone regrouped there and walked further along to come out in the clearing a little further. We had the complete view of the path we had taken and of all the peaks of Nagiri. The trekking was officially over. What remained was a long walk of over 10 kms back to the village where we had parked the cars. We cover that in good pace and managed to reach the village. Atleast that was what we thought. But on reaching the village we learnt we had taken a wrong turn along the way and had reached an adjacent village and that there was no transport to the first village directly. So Peter and Nagin started back on foot to get the vehicles and we sat back and relaxed in this village. We started a couple of hours after that and reached chennai around 11 pm Sunday night after what has been a very adventurous 2 days.
Every trek is just unbelievable for me and here I am, sitting on a Monday evening with almost every inch of my body fatigued and with infinite cuts and bruises on my arms and legs, and still already yearning for my next trek and hoping it would be as good as this one.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Happy birthday to me!! (and to this blog)

    So yesterday was my birthday. I normally don't do much for my birthday. I rarely have any parties, I rarely do something extra-ordinary, and to be sincere, I rarely have a "blast".
    Monday evening as I was cycling back to my hostel from my Intern-ship place (I don't want ot call it "office"), I couldn't help but thinking how my birthday usually falls on a holiday and how this time it sucks that I have to go for work that day. Also, how things are going to be worse as most of my friends are not in station and were busy with their own intern-ships. And things just got worse when my phone started acting weird. Not only did I lose all my contacts, I sometimes couldn't receive calls and couldn't view messages.
    I wake up on my birthday morning with few of my hostel mates wishing me and I start for work. My brother promises me a phone (:D) and I spend almost the whole morning contemplating on which phone to buy. We decide that I would go to Tambaram directly from here and go with him to get a phone. I get off work at 5 and meet Sachin, and tell him we would go outside somewhere for dinner. Then I start to meet my bro, reach there at 6, and 10 minutes later I have this phone in my hand (:D:D:D). Dear bro, you are amazing.. (read as "you are amazing, fullstop.")

    I start from there and call up vaidhee(my room-mate) and tell him that I am on my way back and that as soon as I reach we would go out. I asked him about Sachin and Solomon and he says they are on the way. I reach insti and I call vaidhee, he says they have just started and will take time to reach and asks me to come to room. I reach my hostel and go up to my room. I knock on the door and was trying to figure out how there were so many pairs of footwear outside the door and hear the lighter click. In the next couple of seconds, lights go out and I could see candle light through the window glass. I start smiling uncontrollably and as the door opens, I am greeted by water balloons and sachin assaults me. I go in and see this amazing cake. And then came the candles. As I went near them to blow them out, when I saw sparks in the candle. Knowing my friends I was afraid. I wouldn't have been surprised if the candles had been designed to blow up the cake in my face when they go off. But as Arjun(my other room-mate) urged me on, I blow off the candles and get the knife ready when the candle sparks and goes back on. Wait, what? Some special candles my awesome room-mates have taken pains to find. Well, lets just say that I attempted for another 5 mins to blow them off at the end of which all of us started blowing the candles out for the cake was just too yummy to be just sitting there. Then we start for rain-forest for my treat (for the record, I have never been happier giving a treat).
    This birthday was the *best* birthday for as long as I can remember. Well, who am I kidding, this birthday was the best EVER!! And I got the most amazing friends in the world.