Nagada mission was a true instance of decoding Darwin’s theory of “survival of the fittest”. This demanding mission torched us in the blazing sun; drenched us in the pool of sweat; sprained our muscles; tore our skin and nailed our flesh; left us with blood stains and even went on to challenge 13 trekkers making them to exit in the 1st and 2nd days. Still nothing could stop the 10 survivors who went through all these turmoil for 3 challenging days and proved the world that “mind can win over body” and CTCians i.e. professionals turning junglies in the weekend can also survive in extreme and challenging conditions.
On the eve of World cup finals were India was camping for its victory the Nagada mission started with 23 trekkers joining from several parts of Chennai on 2nd April, 2011 to complete the 3 days tough mission.
Day 1 – A gist of the blazing sun and the humid weather
As planned we started at 3 a.m and left to Nagalapuram East and started our trek following a stream and soon reached scenic water falls were we had to make a human chain which spanned across 50 meters to pass our bag packs and to climb the slippery rocks. This initial team work which we did ignited the magic of oneness within us.
The sun came out and started to torch us very badly still we found a pool in between gorges of the mountain and decided to have our breakfast there. Few of us dived inside the chill water and refreshed from the heat. Soon we started our trek and started climbing the mountain through a stream which started becoming thinner and thinner in size as we climbed indicating that there is no water on top of the hills.
In the afternoon the hot and humid weather condition’s effect on us was dreadful which made 3 trekkers to part their way out and leaving us now with 20 trekkers and exited safely.
We started our climb after the send off and soon the stream ran out of water and became totally dry and now we had to only depend on water bottled to survive. Every 100 meters trek consumed loads of our energy and was very challenging. Soon we reached the top of the hill which offered us some magnificent views of the Nagala valley; the Dam and villages nearby. But still we had to face the music of the climatic conditions as we were directly exposed to the Sun rays.
From there we started our hiking towards the 880 meters high Nagala south peak which offered us a view to most of the Nagala valley and astonishing views and made us feel proud that we are now at the top most point in the range. The pure and fresh breeze went through our nozzles rejuvenating our souls and refreshing our mind, may be this is the reason why monks disappear inside forest and tent on hills.
After having our lunch on top of the mountain we started climbing down in search of water and heading towards our camp site i.e. the famous “picnic pool”. Soon the march in the dry stream rewarded us with water trickling here and there and quenching our thirst. In the evening we had an encounter with a gorge which had deep water and quickly we had to transport the bag packs climbing over the gorge again the feeling of oneness and with the exhibition of team spirit we were able to cross another hurdle and we headed towards our campsite. Around 7 p.m we reached our beautiful campsite the “picnic pool” and we set our camp fire and prepared and had yummy soup and noodles.
Located in the central Nagala “picnic pool” is a 20 x 20 meters charming pool with a chill water filling the pool which is quite deep and permits swimmers to dive inside it from good height.
The night passed away very peacefully sleeping on the rocks along the stream watching the sky and I am confident that all the 20 trekkers would have been proud of themselves to realize that when the whole of Chennai got jailed in their respective four walls they had the opportunity to sleep on the laps of nature.
Day 2 – Fried in the sun and nailed in the bushes still undying spirits
The early morning rise up and scenic beauty of the forest was impeccable. We started diving inside the picnic pool and taking bath in the falls nearby and few of them enjoying their swimming and floating in the pool. We never thought that this day is going to be one of the toughest days in our lives and going to push us beyond our limits.
We started from the picnic pool and started trekking through the stream and we had to climb up the mountain because of the steep fall and after climbing 50 meters uphill we had to meticulously and cautiously walk on the cliff of the mountain for 200 meters which was terror some and the same time very adventurous. Sun started torturing us again with the temperature going high and making us to us pour and drenching our clothes.
After a very challenging trek across the gorges, streams and boulders we reached the dead end pool of the Nagala eastern entry and slowly one by one started dropping from the mission and the head count went from 20 to 10 trekkers who wanted to continue the trek and the rest wanted to retire. The retiring souls were sent safely through the eastern entry after ferrying their back packs through the dead end pool.
The dead end pool was the last water point and we need to fill in our water bottles until we find our next water source as we head to the Tada range of mountains. The trek towards Tada range of mountains was a very tricky with full of gorges and made us to climb through greasy gorges with much thrill and excitement we successfully crossed the gorges and hit the dry streams. Climbing through these wonderful gorges was a very challenging experience for each and every one of us.
We started our hiking through the dry stream filled with boulders and this stream actually divided the Nagala and the Tada range of mountains. While climbing through the mountains we heard a very loud noise of a gunshot and our guess was probably a poacher was hunting for some wild life. Quickly we disappeared from that place and entered the Tada valley. The sun was out and was scorching us to faint and we slowly started consuming little by little all our water and started trekking on top of the Tada Mountains.
We all got totally drained out since we were trekking in a climate which makes one exhaust very quickly and now we needed water and have to find some camp site to rest for the night. After the light fall we found water tickling in a dry stream and drank it to quench the thirst and we found a camp site on top of the mountain quickly we created camp fire, prepared soupy noodles and started having some brilliant conversations about star formations, trekking etc. etc. I should say that this is one of the best nights in my life lying on top of the mountain looking at the twinkling stars understanding their formations amidst chill breeze after a tiring trek in the roasting sun.
Day 3 – Conquering the Tada peak
The day started with not much target since we had covered most of the distance in day 2. We started trekking down the Tada hills and moved towards the falls before dipping inside two beautiful pools on top of the 200 mts Tada waterfall.
Soon we went on to the cliff of the Tada Mountain to trek along it and witness the 200 mts Tada waterfalls. The tricky trek all through the Tada Mountain was rewarded with beautiful views to the water falls. First time in my life I was exposed to such a wonderful view sitting on top of the waterfalls and watching it sprinkling down and watching the beautiful rock formations on the other side of the mountain. All were simply mind blowing.
After enjoying the spectacular views which nature had to offer to us we started our climb down to hit the Tada main stream. I should confess that it was a very rough and bushy terrain and at times we had to cross stepping on the cliff of the mountain but at the end it was really interesting and very adventurous. As soon as we reached Tada we saw the main Tada water fall heavily polluted with garbage’s and bottles. We marched ahead to hit the gorge pool and swam across to hit the water fall hidden inside it and had some best moments in those crystal clear water and we hit back to Chennai through public transport.
It is these challenging days in life which teaches you to face life boldly and courageously and takes one to higher levels. As my body became stronger in every step I took my mind and inner soul also grew stronger with every view I saw and every drop of fresh water I drank and fresh air I breathe. Life has always been good when you trek and this time it was fabulous memories for me to treasure throughout my lifetime.