CTC’s famous Nagala treasure hunt sporting with 5 competitive teams in search for the clues leading to the treasure hidden deep inside the Nagala Mountains witnessed exhibition of the best navigation skills; stood testimony for team building and the feeling of great comradeship. Clues were read, understood and interpreted as meticulously as possible – topography maps were carefully read to plot the latitude and longitude of the treasure point. Trails were daringly taken along the never travelled paths cutting across ridges, valleys, streams, gorges and peaks. I am delighted to share with you the trail analysing, map reading and team work done by Cavaliers of Nagala a compact six member team.
Interpreting the Initial clue:
Our Initial Clue read “N 13 30 28” E 79 49’ 11 - I am standing 30m tall looking into the gorge search near by my base”. We interpreted the clue to mean a tree or a cliff which is looking into the gorge therefore decided that this clue must be plotted on somewhere on the ridge which is looking into the gorge. We quickly rushed to the co-ordinates but were quite disappointed not to see any tree or cliff that was 30 mts in height. Quickly we slipped inside the gorge and discovered a 30 mts high tree although the clue read near by my base even after thorough search we could not find out evidences for any clue only leading to disappointment.
It was almost 2 hours since we reached the co-ordinates but, disappointment and tiredness were the only things that we witnessed and the team decided to leave the co-ordinates and search in the neighbouring areas for the clue – it was then our lucky boy Alwin jumped out of joy lifting the clue from the trunk of the tree completely covered by leaves.
On the hunt for the 2nd Clue to that black and dry 20mts waterfall –
1st Clue which we picked up from the tree trunk read “N 13 30’ 53” E 79 48’ 10 - Hello, I am black and dry, my height is 20m my width is 30m. I shower in monsoon. Climb on top of my HEAD”
The clue was point blank clear that it was a dry 20mts waterfall and the only thing which we had to do is find the co-ordinates and create a quickest and easiest trail from the current location to the 2nd clue. Although we had difference of opinions of the trail that has to be taken finally we arrived at a consensus and decided to take the dry side stream on the eastern side and reach the co-ordinates.
Climbing the narrow honeybees thronged gorge:
If we had to reach the 2nd clue we had to take a tricky, honeybee thronged and a slippery gorge. Brijesh one the senior most and the most adventurous guy in our team took the lead here and successfully navigated the gorge and reached the top of that narrow gorge.
After the clever climb inside the gorge we trekked through the dry side eastern streams to reached the 2nd clue on top of the dry waterfall which read “N 13 29 12” E 79 47’ 05 - We 3 stand apart, near the empty stream, take me out.”
On the hunt for the 3rd clue:
The third clue again had two possible interpretations firstly, three dry stream junction and secondly, three trees standing apart from the dry stream. After braving few climbs, rock climbing and bushes we reached the 3rd clue co-ordinates at around 7 p.m. We decided to call for the day since two of our team members had bad cramps and were not in a position to further proceed ahead. Fortunately, we camped on an abandoned hut, which had decent basic facility like water point and flat surface for camping.
Enjoying the hot noodles watching the full moon on top of us we slept listening to the music of the Nagala birds at 725 mts altitude. One of the finest and peace filled nights of recent times.
We woke up in the morning and picked up the third clue which was kept on the trunk of a tree near the dry stream which read “N 13 29 25” E 79 47’ 40 - I rise from the ocean. I fall from the sky. I flow in between.”
Heading to the treasure point:
The treasure point was one the easiest guesses of all the clues. Since the clue read with the topography map everybody with unanimity whispered it is a small stream on the base of the central Nagala peak. Relishing the early morning chillness and watching the early morning misty clouds we forgot the treasure hunt to be honest and started cherishing the clouds rubbing our skin. The early morning trek penetrating into the clouds and walking along the ridges reminded me of the monsoon trek I did on the Palani hils. In another 45 mins of trek along the ridges we reached the treasure point with the treasure goodies waiting for us.
Overall, a wonderful 24 hours of search for the treasure covering around 32 kms navigating unknown trails with the help of GPS and topography maps was a brilliant hands-on-exercise for aspiring navigators.