MyAdventures: The Transformation
To be frank, I’m a guy who gets in to jitters just by standing on a 2 feet stool to drive a nail in to the wall (Acrophobia!), and my height adds to the misery.
When I registered myself as a member to CTC a year back, I told my wife my intention to join a trek which was arranged on Sep 20 and 21 2008. At first she didn’t object but later started objecting ! And I got a phone call from my brother- a surgeon- instructing me to improve my fitness level before attempting a trek. Wise and professional advice it was and I accepted reluctantly (happy now that I accepted it then). I started preparing myself by utilizing the gymnasium -which I never visited even after a year of moving in- at our apartment complex. Started jogging and working out on efx , some ground exercises and when I was able to run 2.5 to 3kms continuously I thought I was fit enough to risk a trek (did help me indeed to some extent)! Got the invitation from Naveen for a moderate (!!!) trek and I registered happily.
Started shopping 3 days before the trek -torch light, back pack, sleeping mat- and was anxiously waiting for the day.
The night before was very anxious, getting my vehicle ready, filling the fuel tank, packing the back pack, rolling on the bed and not able to catch sleep until 11:30. I woke up by 2 am thinking that it is 4 and got nicely from my wife for waking her up at middle of the night, silently crawled back in to the bed and slept again. At 4 the alarm rang and there I was, like a soldier getting ready! Started from my place exactly at 4:30 and reached Koyambedu by 4:55. Instructions from the organizers were very clear- travel light and don’t wear shoes which are more than 1 yr old - both of which I overlooked and regretted for that (my shoes almost gave away- not able to bear my weight).
Journey to Nagala:
Vehicles started assembling and the convoy was ready to leave by 5:40 I was instructed to follow the vehicle no 3666 and I over took the vehicle (without knowledge) just after 2 Kms. Waited along the highway for 15 minutes- making Veena anxious since she thought I took the wrong route -and religiously followed the pilot car there on.
We stopped at Uthukottai for some hot pongal and idlis and finally reached the village for parking our cars.
Food was distributed to everybody with clear instruction by Naveen on what to have when, which I registered in my mind carefully (didn’t touch the pears until 12 noon the next day even after it became brown and soft out of the battering and the bruise it went thru!). We started in the hot sun and we climbed the mud dam up and struggled climbing down (later realised that that climb was not worth mentioning). We reached the first pool by around 11:30 and refreshed ourselves by taking a dip in the cool water and got carried away. Finally the organizers started pushing us by shouting “Start guys! We are already late” (didn’t take it seriously and repented for that later).
And from there things started to become difficult, the steep climbs , loose rocks rolling down and only thorny bushes to grab. First time in my life regretted for being sooo tall (which was always my pride). My sleeping mat pulling me back when I try to squeeze through the bushes. When I climbed over one narrow pass, I heard Rekha shouting to somebody “hey ! anga paaruda pambu!”. I was in no mood to get distracted by snakes (if I had been in a normal territory, I wud have sprinted some 200 meters). Later seeing the pictures realized that it is a venomous one (kind of viper -wikipedia)! We filled our water bottles from the stream following the instruction of Naveen to mix glucose and started climbing up the stream. Big boulders, fallen trees, narrow edges, nothing stopped us! It started drizzling and it made things worse, started slipping frequently and once I fell down on my back with a big thud in a comical pose, with my left leg hooked on a fallen tree (luckily the trekkers nearby were not in a mood to click a pic), took sometime to get back on my legs. By now we have already started panting, legs getting weaker, muscles quivering. And finally we reached the gorge and it was a blessing in disguise (gave us atleast 30 mins of rest). And Guru (Spiderman?!) and co took charge, pulled us and our back packs one by one up the narrow steep gap.
After crossing the gorge the climb became steeper. Around 5:30 we started climbing what looked like a peak- I thought it is going to be destination (so greedy I was!)- grabbing the trees and roots of the grass, my pulse rate touching a record high (would have been atleast 160 to 180/min). Battered and bruised with scratches and thorns all over my arms ( Not worth getting worried when we have tougher tasks ahead) I threw myself on the sleeping mat, open sky, sweet smell of grass and vegetation, fresh air, ooooh … it felt like heaven.
I was more relieved to see a faint signal in my mobile phone to message and call my wife to update her on the status (a must to married men like me, where ever you are, in whatever condition you are, don’t forget to call your wife!). Later came to know that we have reached only half way! We had a good rest there since some people where trailing and came late at least by 45 mins after I reached the peak. I had an apple which was surprisingly delicious and juicy (I’m not that fond of apples ), hydrated and energised myself with water and glucose. That place really felt like a paradise.
The night trek
We started around 6:15 pm our final journey to the pool, which became a memorable one for all the thrills we went through. It started becoming dark very fast and our flashlights were out flashing brightly in the dark jungle, we entered the dense vegetation, in the utter darkness we were asked to wait for the last batch to join us and it was already 8 PM. I felt like being part of a thriller movie, LED flashlights flashing around and people shouting to hear from the last batch!
Finally we reached a cliff at around 9:15 pm and we could hear the stream! We were just 50 meters (if we jumped down straight) from the resting place and we were relieved, not realising that the scariest part is yet to come. From there on with the watchful guidance of Bhaskar, Guru , Senthil we inched closer hanging to the roots of the grass and tree shoots. It took us almost 2 hrs to reach the camp site.
The Much Wanted Rest
Many went straight to bed not bothering about dinner, but some of us struggled to light a stove out of the wet twigs and wood we found (thanks to the innovation of Makka, burning the wood with the help of a deoderent!) We made some hot soupy noodle and filled our hungry stomachs. I slept over a wet mat, right over a wet puddle of water (did it matter?!). Had a sound sleep until 7 in the morning.
We got up in the morning with the smell of hot tasty tea awaiting (thanks to the guys who made it) and Naveen started insisting that everybody gets in to the pool (pleasant way to stretch your strained static muscles- Warm up! I strongly believe that was also the intention). Had around 2 to 3 hrs of swimming, diving, acrobatics by Guru, Max, Bhaskar and of course Raja by his underwater exploration (few mischievous guys asking for a repeat)! We finished all the eatables by 10:30 to make our backpacks light weight and started our climb back.
Climb back to the dead end pool
To start our climb back we were greeted with a steep rock wall just besides the pool. The trek back was comparatively easier (even though we had some thrilling moments when we passed through the edges). We reached the dead end pool around 3 in the evening. Brijesh and Guru helping everyone to climb the big rock and ferrying everyone out of the pool swimming (great stamina guys!). I stood on the edge and had no choice but to jump in to the dead end pool (did we have any other choice?!). After pulling me out and while ferrying me to the safety Brijesh asked me “How was it?”
After the last one crossed the dead end pool, it has already started flashing with lightning and thunder which sent jitters through my spine (Astraphobia!). We had a group snap and we started hurrying back. As instructed by one of the experienced trekkers (always keep going with the leading group, you get more rest) I kept moving with the leading group and we reached the first pool around 5:15 pm, did rest for 30 minutes. And again at the first sign of a faint signal on my mobile phone I called my wife and gave a status update! We reached the parking lot around 8 pm and started hurrying back to Chennai to reach home. SWEET HOME (didn’t even mind a flat front tyre which i noticed a km from my home! )
Many would have wondered about title! What has transformed?
Following has for me
From a jittery stool climber to a 90 degree rock climber (my Acrophobia has diminished!).
Realisation on my fitness level and started improving my .
Became more Confident (inspired by the example set by the navigators, even after losing the trail helped reach the destination leaving behind a new trail!)
Witnessed the following with others
Chaya: From a girl who feared getting into 3 ft water to a girl jumping into a 15 feet deep pool from a height of 15 feet!
Overall I witnessed this trek as an example for collective effort, leadership, endurance, perseverance, confidence,thrill,exhaustion………..fun J
I was able to overcome all my phobias only because of the above qualities that was shown by guys.
Hoping to catch you guys in another trek .
PICS (you have to search really hard to find me in these pics, was not in a mood to pose for pics ):
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