Our train arrived at renigunta station at 9:30AM and Chandu and I rushed out to meet the bikers who had been waiting for us for an hour atleast. Ranganathan and Kathernath waved at us the moment they saw and soon we were off on their bikes to the starting point of the trek which was 7 kms off-road to a village called Madhavaram Podu. There were two more bikers waiting for us to guide us (thanks a ton to Peter) and we were fast enough to catch the rest of the gang. We arrived at a spot where everyone parked their vehicles and soon the ration for 3 days of trek was distributed to all. In all the commotion I noticed Peter busily rushing and giving instructions and I went introduce myself. He was the only one in the group I knew from before (limited to Orkut and GTalk). Chandu and I picked up our food which included a packet of thepla, a pear and apple, a water bottle, Maggie packet, Glucon C and D packet and a Cookie combo (Bourbons and Good day Chocó). With the empty cartons tucked inside the cars and no garbage outside the group was all set to start the trek. I felt at this time a small intro or instruction would given to all but it didn’t and we were off. Peter led the group enabled with his GPS and a walkie talkie. There was another piece with the sweeper who ensured no one is left behind. After trekking for 30min Peter realized at a point on the way we had taken a wrong turn and we had to go back 500mtrs. The terrain we were walking was something which I had never imagined or seen. We were actually following a river, if you could call that a river. A complete dry bed of most treacherous rocks I had ever seen. The sun was also not helping the trekkers. Peter was handling this terrain as if it was his living room, walking at brisk pace and I felt even if I jogged I wouldn’t keep pace with him. I overheard people calling him the Mougli of the Jungle. After a while I noticed that that the bag which I thought just an hour ago to be a light weighted stuff suddenly felt as if laden with rocks. The sun was showing it affects and I was feeling thirsty and tired. The sweepers behind were shouting every now and then asking the group to move on and fill the gaps. After a while I caught up with another tired soul (Biju) and we decided we could not take a step forward without resting for a while. After a 15 min breather under a tree shade, we were more relaxed and made a move ahead. The path ahead was no different and we were continuously walking on a dry river bed. After a while we saw small pools of water appearing, a signal that water was up ahead. I had noticed that the water actually was running underground and some points use to surface and then go beneath again. So you would never know up ahead whether you would find water or not. After walking for some distance I heard joyful shouting and scream and for sure knew we had reached a river in full flow, as so it was. A small opening in the stream where the water was as crystal clear as it could get. By the time I reached the place everyone was already in the water enjoying to the core. I didn’t even care to change and jumped into the water with jeans and tees. And what a wonderful time we had. The water was very cold even with the Sun at its full force. After half an hour bathe, came out and by that time people were munching their snacks. Done with the food, Peter gave the command to the platoon to move forward.
And we kept on walking, on and on and on…….All the way the surrounding were something which I had never experienced. Beautiful mountains all round and the stream flowing between them and all the 58 trekkers following the stream. The idea was the reach a waterfall called
With all the trekkers resting for a while, the torch lights were out (chandu had just got one for both of us, a pakka marwadi quality) and we were finding hard to navigate through the thick thorny bushes and the ground full of rocks. After walking for almost an hour, Peter finalized the place for the night camp and all the trekkers immediately started marking their territories and cleaning the place for a night cap. First time in my like I was about to sleep in the jungle, in the open and in a sleeping bag. Chandu and I took some time to remove the rocks around and spread down our sleeping bags. In the meanwhile a camp fire was lit and people started singing and game of UNO also started. I was too tired to move around decided to sleep early. Had a quick dinner of thepla’s and crept into my sleeping bag. It was just around 8 and the sleeping bad already showed signs of wetness from the dew. The sky was clear and chandu and I tried to identify the constellations we remembered from school as the stars which hide in the city from pollution were here visible in full force. Soon feel asleep with occasional breaks in sleep from snoring trekkers who could even scare the animals around.
I was the first one to wake up next morning and looking around saw colorful sleeping bags all around me. Chandu soon woke up and we started discussing the heavy dew which had complete made our lives under the bags tough. After freshening up, saw the camp fire up again (was put out last night to avoid any forest fires) and people surrounding the same drying their wet clothes, socks and shoes. I too went near the group as was feeling a bit clod myself, even though I had a jacket and some gloves which had helped keep me lil warm in the night. After a while the entire camp was up and after packing we all set off following Peter. We cut through some thorny bushes and were climbing down to the river. After half an hour walking through rocks and thorns I started feeling a ting of pain on my left knee. Tried ignoring the pain but didn’t seem working. Soon we reached the river and my pain also was at its peek. We continued the trek and slowly I was starting to fall behind the group. After a while noticed that the group had halted at a place where a very beautiful pool of water was waiting for all the swimmers. Almost the entire group was in the water by now. Kather and Ranga helped me reach the resting place and gave me a pain reliever cream. Resting for a while I was too tempted to sit down and decided to have a dip myself. After swimming around for half an hour most of us came out and had a good breakfast (cookies and pear). Soon the group was all set to move again and the pain in the knee now started killing me. Limping and groaning in pain I tried my level best to keep up with the group but in vain. Indira offered some pain killers which seemed too weak for the pain and it refused to go. I was in such a bad shape that soon the sweepers in the group came up and one of them (Vikram) offered to carry by 10+ kg back pack for me. I didn’t want to give up so easily but with some advice from the others gave my pack to him. I couldn’t thank him enough for that. In the treacherous trek, with his own backpack someone offering to carry mine was something which was something I can never forget. It was almost afternoon and soon limping around and falling I managed to catch up with the group who had halted for lunch. After lunch, Vikram still continued to carry my backpack. We had earlier moved away from the stream and the water with us bit scarce. We were planning to climb up the mountain and climb down to reach the river again. After some really tough climbing (for a first time injured trekker like me) we reached the top of another mountain with a beautiful view of the valley. It was almost nearing evening and the sun was setting down behind a group of mountains far away. We found a nice open area where Peter decided we should camp as it was getting dark. We camped and then because we had less water, Peter and some volunteers decided to go down the mountain to the river to get water for the entire camp. Again a team spirit display which was simply something can’t be taken away from the excellent CTC group. The rest of us started cleaning the place to place our sleeping bags. Saurabh found a wonderful spot and soon Chandu, Saurabh, Mavi, Biju, Apoorv and me set up our bags and cleaned the place. The surprising part was this area had mobile network and everyone was calling home explaining their whereabouts. After I too followed the group and let my wife know I was still holding off in the jungle, I played from Rang De Basanti Songs on the mobile which kept the group going. We decided to have a lil camp fire of our own and soon set up a wonderful fire. It was dark now and we were now recollecting the 2 days of trek and almost each one of us was compelty exhausted and very tired. We just wanted to know where Peter and some of the other trekkers had the energy from to do a trek like this. And for them it seemed a moderate trek and for us it felt as if Nana Patekar was training us like in movie Prahar. We were joking around that if we found a villager or a road we would hitch hike and run away. Even the ladies, Saujanya and Suneela seemed to be searching all around for some method to reach the city (all in good humor). By now the camp fire was up and running and it was the best camp fire around (there were 3 burning around). We had a round of intros and soon were chit chatting about our lives, the jungle, life and even the money counting system at
The night proved to be much chiller than the previous night and it was evident in more wet sleeping blanket and the bon fire which was ideally to be put off in the night still burning and most of the trekkers had made good use of that by sleeping next to it and using the warmth to help fight the cold. I was again one of the first few to wake up and attended my knee immediately. It kind of felt ok and pained only when I was climbing down and was not in great pain while climbing. Soon the entire camp was up and Peter had a small meet of all the trekkers and it was decided that we were still very far from the
Soon all the trekkers were ready and by the time we left the camp it was 2 in the afternoon. I was almost certain that only a miracle could help me catch my train at 8 from renigunta. The pain in the knee was hitting me real hard though I had the pain killer sprays and tablets. We had a huge decent from the mountain I was struggling from the start itself. After a while with each step I was biting my self to forget the pain. Soon the sweepers caught up and gave me a lending hand. Pavan, Karthik, Bhagat, Palani kept on helping me cross each and every boulder. Even with their help I found it very tough to walk. Slowly I tried everything possible to forget the pain and catch up with the group. Karthick kept on encouraging me and pavan and palani continuously supported me. Viki again took the burden of my heavy backpack and Bastein also helped me with my sleeping bag. The area around this part of the trek was again a beautiful setting, with a stream and some really serene and calm settings in the woods. We were earlier thinking that we would not have water anywhere nearby but this bump into a stream allowed the trekkers to go gulp extra water and not worry about the rationing of it. After a while we had a short break and looking at the watch and nowhere close to the civilization I had a feeling I would no way be able to catch my train. Most part of this jungle we were in now had loads of bamboo trees and most of them crushed or broken, which raised some doubts in the minds. Continuing the trek, Peter and gang saw from fresh elephant dung which confirmed our earlier doubts. Peter gave the group rest while he tried to figure out the best way out of the jungle away from the wild elephants. After 10 min he asked the group to follow him and we had hardly gone for 15 min that Peter realized the new route didn’t seem to work and we had to cross the path of the elephants to reach the highway. Now this part we found a Jeep road, probably used by forest ranger to patrol in the forest and the best way out for us was to follow the same. It was just past 5 and it was already starting to get dark. Peter advised the group to avoid speaking or making noise and also the torch lights should be on the ground and no clicking of pics or use of flashes incase we spot wildlife. With most of us unsure as to how long we further need to trek we followed the jeep trail. Soon it was dark enough for the torch lights to be out. Now the one torch chandu had got was drained out of life and we were trying to follow someone who could guide us. Lavanya came to my rescue here. With me finding it very difficult to walk with the pain and the trail full of uneven and treacherous ground she was of great help. She continuously pointed out to sharp, moving rocks and places with thorns. We were trying our best to keep up with the group. Everyone had the fear of wild elephants and was almost running instead of a trek and somehow so was me.
Time ticked by and with still no signs of highway I noticed the time was 8 and I had missed my train back to
In the end, some unforgettable moments, pain, joy, fun and scary moments, this trek is something which was a super moment of my life. Doctor had diagnosed later that I had tore a muscle in the knee and needed some good rest for couple of months. Never did I imagine or think I would be part of such an adventure. The group CTC was so helpful and united that being a member made me so very proud. Made so many wonderful friends in just 3 days. Thanks Peter and others for giving us this opportunity to be part of V6.