Feb 18 -Saturday
On reaching Palani bus station around 07:40AM met Peter, Venkat, Simon, Suneel, Vani and others in Hotel Deepam for breakfast. Van dropped us by Paalar dam by 09:00AM. Trek kicked-off, we are into jungle-forest terrain. kept trekking till 02:00PM or sometime where we drenched our tiresome heads-hands-legs-bodies into small amount of water falling from a rock. This was very refreshing where folks had lunch. Its just a brunch with teplas and to wet our dry throats. Trek continued for another 2 hours or so until we had to cross a huge-steep-heavy boulder which just had dry grass to hold on & absolutely nothing else. With heart in my mouth, continued uphill at the end of which sight of AMLA(Gooseberries) quenched our thirst. Also the sight was too good which made us click some snaps & spend time there. Peter went to look for near-by stream, off we go heading towards our camp-site when he's back. Barring few members of our group, some had to climb 50-60% of another steep rock formation before organisers decided to head back near water-stream where limited amount of space available to cook & camp for the night. So Day1 ended after almost 8hrs of trekking with about an hour of rest from 9AM to 6PM.
soon few members of the crew started preparing-cooking soup & noodles for dinner.
Peter made camp-fire to keep ourselves warm. It was OK-chillness-cold was bearable considering that we were inside the jungle. I felt OK as I covered myself with full-length t-shirt & tracks. Got into sleeping bag on sloppy surface-had some disturbed sleep by waking-up more than once due to mud pebbles, small rocks under the tarpauline.
Feb 19 -Sunday
After having hot tea & rava pongal, we started climbing the somewhat steep-side of the mountain. Trek renewed at 8:00 AM. It got harder and harder; steeper and steeper; hotter and hotter. I was carrying almost 2 liters of water but whenever I tried to have a sip, some used to ask for it so 2litres was over by noon. The ascent kept getting steeper and steeper; tougher and tougher with hardly any water-elixir of life.
At one point in time, I took a trail which led me no-where and I was like stuck on the steeper side of the hill. I yelled at folks who were a bit distant from me-shouting that if they could guide me. I decided to move on kept climbing few steps at a time-take a breather-wiping the blood which was coming out of right ring finger. Some how managed to climb right-left and finally I was back to the group who were trailing at the end.
Once on top of the hill, again the views were spectacular. We 4-5 guys met at some water point after coming down-walking-by the woods for 20 min or so. It could have been 02:30 PM or so where splashed some water on my face; had some clear water to drink & kept walking down the hill till we reached Attuvampatti village.
Surprisingly we were the 1st folks to reach there as others were either in the middle or already crossed that village. After having water, tea; we all boarded a lorry which dropped us in Pallanghi from Attuvampatti. Descent walking started after we got off the lorry for almost 3 hrs & around 7PM we reached Ganeshapuram.
Day 2 was completed with about 6 hours of trekking and 3 hours of walking.
7 of us decided to stay at the village & not to join the group cos of their own personal reasons. We were lucky enough to sleep in a small room with a door after having hot dinner (rice + egg curry) at Murugan's home.
Feb 20 -Monday
After having breakfast -biscuits, fruit cakes, water -- 7 folks decided to take trail villagers generally take when they head to Palani from Ganeshapuram. With our guide -GopalaKrishnan who agreed to take us to Paalar dam, we started at 10:00 AM. Initially we had to walk through bean-fields for a while & we reached stream where rest of our group camped over-night. This trail is lot easier was what our guide told us. It trurned out the other-way around, it was full of thorns-dry plants covering most part of this trail.
Few cursed the trail, the guide and themselves for not taking the road when the terrain was very unkind. After some point, we were literally bending our backs and crawling like cattle at most places just to save our face, ears and neck -cos rest of the parts have already taken bruises on 1st 2days.
Eventually, All is well that ends well. We finally reached Paalar dam which loads of water to see but it wasnt even fit for washing hands. So we waited at the village near-by dam after cleaning ourselves by a bore well. All had water & few had tea,paneer soda till we waited there for the van to arrive which dropped us at Palani bus stand.
There were moments where I thought why am I doing this or risking this much. I felt it was all worth risking to get some awesome-beautiful-wonderful sights from top-mid-bottom of the hills. Most of the trail-trek we did on second day was picturesque and adorable. There were many places where I stopped and admired mother nature & there were some places where I felt I wont be able to complete as It was my 1st DIFFICULT level trek with CTC -Chennai Trekking Club. It was nice 1st time experience of being in a difficult trek; on a personal note gave me an opportunity to trek with Peter & to have met new folks.