What could you do but answer when the mighty mountains call and that’s exactly what we did.
Despite all the last minute changes in plan, unavailability of vans/carpooling, delay in public transportation, overwhelming tiredness of waiting and walking on the never-ending road, we, at last, took shelter in the shadows of our healer of minds, Nagalapuram.
A comfortably compact crew of 15 entered through the West of Nagala seeking not just solace but to have some crazy adventure they could relish for years.
Crossing a few pools filled with ‘tourists’ we reached the deeper pools which refused to change but remained pristine even after two hours of diving and splashing. Never knew even experienced swimmers would be confounded when they try on goggles suddenly and reach out to grab the rocks which are not within their arm’s reach.
While the non-swimmers or not-sure swimmers (my category until this point) get dipped on the other side of the pool.
Summoning all the courage (and pleading the expert swimmers to be ready to rescue a poor soul) I did the first diving (yes, with the chest hitting the water flat) and came out the other side saving the trouble for rescuers. Jumping in pools whose depth is not known has a strange effect on you that you’ll want to repeat it to make sure the first time wasn’t just luck.
After a couple of hours of fish therapy and meditative floating we dried ourselves only to get wet again by the pouring rain. Taking cover under a makeshift shelter we waited for the rain to stop which seems to have no mind to do so. Finally, deciding to take our chances against the slippery rocks we venture into the wild, sliding, slipping and still moving on.
All the slips and burning bruises were forgotten when we halted under the snow-white falls that washed all the pain away. A million firm kisses all over the injured body and soul by them, the maiden drops. Sitting under the might of the crushing falls, sealing off the reality of the world, we meditate in peace amidst the turmoil.
In fear of rain and our night sleep’s ultimate ruin, we started the fire even before sun down though it took a good 30 minutes and the magical touch of Jack for the wet wood to catch fire and burn steadily.
The next day started off with a good, really good long walk for hours along dry streams, up the slopes with lose rocks and through the thorn bushes.
A good noon nap relaxed the tired feet before we started off again.
Reading the adventures of Frodo and the company of hobbits in the old forest while sitting in the middle of the forest makes you wish that the rest of your company keeps napping until you finish the whole of the first book of the Fellowship of the ring.
One by one they woke up and with a few more short halts and resting in between, we tramped on into the unknown, following trials and dry streams.
Happily, we finally halted near the ’Sliding Pool’.
Watching the expert swimmers sliding in the small falls and the hearing the sound of the splashes arouses a desire in you to try it too come what may.
And thus I overcame the fear of jumping from heights into the pools on unknown depth.
Overcoming the fear of heights and depth, I slid down the sliding pool and suddenly found myself surrounded by water from all sides. Unlike all other times, calmly I came to the top and slowly swam to the shore.
Would I, for life, forget the joy this simple feat gave me!
And to the ‘Magic pool’ we went to do a few more jumps from 10ft - 15ft.
Though Raj recommended a life jacket, wearing which I’d never have gotten over the fear of heights, I did a few (only two more, because we quickly packed up) jumps while others have already done more than 10.
Out, we came, after thoroughly enjoying all the craziness and walking quietly, relishing the new achievements unlocked.
Another wonderful trek came to an end with happy hearts and calm minds.
Thanks to Raj, Jack and the team for coming up with amazing options in a short time.