‘Marathon in mountains’ considered being one of the deadliest of treks in CTC yet again reiterated its position firmly. My first marathon was deadly but this marathon gave me an altogether different experience. Most of the participants were new faces to me and the highlighting aspect was two participants were aged 40 + years, one 50 years and one +2 student. All determined to complete this ‘mind over body game’ after being experienced from previous difficult treks.
Early morning ascend to reach the 880 mts southern peak:
The trek started at 3.30 a.m negotiating the bushes to figure out the trail leading to the 550 mts water point in the Nagala souther valley. After successfully spinning and twisting inside the bushes we reached the water point at 4.45 a.m.
One of the best challenges on this Marathon was designed by the pioners to summit the 880 mts southern peak that will test the endurance, physical and mental toughness of the participants. The early morning climb to reach the peak was very enjoyable and none had the courage to predict about the hot weather that could us challenge us.
The trek along the ridges towards the peak surrounded by clouds with chilling breeze rubbing through us was the best delight and great booster to continue the trek.
Sensing the killing Sun:
While descending the peak itself we started realising the hot Sun, which was waiting to dry and kill us with its seasonal heat. Most of us decided to drench their clothes, towels and whatever possible with water. While we took the ridge above the Nagala western stream within 10 minutes time my towel and t-shirt dried up cautioning that you guys are going to have toughest of all times.
The Sun never stopped us; the climbs never stalled us; the sharp stones never denied our march, for the strong will we carried to reach our target. It was marathon - marathon and nothing else that ran through our minds. Steps were taken towards keeping in mind only the target and not the pain that we underwent.
Getting lost in the wild:
While I was heading the team on the ridges and the other seasoned marathoners sweeping and motivating the team we crossed the 25th kilometre and it was time to locate the next water point. The GPS which I had did not had water points marked therefore, I decided to slip inside the valley to look for the stream we were supposed to hit and requested the team to wait on the ridge. When I returned back to the ridge no one was there on the place where I last saw them and I had no clue which way they left and therefore, decided to stay there for some more time wait for them to find my whereabouts. Unfortunately, even after 30 mins no one turned to the same place therefore, I decided to continue the trek all alone.
Lonely marathon on the ridges of Nagalapuram and Tada:
It was 1.00 p.m when I got secluded from the team and with the hope to find the group I started to trek with high speed but I was not able to find their whereabouts. Since I have taken this trail two times I was quite familiar with the trek route and with the help of GPS I was quite confident to reach the destination.
The silent Nagala valley, the sun exposed ridges, the aftermath of forest fire all drained my energy making me feel exhausted completely and after entering the Tada range I almost fainted mainly due to dehydration if not for that one orange, the little water and timely rest I had I would have fainted on the hills itself. Never experienced such kind of giddiness before. After seeing the Tada valley from a distance I started gaining confidence since I knew that I could find some waster in that stream.
My knee got heavily stressed because of carrying my body and hiking for almost 13 hours and it started paining with each step. But I was confident to reach the destination with all these difficulties in place, but one thing which was bothering me was the whereabouts of the team since it been almost 6 hours since I saw or heard anything from them.
After refreshing and refilling from the Tada waters I slipped through the thorny bushes and the dry streams and reached the Tada main stream and tried calling others with the intermittent signal in my mobile but none of their mobiles where reachable therefore understood that the team is still deep inside the woods. Went near the temple pool and snapped for almost one hour still after that there was no news from the team and my hunger went beyond limits since I did not have lunch and had very little break fast. Therefore, decided to reach Vardapalayam to have some food to regain my sense. At 10.00 p.m I received a good news via sms that the team has reached Tada top successfully.
After that I was given to understand that few injuries denied the team to proceed faster and the team reached the destination at 1.45 a.m to earn the well deserved sleep at the Tada base.
Overall a very BIG THUMS UP for the entire team for having successfully completing the fourth successful edition of ‘Marathon in Mountains’ keeping the standards of trekking very high and for completing this ‘mind over body game’