An Over-night trek
Venkatagiri is a small town in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
You are required to report at police station in there before you start trek in morning
Carry sufficient water,terrain is parched and water is available at the top only.
A villager to guide to the base of the hill and a seasoned trekker to take you to the top
Sleeping bag, tarpaulin to cover bags and yourself too in case if it rains.
Carry some cooking utensils to enjoy at night
Camera and other favorite stuff
Well, Trek to Venkatagiri has always been the one of the most dry, sultry and waterless terrain. The general behavior and routine of the trekkers says that they reach the town by the morning. They have their breakfast at local shops then move on for trek after finishing the legal formalities at the police station.
Chapter one (The journey begins):
Even if you have the capacity to beat the swiftest bird on this planet, you are not going to start your trek before 9 in the morning. Before you reach to the foot of the hills, you have to cross a jungle.
Lesson: it’s a good idea to take a villager with you to guide you till the foot hills.
Facts: people get lost in the jungle while reaching to the foothills or returning from the top and they spend hours and hours in search of the correct route.
we started climbing. It was a normal and gradual climb along with a herd of hardy guys moving determinately ahead to reach the destination. After half hour uphill climb, we took our first break. We were sweating shirt-full and I was in love with that moment; feeling like Alexander on a mission to conquer the world.
“woooooooooooo”- A fading but sharp-reaching voice intruded us and then I came to know that there were people from our group following us. During the climb, people use this as a sign of being in hearing range. We kept on walking through bushes, climbing steeps and finally I dragged myself to the phase 1 base.
The team was so exhausted that some of them fell fast asleep. We reached there about 13:00; it was supposed to be lunch break time. We took out what we carried along with us. We had some fruits, ready-made chapatti, pickles, bread and jam. We were also supposed to save food for times ahead too. Some people decided to soak under the dripping water from the rock. It was a nice idea to beat the heat especially when the sun was high.
We were supposed to reach at the top of the rock-formations we were sitting beneath, but the path was from behind this rocks. The climb was now steep and rugged. We were now passing through tall and prickly grasses.
Actually, there is an old and broken fort built by robbers hundreds of years ago. According to local people these forts were inaccessible by the soldiers of the king and robbers used to loot king and distribute the loot to common people. They built a very small fort over at the top and they used to love here. It’s unimaginable that they formed stone-steps till the fort but from the place where we rested after phase one climb.
The climb was even steeper again. And here is how you act like multi-purpose machine doing several roughneck jobs at a time:
Stepping over stones; prickly grasses biting on to your legs and screeching with your back-pack; virgin and days old dew over grasses wetting your shoes and trekking pants; you making sure that you don’t sleep off while climbing or lose your balance; you don’t put your hands anywhere to make sure wild insects don’t bite you; sweating a lot under sun; clearing the bushes in front of the you specially bamboo twigs and you move on and on. Sometimes drinking water; trying to mix electoral while walking and making sure you walk with enough pace to be in the alignment.
After continuous climbing over the step-stones we took a break after longest stretch of the trek and sat at stone-stairs for photo shoot.
The next stretch was little different, There was some sort of crude steps, broken down and wasted. it was a challenge to determine which was the step or stone belonged to the steps. Once everyone assembled in this location we started again on the steeper climb, we were climbing as one group . The climb was so difficult we could not go faster.
We reached the top… well not exactly; we could not see a robber’s fort yet. There was another peak that we needed to go. The group got into action here. One batch went with the mission to bring water. All empty bottles were collected and taken to the water source. Another group went up to survey the place for our night camp. A few people united into groups to pick woods for the night camp fire and dinner. I had enough of climbing for then and I decided to assign myself to the wood picking. After a brief climb, we were up at the pinnacle of Venkatagiri hills. We were at the highest point where we could witness the nature unfold. We reached there just in time to see the gorgeous sunset. The view around was so picture perfect. But I also could not avoid thinking ‘Who the hell came up here to build a fort?’ and how come he made the way out of heavy stones up until the height of 5000 feet. But I do believe in the strength of the primitives.
Chapter 2: when the night unfolds and the evening sets down
By now the group that went for water had come back with water and almost instantly the water was all gone. Next thing in the agenda was to make soup, but lighting up the fire was the next biggest task. Anyway, after 10-15 minutes of struggle, we were successful in lighting up the fire. The weather was already, by then, getting brumous and believe me if you left anything open under sky for few minutes, it was going to be found wet then.