Choose where you step next – Jump from one rock to another if you like or walk in the stream. Feeling too hot? Just drop your bag and get into the pool that has clearly followed you throughout this trek. This is Nagala East for you – Surrounded by eastern ghats, with walls of rare texture, mango trees everywhere you look, stream under your feet and rocks as your pathway leading you to cocooned pools naturally protected by the forest, yet lovingly discovered and named by trekkers. You will find Dead End Pool, Picnic Pool, Magic Pool, Sliding Pool. In the mood for naming? There are enough and more left for you to leave behind your legacy 🙂
We chose to brave last weekend of summer with this trek in Andhra on days where the temperature was around 37-38 degrees. I experienced something that felt like a heat stroke but the pools and their healing power just recharged me with energy and pushed me forward to enjoy the beauty of nature.
We walked a lot more in Nagala East when compared to Nagala West. Most of it is plateau walk so there isn’t much climbing to do. If you have good shoes, the walk on rocks wont trouble you either.
The first pool we encountered is called the Dead End Pool. I kept referring to this as Deadpool 😀 You reach here after 2 to 2.5 hours of walk. This pool is truly an end but we came prepared to go beyond and so started the ferrying of bags and shoes of all 13 participants in a kid’s swimming tub. One by one, the bags were sent to the other side while the rest of us chose to stay in the waters and swim.
I have taken swimming lessons (I finally know how to swim) and was thrilled to try out my newly acquired skill out in the wild. As Jango (that’s what everybody calls him) tossed my swimming goggles at me into the Dead End Pool, while it was in air, I thought.. This will sink if someone (ME) doesn’t catch it. And it did. And the guys took it upon themselves to find it. So, they went 10-15 feet deep into the pool, trying hard to grab the goggles. After over 10 minutes, they did find it and made my day 🙂
We crossed this gorgeous gorge and headed towards the Picnic Pool – Our camping spot for the night. After crossing countless streams and walking on pebbles and rocks, we managed to reach the spot before sunset. The guys fixed the fire and cooked some hot meal while a few of us decided to swim around and feed our dead-skin to the fish 😉
We followed this up with a nap, clearly refusing to work. They woke us up when dinner was almost ready and needed some last-minute help with recipe. After a quick dinner, all plans of playing some games were put to rest and everybody called it a night almost instantly.
It truly was one of those peaceful nights – With the sound of waterfalls on my left, rocks below me and stars to stare at, would love to sleep a lot more nights this way!
The morning started with a swim. The guys tried all sorts of dives while Kiran and I wondered where we got the fear of jumping from. Raj’s mom has packed her famous Chapatis and Tomato Chutney which we gobbled down before starting the trek back. The first stop was Dead End Pool again, a diversion from there would take us to the Magic Pool and Sliding Pool. I enjoyed this stretch the most with Kiran, Raj and Jango, as we chatted our way through, making more travel plans, talking about trees, leaves and a bit about people too. I finally managed a jump into the Dead End Pool. We prepared Maggi in a cave, napped for a bit and started our journey towards the Magic Pool. Guys who loved diving had a blast here as it gives them platforms that are at least 30-35 feet high.
All in all a great trek, something that got me to attempt an amateur effort at travel poetry.
On the rocks, in the streams
I stumbled and walked, to live my dreams
To breathe the pure, to hear the roar
To sleep with stars, to cleanse my soul
Rocks of all colours, purple and pink
Walls of all shapes, gorges and creeks
I swam through pools, walked through streams
To never say life that could have been
Mountains make me live, they make me dream
They are my saving grace, when life isn’t green
Trees give me strength, water heals my wounds
Rocks make me agile, streams make me move
The keeper of my dreams blinks next to the moon
The mountain and rocks and trees and the stream
They all get together to tell me one thing
Never stand on those little rocks for too long
Be nimble in life and keep moving
Trek Date: May 28, 29 2016
Place: Nagala East, Nagalapuram, Andhra Pradesh
Mode of Transport: Tempo Traveler
Cost: Rs. 2000/head