The loop visits are still in full swing this phase and we've been heading out to see all the teams. Una, our administrator, has just returned from Kerala where she caught up with Tango 5 on their rest day. Here's what they all got up to...
Trekking in the Cardamom country and tea plantations.
I've just got back from my travels to see the lovely Tango 5 trekking group in Kerala. The 12 hour journey was long and very picturesque. The Western Ghats mountain range comprises of tea plantations, cardamom fields and national reserve parks which contain rare wildlife and varying terrain. The group completed the impressive task of climbing Misappulimala at 8,333 ft, the second highest peak in South India, and double the height of Ben Nevis, on their first day trekking, something they should all be very proud of!
I met Tango 5 on their rest day at the Chaturangappara camp site which has a lake with swans and is surrounded by flowers and thick foliage.
They decided to make a traditional vegetarian Sambar curry as a local family that lives near to the camp offered to teach them how. During the day the group played card games and were busy reading and writing to their loved ones. We even found a lovely little chai shop that sold cakes and goodies to stop by as Phillip de Koning celebrated his birthday at the camp and we all sang Happy Birthday to him and ate a delicious piece of cake.
The group are having a lovely time trekking and have spoken of their enjoyment of pushing themselves to climb mountains, swim and wash in waterfalls and camp life.
|The team of Tango 5|
Back row L - R Sachin, Kieran, George, Daan, Elliott, Philip, George, Stuart (PM)
Front row L - R Lisa, Clare, Susan (PM), Bryony, Lauren, Fieke, Anna, Ellie
|Susan and Stuart, the Tango 5 project managers enjoying a well earned rest day.|
|Some of the group were invited into the camp gatekeeper's house to learn how to make sambar curry with his family.|
L - R Elliott, Bryony, Susan, Fieke.
|Philip celebrates his birthday with not one but TWO cakes!|
Thanks for that Una and we wish Tango 5 all the best for their last few days out in the wilderness of Kerala and look forward to seeing them all back at field base soon. I've just got back from an amazing trip to see Charlie 1 and Tango 6, also in Kerala so I'll be posting all the news from them very soon, promise...
Here are their messages to you at home…
To Penny Evans
From Clare Evans
Alice is applying to uni? I did not know this. To study what? Wish her the very best of luck from me. Trekking is amazing – the scenery is amazing can’t wait to show the photos. Animal sightings update: loads of monkeys, warthogs, water snakes, numerous kingfishers, eagles and a baby chipmunk. Poor Melly hope she’s ok give her a hug from me! I may travel on afterwards – I’ll email you in just over a week. Love, Clare xxx
From Ellie Burton
To Mother Burton
Hellooo! Just a quickie to let you know I’m surviving trek in Kerala so far, weather’s very humid, particularly in the thick jungle areas! Half expecting Baloo the Bear floating past us in the river! Climbed the 2nd highest peak in India (shock horror), views were incredible, the slide down on my bum was less incredible. Also built a raft seen kingfishers, showered in waterfalls and regularly get up at 4 am! Very wild. Miss you loads, hope you’re well xxx
From Anna Clarke
To Sebastian & Famille Clarke
Hello all! Trek is going pretty darn well. Had a touch of the Delhi belly on day one yet still conquered the 2nd highest peak in South India. Quite an achievement I feel. Scenery is absolutely breathtaking so my pictures are fairly epic. Can’t wait for you to see what I’m seeing. At a camp in the jungle today it’s pretty toasty so taking the opportunity to sort out the T-shirt tan. Sorry to hear about Bruney I’m sure he’ll have an amazing time whatever he ends up doing. Hope you’re all well, send my love to everyone. Lots of love xxx
From Biryani your wife
To Kathy Leeno
Hello gorgepot! Trek is amazing. I think of you a lot when I’m stood sweating my bodyweight in water, and think fondly of the times we attempted any sort of exercise (could I be any hotter?). I think about you a lot and think about the sticky turtle situations you get yourself into. It is the most beautiful place I’ve been to out here, but trekking is so hard. Can’t wait to speak to you properly. Miss you millions. Hope you and J have an amazing holiday and hope to God the patchy belly has made a comeback. Love you xxx
From Stu Vincent
Hi all, now on trek through stunning Kerala, experiencing forests, roads and a number of mountainous areas. Hardest trekking I’ve ever done. Humid and backpack almost at breaking point. Good job I’ve lost about 10kg since being in India. Not been this light since school. Camp sites are amazing and a great reward after a days trek. Not long till back and catch up with everyone then. Take care Stu
From Lisa Akyol
To my fellow Akyols and mes amis
Allo allo everybody! I can’t believe how time flies out here, I’m already on day 8 of trekking through the jungle. The scenery is absolutely breath taking – especially the view from the 8,000 ft mother of a mountain we casually ascended on our first day. No biggie Pa, you would love our guide – he too is partial to wearing jeans whilst walking. Lol Timmy has prepared me well and all my D of E skills are defo paying off. All I’m missing is Cauth to recite a bit of hazza p to me as I saunter through the tea plantations and life would be complete! I’m so so excited to travel on afterwards now, but I am properly looking forward to my shower, bed and a cold glass of milk when I get back! Miss and love you all my lovelies, Lisa xxx ps M, will send you plans as soon as I get access to the internet, and it is sweltering J
From Bryony Wilde
To All the people I love
Hello! Having the most amazing time in Kerala – it’s the most beautiful place I’ve seen! Literally have seen the most fantastic scenes and sights out here, and the weather is amazing so the tan is getting pretty immense! So the actual trekking eek! It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but I’m enjoying it so much! We conquered the second highest peak in South India (8000 metres) on our first day it was so intense. Since then we’ve averaged about 15 km a day, all over the shop, up amazing mountains, down again, through tea plantations, banana fields, cardamom plantations, jungle … the list goes on!! The camp sites each night are getting so amazing – we’ve had some fantastic spots – photos on my return! We get up at 2/3/4/ am each morning which is tough but means we get lots of trekking done in the (relatively) cool! Hope you are all okay and glad to know I’m still alive! We made rafts and rafted too and didn’t sink! It’s a dangerous game out here! Love you all and speak to you so soon, can’t believe there’s only a few weeks left! India love for one and all xxx p.s family you may have to pay my Glastonbury balance for me… I’m not sure when I have to pay the full balance ?!? Please can you check Marcus? Xxx pps Rosie Jones email me the campervan plannage, excited!!
From je liefste zus
To Willem Haak
Kleine!! Ben zwaar teleurgesteld date k geen blog bericht van je heb ontwangen…horde van pap dat je al berig bent me m’n welkoms spandoek. Maak hem dan maar extra groot en mooi! Kan niet wachten je wee rte zien…et zie je op schophol, geen excuus dit leer!! Xxx tot snel
From Philip de Koning
To de kline die dit leest
Hoiii heb het naar min zin hier. Trek is zeus zwaar maar ook erg leuk heb zojuist haart gegeten vooz min verjaardag wie over een paar uur begint. Spreek jullie gauw! X Philip
From Fieke Haak
To Familie Haak
Hee lieve fam! Ik leep nog! Det is echt het waste wat it coit heb gedaan, maar het is echt 20 leuk!! De tweede dag de 2nd highest peak van Z-India beklommen, was echt heel zwaar, maar 20ngoed gevoel toen we op de top waren en het eutracht was echt zoo mooi! Daarna twee rustige dagen gehad en vangag nu lopen we elke dag 10 km tot 22 km in de Bergen. Het is ock heel warm, gister 37 degrees du swat anders dan by jullie! Lik gaan ongeveer elke dag om 8 eur naar bed omop 2 n vroegst om 3 uur op te staan … Helaas na de eerstedag al blaren… En ek maak veel foto’s hoor!! Het nitacht is echt 200 mooi!! Hebook het pakelje met uitricht is echt zoo mooi!! Heb ook het pakelje met snoep ontvangen, dankje!! Helaas no geen brig… Dikke kus!!