What a way to enjoy the summers. clap:
Always dreamt of trekking unknown places. Never had the chance or the company to go along with though.
Thanks man. I'm just an amateur point & shoot photographer. You forgot one more thing, humidity. Even though it is hot, the humidity is the one which drains all the energy out of you. In fact, we were happy to get onto the grasslands where atleast a cool breeze could be felt.
The tortoise is the big stone mound at the peak.
Amazing photos. Waiting to see more. What surprised me was that ur local host was "Mr.Gokhale". Surprising to see a Maharastrian gentleman living in this remote Karnataka village. Any photos of him ?
While we were still taking in the breathtaking views, our guide gently reminded that we still had a long way to go.
Suddenly we heard an alarm call from a Sambar deer just a few meters ahead. We were all excited and thought we could sight it.
Me: Dude, it is a sambar call!!
Friend: Yes, dude. It must have seen some carnivore
Me: This is too exciting!!!
Guide: :D Don't have high expectations, saar. The sambar has seen us and is giving alarm calls. Let us wait here for a couple of minutes and see if we can spot any movement.
The Sambar had seen carnivore, not one but three, US!!!!lol: before we saw it and had bounded off. Meanwhile, we were having a conversation with the guide. We asked him about the surrounding peaks, different routes, seasons etc. He would answer all the questions patiently. We also asked him about the wildlife in the area.
He said “ Saar, illi Kadave, kaadu handi, mullu handi, karadi, kaadu bekku, aane matthu huli idave” (Sir, there are Sambar deer, wild boars, porcupines, bears, wild cats, elephants & tiger in these forests).
We were like, “What?? Tiger?? Don’t joke Chennappa, you must be talking about a Leopard”. He said “No Saar, it is a tiger and I have seen it once. I have never seen a leopard in this area”. Still not convinced, we carried on.
Nearing the base of the 'Stove' - The 3 stones
View of the route we took
It was a pretty exhausting climb with numerous breaks in between. We had to run under each and every (large) rock to escape the sun. Halfway up the slope, there was big rock which was had a sloping position and had good space beneath to camp. We stopped here for around 10 mins. Taking a break in the shade is just heavenly in the hot weather. This was the only place where we could stay in case it rained. The guide then reminded us of the need to get a move on and we started off.
Around 30 mins in the hot sun made us take a break again. This time we were at the entrance of the Shola forest patch and I suggested that we have our lunch here. The time was 1 pm and we remembered the advice of Mrs. Gokhale that we were to have lunch as early as possible. So, we had our lunch and again took a big break.
This is the place where we had lunch. We had to walk next to the bag in the pic to find the trail ahead
The small patch on the hill used to hold water during/after the rainy season. According to Chennappa, it was the best place to view wildlife of the area.
These little red bugs were everywhere
We took a small nap after lunch. After around 30 mins, we all woke up and started. The trail from here is through the shola forest. The trail is narrow and riddled with rocks of all sizes. Sometimes it was slippery due to the leaf litter on the forest floor. While walking on the trail, we suddenly found the scat of some animal. I asked our guide which animal’s scat it was. He said it was the Tiger’s scat. I was pleasantly surprised. My friend too confirmed it to be tiger scat (he had been to the Tiger Census at Bandipur this January and was trained in identifying Tiger scat).
I was also surprised at the type of terrain where we found the scat. AFAIK, the tiger does not like closed spaces. But, this place was covered by rocks and the trail itself was very very narrow.
Climbing alongside the tortoise and the stove
The terrain inside the shola
The place where the Tiger scat was found
Happy sighting the scat (who else would be?), we moved on and came out of the shola and into the open. But the rocky terrain continued and it was more treacherous than ever. One slip or wrong footing and you are somewhere down the cliff. Slowly but surely, we kept on moving until finally at 3 pm we reached the base of the ‘Tortoise’. We were so happy, but we were still under the blazing sun.
Out from the shola now. We can see Ettina Bhuja peak
View of Ettina Bhuja again. Btw, Ettina Bhuja is also a popular trekking trail.
View down below
View of the tortoise from the side
We, had finally reached. The time was 3 pm. We only had to climb the Tortoise to get to the peak. The guide took us further east to our camping spot. It was an open space in between two huge rocks and covered by shrubs & trees on all the sides. This was an ideal spot for camping since the place would shield us from the heavy winds during the night.
Addy, have you done the Kumaraparvatha trek? This Mr. Ghokale reminds me of "Bhattara Maney" (Bhat's house), who hosts trekkers going to Kumaraparvatha.
Yep, I remember Bhattara mane. We had lunch the first day and brunch (late breakfast) on the second day at that place.
You will be interested to know, there is a 'Bhattara Mane' in the Kodachadri hills too. They too host trekkers & other visitors.
hehe OK. I guess these "Bhattas" have made it their business to host trekkers!
By the way, can Amedikallu be reached without a guide's help? Is there a trail that one can make out, to get to the destination?
You can trek Amedikallu without a guide. But at places, there is bound be confusion as there are several trails and you will not know which one to take. It happened to me when we were coming down. I was leading and missed the trail a few times. The guide had to call me back and show me the right direction.
One more factor is WATER! At this time of the year, water is hard to find. You may have to deviate from the trails to get water. The guides know where to find water, so that will help.
At the top.....
Once we reached the campsite, our guide started collecting firewood to build a fire for cooking & to last through the night, while me and my friend took a nap. We had used up a lot of water during the last stretch of the climb and were short for cooking and drinking. The guide volunteered to get water from a valley east of where we were camping. While the guide was away, we took out our map and compass and started playing with it. We could identify the different peaks around us.
The map which we had was the Survey of India Map no 48 P/13/NW which was of 1:25000 scale. It is available in the Map Store in the Survey of India campus in Koramangala in Bangalore.
Playing with the map & compass
Our campsite. Notice the rocks and the trees surrounding it. this kept the wind away.
The guide soon came back with water and we started to explore the top of the mountain. We headed towards the eastern part of the mountain. Again we were greeted by amazing views.
The majestic Minchukallu Gudda
Neria Estate. The MRPL Mangalore-Bangalore pipeline goes through here. The black line is the dirt road which the MRPL pipeline maintenance team uses.
On the eastern edge, there is a mound of stones marking the district border. This was the border between Dakshina Kannada district and the Chikmagalur district.
The hill you see in the foreground is called 'Rakaskal betta' (according to Survey of India maps). If you see closely, even this hill is exactly on the district border
After spending a while enjoying the view, it was time to view the sunset. We headed to the ‘Tortoise’ to view the sunset. The ‘Tortoise’ is a huge monolithic rock on the on the top of the mountain. It was not that difficult since we did not have any weight on our backs.
There were a couple of treacherous places where we had to be very careful
We were on top of it by 5 pm. Whew!! We had finally made it. We were finally on top of Amedikallu!!! And what a view it was. There was still some time for the sunset to actually happen. And we were waiting and waiting and waiting.
View of the 'Stove' from the 'Tortoise'
The Altimeter shows that we are at 1294 meters above sea level. The SoI Maps say that Amedikallu is 1299 meters above sea level. Error is 5 m. Hmmm, not bad for a chinese made device.
The time was 17:35 at the time of reading
The barometer predicted cloudy weather for the next 24 hrs. I had not seen a cloud in the last 24hrs and was least hopeful of seeing now also.
Looks like a jet flew past, hence the white trail
The white trail suddenly changed into weird shapes. Anybody know why?
Suddenly out of nowhere, clouds started forming and the whole sunset view was covered by the clouds. After waiting for a while and the clouds playing hide n seek with the sun, we did capture the last shots of the sun and got back to our camp.
Chennappa then started the fire and we cooked the Top Ramen ‘Curry’ noodles which we had brought with us. All three of us had our fill and we went for a walk outside.
Suddenly we heard an animal call from the nearby thicket. Immediately I shone my torch over near the direction from which I heard the call. Unfortunately, the fog was very thick at that time and could not even see a few feet ahead from us. Finally we went back to the camp, opened our sleeping bags and went to sleep. Our guide told us that it was a barking deer which had called.
The fog was very thick. Check out me holding a torch in the picture.
It was not actually chilly when we slept, but by the time we woke up in the morning, it was pretty cold.
Aah yes, noodles - staple diet of all trekkers.
Was your guide barefoot? Looks like that in one of the pics. He makes it look like he is walking in a park in most of the pics :)
Barefoot is better, he was walking in his trusty hawaii chappals. I don't know how he managed.
It was definitely a walk in the park for him. It seems that he is one of only two or three people who guide trekkers in Shishila and almost every week he climbs either Amedikallu or Ettina Bhuja.
Feels like go this place just now ! Very nice snaps.
By the way I have been on the lookout for that all in gadget, which you hold in your hand. Did you get it in Bangalore?
Or its the usual foreign story (US/Chinese) ?
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