Heat, Humidity, a Tortoise & a Stove – March 20-21, 2010 – A Trekkalog
“Mom, Dad, I’m going trekking this weekend”. “What??:Shockked: Are you out of your mind?? Who goes trekking in the summer? It’s going to be hot & humid. You have certainly become nuts, blah blah blah…”
This was the initial reaction from my parents when I told them that I was going on a trek. The destination was ‘Amedikallu’.
Some info about 'Amedikallu'
Amedikallu (height 1299 msl) is a peak near Shishila village near Dharmasthala in Dakshina Kannada district of Karnataka and is one of the significant peaks of Charmadi range. The name Amedikallu is a combination of two words: ‘Aame’ - Tortoise and ‘Dikkel’ - Tulu word for Stove. Amedikallu has a huge monolith at the top which appears like a giant tortoise and 3 huge stones which give an appearance of a stove. The starting point is a couple of kms from Shishila village.
One has to take an auto from Shishila to reach the start of trail at a place called Kombaru. The initial trail is through a fairly dense forest. Then the forest cover disappears slowly and grassland starts to appear which continues almost till you get to the 3 stones. After this you will have to go through a shola forest to reach the top.
I'm not much of a narrator, so please bear with me and I'll promise to post as many pics as possible:D
More to come......
Summer is a bad time for trekking in the Charmadi Ghats. What did you do for water? Carried all the supplies to the top?
We had a couple of litres of water with us and refilled on the way
Hope you didnt get sun burnt...waiting for photos..
Waiting for more about this treklogue.
To all trekkers,
please ensure that you are physically and medically fit for any trek.
Remember our Jivdhan fort trek last July.[monsoon-masti-malshej-ghat-jivdhan-fort-naneghat].
One of our group member got heart attack six months after the trek.
Doctors found one vain completely blocked and surprised to hear about the fort trek.
The journey to Shishila....
It was only me and my friend who were all set to go. Everything was planned at the last minute. Tickets were booked to Dharmasthala on a KSRTC Rajahamsa at 22.40 for Friday night (Mar 19th), Sleeping bags were rented, Food items were purchased and by 22.30 we were in Kempegowda Bus Station waiting for the bus to leave. Our destination was the house of one Mr. Gokhale in Shishila village, who hosts trekkers coming to this place.
The bus started at 22.45 and made its way through the traffic and finally hit the highway. The journey was uneventful and the bus made its first stop at the Kamat hotel in Udayapura on the NH48. It was a mini traffic jam of sorts in the parking lot of Kamat, so our bus had to wait a bit to get a place. Meanwhile I had requested the driver & conductor of the bus to drop us off at Kokkada, a place just 15 kms before Dharmasthala. Shishila is 15 kms from Kokkada and it made sense to get down here.
We had some light refreshments at Kamat and again slept off in the bus only to wake up in Kokkada. I had heard that Shiradi ghat was in bad condition and was expecting to be thrown around in the bus. But to my pleasant surprise, I did not feel much on the bad roads, so probably, it would been a small stretch. We got down at Kokkada circle at 05.45 in the morning. We had to get to Shishila now and our only options were the milk tempo which came at 6 am or the KSRTC bus which came at 7.30 am or we would have to hire a jeep/auto. Promptly at 6.00 am, the milk van turned up and we got into the back. The ride was very bumpy (what else can you expect in the back of a van?).
With the milk cans at the back
The road to Shishila
The road to Shishila was laid around 5-6 months back and is in very good condition. It extends upto a village called Holegundi. The total distance from Kokkada to Shishila is 15 kms and from Shishila to Holegundi is 7 kms. Holegundi is the end of the road. There was a proposal to build a road from Shishila to Bhairapura (near Mudigere) to provide an alternative to the crowded Shiradi and Charmadi ghats. I had already posted some info regarding this on the following thread.
The milk van then stopped at Arishinamakki & another village to drop off the day’s newspapers and finally reached Shishila at 6.45. We got down at the Shishila milk collection center and Mr. Gokhale was waiting there to receive us. We walked around a kilometer with our backpacks and reached his house.
We both refreshed ourselves and got ready for breakfast. Mr. Gokhale served us our breakfast; hot hot idlies with chutney, topped with coconut oil. By then, our guide Chennappa had arrived in an auto. We quickly finished breakfast and packed our stuff. Mrs. Gokhale handed to us a packet of Chapatis and potato ‘palya’ (sabji) for lunch with a warning to finish it as soon as possible since the food will get spoilt due to the extreme heat.
We took the packet and started, but we had forgotten one major thing. What was that?? “Water”. We were going on a trek without water:eek:. How could we ever miss this, the most important thing?? Then Mr. Gokhale managed to find a 2 ltr water bottle and filled it for us. Our guide Chennappa said we could collect a couple more bottles from his house on the way to the trail. Actually, we had thought of buying water bottles in Shishila itself, but no shop in Shishila sold water bottles, hence our predicament.stupid:
The view of the peak from Gokhale's house
My friend & me all set for the trek
We got into the auto and started for Kombaru and suddenly we see our first wildlife sighting. A long and dark rat snake was about to cross the road in front of our auto, but instead turned back and headed into the bush. With this sighting, I was very optimistic of sighting more wildlife during the trek.
Gokhale(s) seem to be amazing people ! Need to meet them ! BTW how did you find about them?
More stories please.
Lots of pictures expected.
Great. Spot a snake first before a trek. That's the best part. Sad it wasn't the majestic Cobra. Sadly, off late the snakes are dwindling in those parts. I used to spot 2 snakes a day 15 years back. Hope you've taken photos of Snakes enroute.
An OT but still a trivia.....
Agumbe is the known the place in the world to have maximum King Cobra.
I also heard folks saying that if someone has a "Sarp Dosham"
(read curse of a snake) he needs to make a visit to
Kukke Subramanya temple which is very close to Agumbe!
Come on, Agumbe is easily more than 150 kms from Kukke. How does it make it closer?:);)
Where's the tortoise?
Be carefull before you post about it, This is a hot topic and tortoise/snake savers are all over hunting for people (not tortoise) associated with tortoise, to get some money out of them.
The stone mound on top of the peak looks like a tortoise, hence the name.:)
On the trail........
We got down near Chennappa’s house and he went off to get the water bottles and his bag. We started off, on the trail at exactly 9 am.
We deviated from the road at this point
Already the heat and humidity was building up. A walk of just a few minutes had our shirts soaking wet. One good thing was that we had to trek in the shade of the dense canopy for the initial part of the trek. Even though we were in the shade, the humidity was sapping the energy we had.
Our guide Chennappa sitting ahead and waiting for us, the lazy city boys:D
We trudged on and on and on under the canopy until suddenly we got a view of ‘Ettina Bhuja’ peak. Ettina Bhuja means Ox’s shoulder in Kannada and this peak is just to the east of Amedikallu. We can see Ettina Bhuja peak all through our trek. We can also see it from Shishila.
Couple of forest fires on the way
After a few minutes’ walk, we came out into the open and had our first glimpse of the majestic Amedikallu.
Tired by the time we came out of the canopy. Atleast we had some cool breeze now.
A fruit called 'Chatte Hannu' in Kannada. Tasted a bit like groundnuts. Our guide showed it to us.
A dry tree, but look at the grass below, it is green. That was because of the light drizzle which fell the previous week.
Amedikallu has one of the steepest climbs in the Western Ghats and now we had to face it. This was the toughest part of the trek since we had to climb in the open sun.
The red line is the route which we took to the peak
At this point our guide suggested that we deviate from the normal route and walk into the forest to fill up water.
By this time we had used up some water and needed the refill very much, since we had to last till the peak and also needed water for cooking dinner. We went into a patch of forest and stopped at a fork. The guide went down into the valley and refilled the water bottles. Took a few minutes rest and started again. Now, we headed onto the open grassland slopes.
View of Ettina Bhuja
Closer view of Ettina Bhuja (Pic courtesy: Google, Copyrights lie with the respective owner)
Although it was hot, the grasslands had a cool breeze coming from everywhere. The new grass had sprouted in the rains which had fallen the previous week
Ettina Bhuja peak is on the extreme left. Jenukallu gudda peak is on the extreme right
Yes I do agree that its 150Km, but that was just old folk lore !
As to the snaps, they are amazing ! Heat, Dust, Shade and Peaks and Valleys! An ideal combo for Trek. Yes heat is an add on !
And yes as Ranjan said where is the tortoise ?
|All times are GMT +5.5. The time now is 20:40.|