Wild Wonderful Karnataka

Abba!! Amedikallu!

Rajesh Naik           

         Personally I don’t prefer climbing mountains. But I like the view from the peak. To see and enjoy the view I have to climb. So I climb. Friend Dinesh Holla often takes us on treks to the peaks that he has conquered. When we trekked to Kumbhakallu last month he showed us the majestic Amedikallu and announced that next month we would be trekking there. The majestic looks of ‘Ame’ (the single large rock on the peak resembling a tortoise) and ‘Dikkel’ (the three smaller rocks next to it standing on a single platform) excited us.

So on the morning of 21st January 2006, 26 of us were off from Mangalore to Shishila to trek to Amedikallu under the leadership of Dinesh. Lunch was at Mr.Gopu Gokhale’s house at Shishila. It was pleasant meeting Mr.Gokhale as I had been reading his articles in various publications. All were reluctant to eat much as immediately we had to start climbing. Our guide Pijina joined us here. He loves those arrack packets and had already emptied couple of them. At 2.40pm we started the ascent. After about 90 minutes all safely reached the point where the peak makes appearance for the first time. It was 4:15pm already.
There was a huge gap between those who went ahead and those lagging behind. The peak looked awesome. The initial 90 minutes climb knocked the stuffing out of some fellows. What followed next was a gradual ascent through couple of shola forests and plain landscape. That lasted for about 45 minutes.

By the time we emerged out of the forest to the point from where it is a tough climb it was 5:15pm. We could see the leading group way up ahead looking like dots. We marched on. The sunlight was not harsh as it was evening. Including me, 6 of us lagged behind. It was one of the toughest and longest climbs. At 6:45pm we had the last glimpse of the sun as he slowly slid down beyond the slope of the hill and we were still struggling. The grass around was dry and we could not see the ground. In minutes it was dark. Suhas had a torch and was carrying a vessel as well.

I took the vessel and he lead the way for 6 of us by becoming the ‘torch’bearer. Adolf and Darryl were struggling so were Sandip and myself. Only Ananth – who lags behind so that he could be with his buddy Sandip – was not struggling. It was 7:00pm and we were still some distance away from the start of the last shola forest to be crossed which in fact is located right at the base of the large rock making up the peak. All 20 other members had reached that spot and were waiting for us. We fell, slipped and in between rested for about 10 minutes when Darryl complained about dizziness and finally caught up with the rest at about 7:30pm. Dinesh had a powerful flashlight with him, which he kept flashing at us and we were able to catch up with them. If Dinesh had not got this flashlight then it would have been total chaos as only a few guys had torch.

Amedikallu_the_full_view Now we entered the forest. It was pitch dark. Without that flashlight we could not move. 26 people and one flashlight, no one complained, as all were ashamed of themselves for not getting a torch of their own despite being told. Pijina went ahead making way and we all followed. Dinesh was at the end holding the flash light and helping all move on. Dinesh was behind me followed by Ananth and Sandip. At a sharp turn I touched a big boulder for support and it slipped from its position and rolled down making terrible noise. Sandip had crossed its path just seconds before and it shook us so badly that all fell silent for some time. What if there were more people behind me instead of 3. For sure there would have been casualties. Or what if the boulder slipped out of its position and started rolling down when someone ahead of us had grabbed it for support? Then we would have been hit by it. Personally it took some time for me to realize how close we were to danger.
We walked for about 40 minutes more and the forest was not ending. Dinesh started getting restless. His instincts told him that we have lost our way. He ordered us to stop and went to the front to talk with Pijina. Poor Pijina, in the forest he lost his way and the best part was he was not ready to accept it. It was one of those rare occasions when our cool leader lost his cool. Dinesh blasted Pijina and asked him and us to stay back and he went alone into the forest to find the path. After about 20 minutes he came back and we followed him. Pijina, in fact was leading us to a dead end! None of us knew the way. We all followed our leader. Finally at 9:30pm we emerged out of the forest.

Once out in the open we all hoped that soon we would reach the camping site. None knew it was still 90 minutes away. We started climbing again. I just glanced below and could not see the ground. The darkness worked to our advantage as none could see how deep the gorge we were climbing. At 10.30pm we reached the final descent point just above the shola forest, which was the camping spot. Dinesh shouted at us to stop and started running around. As we were at a height we could see Dinesh running from one end to another finding the water source. Pijina had shown him a wet spot and was talking of digging to find water!! Thinking that depending on Pijina is a waste of time, Dinesh himself started running around and finally after about 15minutes found a small stream and shouted at us to come down.

No one was talking. All were tired and thirsty and hungry as well. Someone said that he regretted for not taking a heavy lunch. After a downward walk through open land followed by forest we reached the water spot exactly at 11.00pm i.e. 8hours and 20minutes after we started.
Sunil needs to be admired and appreciated here. From the moment Dinesh went ahead to find the right path, Sunil took charge with the flashlight and showed us the way in the forest, then in the open land, while climbing that deep gorge and then finally while descending down to the camping site. All the while he held the light up on his shoulders so that the guys ahead of him could see the path. Then he would run ahead of all of us and hold the light again till the last person crosses him and then repeat the process. Deepika, all of 10 years old completed the trekking. It was a commendable feat from her. She did have trouble but still showed remarkable spirit to overcome that and complete the trek so were other 2 kids Nanditha and Vaman. Newcomers like Prakash, Gokul and Adarsh made it quite comfortably.

The_Amedikallu As preparing konji would take time and since it was already 11.00pm it was decided to prepare ‘uppittu’ which was supposed to be prepared for breakfast. None had the energy to collect water, clean the dish and then prepare uppittu. Vinay and Vijesh did that job. In half an hour dinner was ready. After dinner at 12.00midnight all were fast asleep in the middle of the forest. No one complained, no one talked, no one whispered. All were just too tired. That brought curtains to one of the toughest days of a trekker. What saved the day for us was Dinesh’s pure instinct when we lost the way, when Pijina could not find water and of course God’s mercy. If not for Dinesh and the almighty we would have been left high and dry in a ‘high and dry’ place.

After breakfast we reached the peak at 9.15am. It is a trek of 45minutes from the camping site to the peak. Now we were standing on the tallest peak in the Charmadi and Shiradi range and the view was fantastic.
It appears as if Amedikallu is the center of a circle and on the diameter are located all the major hills and peaks. We could see Gadaikallu (Jamalabad), Kudremukh, Meru Parvata, Hirimariguppe, Krishnagiri, Durgadabetta, Erikallu, Kumbhakallu, Barekallu, Minchukallu, Mullayyanagiri, Bababudangiri, Jenukallu (near Bhyrapur and not the one at Charmadi), Ettina Bhuja, Kumara Parvata and Nishani Gudda in that order completing a circle. The road in the Charmadi ghat was visible with vehicles moving around. The view was worth all the trouble and pain we took the previous evening. Sunil was back to his cell and was busy chatting with… no idea whom. Suhas and Praveen lay down facing Charmadi ghat. Ramesh Kamath was memorizing all the peaks. All were busy relaxing in their own ways. At 10.00am we started descending.

Now there was no chance of losing way. Dinesh took us in the right path with Pijina following him! The initial descent was steep and was just alongside the deep gorge that we climbed the previous night. When we saw the way we came up the previous night, believe me, some guys just did not talk for some time and stood rooted to the ground. It was so deep down there, none would have climbed during the day.
I preferred not to look down. Once at the edge of the forest, it was a relief as the forest provided shade from the sun. But the forest ended soon and the toughest part, the descent in the open plain land started. By holding the grass for support we started down. Sun was beating down hard on us. There would be no shelter from sun and no water source for the next 100minutes. If the climb was tough yesterday so was the descent today. Guys like Rajashekhar, Raghavendra and Thrasi Dinesh took the burden of carrying others luggage to make it easy for the guys who were struggling. Once at the water source some took rest for long duration. It was 3:45pm when the last batch reached the base. Then in another 15 minutes we were at Mr.Gokhale’s house. The buttermilk he offered was emptied in no time. After a fantastic lunch we reached Mangalore at 8:15pm. Descent

The memories of Amedikallu will remain forever. It is undoubtedly the best trek I have gone on so far. All the thrills happened to be encapsulated into one trek. My personal trekking experience at Kudremukh and Kumara Parvata stand dwarfed in front of my experience at Amedikallu. If one does not lose way and trek at the normal speed it takes 6-7 hours to reach the peak from Shishila side. The trek rout from Neria side is easier and nearer by couple of hours, but the aloof and arrogant owners of Hebbar estate do not allow any to pass through their (?) ‘land’ and behave as if they own Amedikallu! Real Sick Souls!

Safe and pleasant trekking to all.

Article and photos by Rajesh Naik.

more photos http://karnataka.fotopic.net External Link


top of the page
dreams home