The weather report was not so inviting ,with incessant rain lashing in the past few days in the shiradi ghat.
After constant monitoring for the final 3 days ,me and my friend Aravind finally decided to take the chance come what to may.We set out in a volvo ,got down at Kokkada and proceeded towards Shishila.After a quick breakfast at the gokhale's house ,we decided to head towards ethina bhuja
Above : Hornbills @Shishila
Above : Wooedpecker @shishila
Our guide was ready by that time and we took an auto to the start point.The initial stretch is similar to that of amedikallu.We first hit a small stream which we had to cross.We found another group taking their breakfast at this point.
Soon we were on our way ,the path getting steeper as we moved along.I was feeling the heat as we moved ahead.After every steep ascent in our path ,i had to take a break.Water was one thing i was glad i carried in abundance.The weather was slightly overcast yet the journey was getting harder as we moved ahead.The first break was when we view the ethina bhuja peak for the first time.We decided to break at this point and had some gulps of water.
View : Amedikallu as seen from enroute to Ethina bhuja peak @Lunch point
Channappa our guide kept prodding me to move on after each stop.We decided to break after we saw the peak was very near.We emptied the packed lunch that we that we had got.One of the reasons for our slow ascent was that both of us had quite heavy backpacks.We soon hit the final grassland at 1:15 pm.We decided to keep our bags here and headed towards to the peak.Reaching the peak is a bit tricky since the final path is a bit slippery and steep.
Above : Final reach to the peak
Above : Views from the peak
As we reached the peak ,we could have views of only one side since the the peak was slowly getting engulfed by the clouds.Ten minutes later we were totally engulfed by the clouds.After spending about 25 minutes on the peak we decided that it was time to head downhill.We reached the based of the peak at about 2:15 pm.The gang we had left behind soon joined us.After a few customary exchanges ,we decided to head towards the temple ,our resting point for the day.
Above : Temple where we stayed for the night
Above : Rainbow after a brief shower at a place nearby
I was sapped and the previous treks and i was feeling exhausted after the days trek.Both of us decided to sleep.After i got up,it was time to have tea.The weather suddenly changed and it looked like it will rain anytime now.We soon decided to cook rice.After rice was done ,it was time for the recipe of the day "bendakai-alugadde huli" .Aravind overlooked the cooking of the rice.I cut the vegetables and put them to boil.Channappa as always was curious as to what was cooking for dinner.Channappa and aravind overlooked the cooking of the sambhar .Soon it was time for garnishing :) .The sambhar was now ready.Having successfully evaded the monsoon for quite a while before we had finally completed cooking dinner ,just after sunset.
We soon sat and enjoyed the moonlight.At around 7:15 pm ,we finally decided it was time for dinner.The sambhar was indeed yummy.The menu looked like -Rice-samabhar,papad and pickle.It was simply amazing having dinner in the moonlit night.
We talked for a while in front of the campfire.We heard loud noises of crackers and villagers screaming from the village nearby.We immediately knew that it was elephant on the prowl.Elephants are one thing that i am a bit wary about.We decided to be a bit more cautious on the next day.We then decided that it was time to hit the bed.We hit the bed at 8pm and i was snoring away into the night.We got up early at around 6:15 am and started getting ready.Aravind oversaw the cooking of the breakfast cum lunch -Upittu and soon we decided to hit the trail at about 8:15 am.We hit the trail which took us through some dense forests initially.
Above : Sizzling display of morning sun
Finally we hit the grasslands at about 10 am .We took a good break of about 10 minutes here savouring the dense forests of kabbinale around us.A missed oppurtunity of ombattu gudda once again reminded me that the trek was still incomplete.
We walked along the peaks and finally hit the ridge from where we could see the ombattu gudda peak.Walking along this ridge is a wonderful experience with splendid views all around us.
We soon hit the estate road in about 30 minutes and moved on towards our quest for ombattu gudda.Finally we hit the forest patch which is the final hurdle before ascending ombattu gudda.We took one final break after we hit the grassland.The views as we start ascending ombattu gudda is worth seeing.We soon were criss-crossing the hills finally making it to the Ninth and the final peak.It was a moment to cherish -finally ombattu gudda had been conquered.We relaxed a bit taking a few snaps.
The weather was a bit cloudy and we decided to bid adieu to Ombattu gudda.The walk back was a bit sapping since it was really sunny now.We finally crossed over the forest patch and hit the estate road by 1 pm.
Above : View from the final peak
We decided to have lunch .We were soon worried about getting de-hydrated since we had a good 10-12 kms from here to the end of the estate.In the next 10 minutes the weather changed dramatically it was likely that it will rain,we quickly completed our lunch.
The next couple of hours was uneventful while we walked through the jeep track ,the weather playing hide and seek.It was a lot cooler which really saved our day for both of us.Soon it started drizzling .We finally hit hosakere at 2:45 pm,our guide bid adieu ,we thanked him for accompanying us through the trek
Another interesting incident was as we walked through the estate a number of people kept asking us if we were the two guys who were lost in Ombattu gudda.We kept denying the same and had to give a patient hearing to all.Personally i have seen some dumb people from bangalore -first time trekkers attempting and getting lost in ombattu gudda.I dont have any sympathy for such people who attempt such tough treks which has a history of people getting lost.I will not be surprised if we soon hear that this route might be closed for trekkers -all due to some mindless idiotic trekkers!!!.
We finally took the bus at 4pm from hosakere and headed towards mudigere.The bus from mudigere to chikmagalur was a real pain since there was some problem in the bus .It took us 1.5 hours to cover 32 kms.We booked our tickets and lazed around at the bus stand.We had dinner and set out for bangalore by the 11 pm bus.