It was a long time since I did a good trek in western ghats. The situation was similar for Subbu and Krishna. Finding a good trekking place the days is also a challenging task as many places in Karnataka are out of bounds for trekkers. Finally, we zeroed in on couple of hills near Shishila. Shisila was a place we used as a base for our earlier treks to Ettina Bhuja and Amedikallu. I called up Gopu Gokhale in Shushila to make necessary arrangements for the trek.
|View from Shingani Gudda|
We were supposed to get down at Kokkada, few km before Dharmasthala. But all three of us were deep in sleep and did not realise when the bus passed Kokkada!! We laughed at ourselves for that when we got down at Dharmasthala as we had to go back in another bus. From Kokkada, we hired an auto rickshaw to reach Shishila. We freshened up at Gopu Gokale’s house and had a very good breakfast.
|Resting at Gopu Gokahle's house|
We were contemplating whether to take a guide or not but finally decided to hire a guide. Balakrishna, a localite was our guide.
|Balakrishna, our guide|
The initial part of the trek involved walking in the forest with gradual climb. After about 45 minutes, we reached a stream that formed a small waterfall. A huge tree had fallen on the path and it took some effort for us to cross it. Though we were not tired, the beauty of the place demanded some time from us.
|The small stream|
After a good amount of rest, we started walking again. The climb got steeper but more importantly the trail was not present. Balakrishna had to make path in order to proceed further. This was a peak not many people climbed and it looked like we were the first ones attempting in this season, at least on the route we were trekking. This was something we really liked. Without the guide it was impossible to find the route and hence we congratulated ourselves for taking right decision!!
|Making way through dense undergrowth|
At some point in the trek, we also passed through an abandoned jeep track. It was used 30 years ago for carrying timber and now the forests had almost taken over. The climb was continuous in this stretch. After about trekking for 2 hours in the forest, we came to the grassland which was Shingani Gudda. Almost the entire trek was inside forest. The grass was taller than us and it was very tricky to wade through them. But it did not take long to reach the top of the peak.
From Shingani Gudda, the panoramic view of western ghats was clearly seen. It provided commanding views of Amedikallu, Ettina Bhuja, Minchukallu and Jenukallu, the hills that we had climbed before. Many hills from Shiradi ghat was also seen.
|Final stretch to the top|
We spent a long time on the peak just enjoying the solitude and beauty of the views. As the day got hotter, we climbed down the hill. Lunch was at the stream. By late noon we were back at Gopu Gokhale’s house. Evening was spent at Shishileshwara temple admiring the fishes in the stream. We had one more hill to climb on the next day.
|View from the top|