Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wondering in wildlife sanctuaries.

Wondering in wildlife sanctuaries.

Every time we plan for a exploratory trek, it us
ed to be either water fall or a peak in new territ
ory. As i communicated with the group we wanted to b
e totally different exploratory this time, so we planned for a trek in the wildlife sanctuary. As usual i communicated with the group about the trek.
There were lot of response for the trek. But finally we settled for group of 20. Great thing was that this time mostly it was all our old trek pals and their friends. Group was just amazing. Plan was to trek in the nagarhole sanctuary and stay in anti poaching camp, but as there was some permit issue, sancuary guys gave us alternative of trekking in brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary(BWS). I readily i agreed as the BWS is part of westernghat and its most beautiful at this period.

Biggest disappointment was that of vehicle I hired. Though he is a regular guy who
gives vehicle for us for long time this time he disappointed us with the kind of vehicle he sent. We started off from mejestic as planned earlier by 11:30PM. Picked up many on the Mysore road and started off towards Nagarahole. We reached nagarhole gate by 4:30 itself. But gate opens for traffic only at 6:00 AM. So all of us pulled out sleeping mats and slept on the road itself. Guard at the gate did scare us saying dont sleep too far as there could be wild animals attack!!. Everyone had early morning short sleep. By 6:00 AM guard woke up and he took about 15 minutes to settle down. we were the first to enter the sanctuary and we were hoping to have some wildlife sighting. First sighting was deer! as usual as there are plenty. Then there was gang of 3 indian gaur(bison). Later we found a tusker. We reached nagarhole office by 7:30AM. Guard rajanna was waiting for us. He offered us a very nice ginger tea. He offered us the BWS anti poaching camp as nagarahole one is closed. We agreed and wasted no time. Our cook had gone p

revious day itself to prepare breakfast. we reached breakfast point on the way to our base camp(APC) and had br
eakfast. After the breakfast, we traveled to our base camp. Reaching base camp was bit tedious as the roads are narrow and really in bad condition. The location of the base camp is just amazing. Its located in a small patch of beautiful grassland surrounded by beautiful forest and mountain. Its
so refreshing feel to be there, just to be there. We just dumped luggage and got ready for the activity of the day quickly.
First activity was to trek to falls nearby. So we started off the trek towards falls. Though everyone was tired,The serenity of the place made feel fresh. On the way to falls we came across lots of lovely streams, took pics and moved ahead. It was odd time for wildlife sighting. But we came acrosstiger pug mark and elephant foot
print etc. The trail was infested by leeches. some got paranoid by seeing so many leeches. Our cook had reached early and was preparing the lunch at the falls. We were spell bound by the beauty of the place. It was moderate stream falls down to the valley. I cant make out the height, but truly breath taking scene. We all played in falls. It was welcome massage to our muscles!!!. As we played in falls, we were so hungry. It was a tasty rice sambar. We had stomach full and spent sometime in the stream. We decided to reach back the camp and relax so started the trek back.. It was getting dark, we decided to have camp fire. Someone shouted everyone to collect the firewood. So we all went out to collect firewood and got plenty of them.ne shouted everyone to collect the firewood. So we all went out of firewood and got plenty. The camp fire place is beautifully done. We lit the camp fire and it was so awesome experience to be around camp fire in such a place. The place was so silent. So we could hear deer bark, once a while birds chirp. By then dinner was ready and we had dinner. As we were tired decided to rest for the day..

We woke up as early as 5 AM next morning. The plan was to go for a trek in Tholpatty wildlife sanctuary in the waynad district of kerala. I called up the RFO of tholpatty sanctuary who had agreed for a trek previous day. But when i gave a call, she said "sorry, there are no armed guard, so cant arrange for that day. But she said she can arrange it for the nextday" . It was dissapointing, but she gave alternative of having a safari in the sanctuary. Reluctantly we agreed but the safari was in the afternoon. We had time in the morning. We planned another trek to remote place, a big grassland which is home to various animals. there is absolutely no habitation or disturbance from human habitation over there. Many of us decide to trek there which is about 8KM one way. Some decided to stay back and relax at the camp. trek group started off trek towards the animal habitat. The trail was fl

at and as usual was infested by leeches. Many trekkers were applying all sorts of anti leech solution! to their feet but leeches showed no mercy and were having feast!!. As we were fresh in the morning and the nature was at its best in the early morning, we trekked very fast. We covered about 7KM in an hour!. We just a saw a huge tract of flat grassland. Our guide told us to maintain silence before we enter
ed this place. We were not disappointed !!. T
here was a sambar deer looking at us!. It was great welcome indeed. By the time we click pics, it just vanished in to thick jungle. As we moved around grass land in search of wild habitats, we could see fresh elephant dropping and foot print but not the elephant itself. The sambar deer which disappeared in to woods appeared again to see whether we have left their place!. We could see him/her(!) from close range.

As we still had sometime, we asked what else we can do. He suggested to trek another KM to a river to have splash!. All of us were so thrilled and we nodded in affirmative. The trail was thick serene wood. It was so enjoyable trail. On the way our guard had a sight of INDIAN MONITOR LIZARD. He alerted us, but by the time we turn, it had disappeared. There we cou
ld see a pleasant river flowing calmly. Guard took us to a place where we can have a swim. the place was so amazing. The seen was truly paradise of sort. We were spell bound by the beauty of the place. the river has formed a pond, the pond is covered by huge boulders on both side and the pond is about 100ft in length and a about waist deep water. It was apt for a splash. It was like man made pool.
We all dived in to pool. Oh! water was freezing cold. My muscles got cramp for a while, but did not step back. We spent enough time trying out various swimming strokes!! and had great time in the water. We decided to call off swimming session and get back to camp.
When coming back we passed through the same grassland, but alas we could not find anything. On the way back there were small grassland. As soon as we entered one such grassland, Oh! what a sight! there we spotted a ASIAN WILD DOG. Its all called "dhol" and in kannada its called thola or seelu naayi. This dhol is classified as endangered by IUCN. They were gang of 4. When they saw us, they did not disappear, which we anticipated. rather they were staring at us!. It was scary scene! We took out our cameras, and clicked few pics and to our shock they posed fr few minutes !!!. Then one by one jumped out and disappeared in to thick woods. We were so happy sighting them. There was a stream after that, we crossed the stream and gosh! another gang of dhols!. but they disappeared quickly. With this sweet memories, we reached back camp. By the time we reach lunch was ready, we wasted no time and had sumptuous lunch. As we it was getting late, we just packed quickly and started off from the APC with with sweet memories.
The next plan was to reach Tholpatty wildlife sanctuary in waynad of kerala for safari. We reached karnataka - kerala border and there were safari vehicles waiting for us. We hopped in to waiting jeeps and traveled towards sanctuary. On the way we spotted a tusker on the road!. We took few pics and traveled in to sanctuary. This
is safari is longest and very good place for sighting. But the problem is there were too many safari vehicles playing! so hardly animals will be there on the en route. So we spotted only sambar deer, barking deer and spotted deers in this safari.
It was getting late, we had to enter Nagarhole sanctuary before 6pm. so we rushed and were just able to make it. As it was evening, we were eager to have some more sight en route. After we crossed nagarhole forest office , we were lucky to spot herds of indian gaur(bison) and a tusker along with them. We just stopped vehicle next to them and we had a sight very close. Whole two days, we spent with wildlife in various sanctuaries. It was memorable in many ways. Most importantly the gang. Raghu, vinod, ravindra and chandranath were all my old time trekmates. I cherish this trek trip for long....!

Photos links by fellow trekkers...
By Raghu

By Vinod

By Harish

Note: Next trek in the same route is on 3/4th Dec 2011. If anybody is interested, they can get back to us ASAP


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