Miao, Arunachal, Forest Guest House – Hot breakfast of Puris and vegetable and bread butter with steaming hot tea awaited us at the forest guest house. Mr Phupla Singpho, our local host for Arunachal Pradesh had everything arranged to satisfaction. In all we were a group of 21 camp participants and since everyone was from a different professional background and place, a round of introductions seemed to be in order.
A cute little kitten decided to join the party and add to the fun, weaving in and out around everyone’s legs and baggages.
After the introductions, Mr. Singpho educated us on the habits of the leeches and distributed ‘Leech socks’ a must for a walk in Namdapha Forest, INR 150 a pair. Although, a leech bite is not painful, the idea of someone sucking on your blood does not exactly make you feel comfortable and all of us readily bought a pair and put it on. The plan for the day was a walk through Namdapha to the campsite. Our luggage would be carried there on the vehicles and lunch was supposed to be on the way.
And thus started the first trek at Namdapha Forest. We reached the Forest Gate where we paid the camera charges for the entire length of the trip, INR 100 a day for a regular point and shoot and INR 500 a day for a professional camera. And at the gate itself on the wall of the forest officer’s cabin, we had our first sighting, the larva and the caterpillars of the Bird Dropping Moth.
After walking a bit further, we came across a river, which an enthusiastic few chose to cross on foot. Most of us however opted to keep our feet dry anticipating a long walk ahead and were ferried across the river by the vehicles carrying our luggage.
After crossing the stream, we enjoyed a long walk through the Forest. Along the way, we watched several pretty and colorful butterflies fluttering past, giant-sized Giant Red wood spiders enjoying a feast in their webs, Signature Spider webs, cleverly disguised Moths, Scarab Beetles, dozens of small birds roosting on a fruiting tree, wild flowers and tall evergreen trees. A few times in between, we got marvellous views of the landscape; carpets of green bounded by the mountain ranges.
All of us were so mesmerized by the views, that we almost forgot that we hadn’t had lunch. It was only 3:00 PM and the sun had already crossed the zenith and started its descent on the other side. We were feeling half starved by then and kept a sharp look out for the promised lunch. Finally the much awaited vehicle arrived with our lunch on the trail. Delicious hot potato vegetable, rotis, dal and rice…everything tastes so much better when one is outdoors, hungry and the food is hot!