Entranced by Namdapha – The Trip – Part 2

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Entranced by Namdapha – The Trip – Part 2

Continued from https://lovethewild.wordpress.com/2012/11/17/entranced-by-namdapha-the-trip-part-1/

 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.

Kitten....Tired out after playing

Kitten….Tired out after playing

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.

Larva and Caterpillars of the Bird Dropping Moth

Larva and 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.

River

The River

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!

Lunch enroute

After lunch, we wanted to continue the trail but were advised by Mr Singpho to complete the rest of the journey inside the vehicle, since it would soon be too dark to see anything. Sun rise and Sun sets in the North-East are very early as compared to the rest of India…which is why Arunachal Pradesh is also known as the local ‘Land of the rising Sun’.

Soon all of us piled inside the vehicle and stood along the sides, hanging on to the wooden edges for our dear life. The vehicle ride was no less than a roller coaster ride…thrilling and fun and as the road went up and down the uneven mountain track, we struggled to maintain our balance.

The Roller Coaster Ride
The Roller Coaster Ride

The super-jerky ride finally came to an end. We had finally reached the campsite. Everyone got down and walked the remaining way to the campsite. I along with my soon to be roomie, followed Mr. Singpho to the campsite by the river bed and got a pleasant surprise. On a wooden log, at the base of the steps leading upto the tents, were seated the cutest children from Arunachal Pradesh, who were all smiles and greeted us with a ‘Good Evening’ in sweet chorus.

Good Evening! :-) :-) :-)

Good Evening! 🙂 🙂 🙂

The campsite itself had a breath taking view of the Noa-Dehing River and the mountain ranges behind it. We all chose our tents for the stay, which were going to be mainly our bedrooms for 2 days.

The campsite with the breath taking view

The campsite with the breath taking view

The Noa-Dehing River
The Noa-Dehing River

The sky soon grew dark at about 4:30 PM and we started a camp fire. After warming our feet by the campfire, we all traipsed over to a tree where a light trap had been set up for Mothing. A number of big and small Moths had gathered, lured by the light reflected on the white sheet that had been hung up for the purpose. One of our group leaders, Mrs Shubhalaxmi Vaylure, also known as the ‘Moth Lady of India’ identified the various Moth species and shared interesting information about them with us.

Tiger Moth attracted by the Light Trap at Namdapha

Tiger Moth attracted by the Light Trap at Namdapha

At 7:30 PM, dinner was ready and we all headed to the river bed, where the buffet had been laid on a wooden table. The sky was flooded with moonlight and twinkling stars. A hot and yummy dinner later, we were all ready to bunk for the night.  Our first day at Namdapha was finally over and we had a lot more to look forward to the next day.

 

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