Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"There is a way that nature speaks. Most of the time we are simply not patient enough to pay attention to the story." -Linda Hogan

Post by: Raja
One of the first things that we did on our trip to Kerala was head to the Periyar Tiger Reserve in the middle of the Gavi (pronounced Gay-Vee) Rainforest. The Gavi Rainforest sits in the valleys of the Western Ghat Mountain Range which is one of India's largest. The mountain range extends from India's Southern tip all the way up to Mumbai - that is roughly the same distance, or a little longer, than the Appalachain Mountain Range in North America.

The safari "tour" that we did consisted of a jeep safari ride through the fringe of the Gavi Rainforest at 5:30AM, a hike through the jungle, breakfast and lunch at the "Green Mansion," and then a return trip through the rainforest around 5PM. What was it like? You can see everything below!

We got up early for the safari (5AM!), but look how excited we look!

We drove about 40 minutes from the edge of the rainforest where our cabin was to get to the entrance of the preserve. Along the way, hundreds of tea plantations dotted the landscape. Here is a picture of one.

Here we are about to enter the preserve.

Our first "Catch" of the day - a baby owl!

Here we are atop one of the highest ridges in the Preserve - the view from here is great.

Our jeep that we rode in during our safari.

This is where we had breakfast and lunch. A nice little garden area in the middle of the Preserve that provides a touch of civilization (and nourishment!) for visitors.

After breakfast, we set out on our trek!

A few pictures of things we saw throughout the trek - a giant ant nest (yes, nest), Beth and our crew picking their way through the dense jungle, a breathtaking view from a ridge.

This is a jungle camp. Visitors to the preserve can spend the night here and go out on night treks. This is actually one of the best ways to see some of the wildlife as many of the animals nap during the day to avoid getting out in the blazing sun. Notice the big moat around the camp. They just built that last month because an elephant actually came into the camp one night and started pushing on the hut. I can't imagine how exciting (and frankly a little scary) that would have been!

This waterfall is REALLY high up and during/just after the rainy season they say that it is gorgeous. Unfortunately, we came just at the end of the dry season so by this point it had all dried up. At least it was a great place for us to stop for a bit and rest our feet!

We saw a bunch of monkeys in these trees while we were sitting on top of the waterfall...more to come on that later.

Giant Spider...more breathtaking views.. ho hum ;)

Now this - the highlight of the trip so far. Luckily, I was able to capture this big guy swinging from tree to tree. Trust me...this took lots of skill...these buggers are fast!

This is me chillin' in the jeep. Time to finally head home...but the fun isn't over yet!

This is a giant squirrel and a massive bison (the guide said it probably weighed about 4000lbs - thats like the size of an Accord) that we saw on our way home that evening.

That's pretty much everything that we did on our 12 hour Rainforest/Jungle Safari. I have to let everyone know that Beth was a real trooper on this adventure. She wasn't feeling well due to a little stomach bug that she had left over from our Delhi/Punjab trip, and started feeling really ill towards the end of our 4 hour trek, but she toughed it out and made it back to the camp. I was really proud of her (her nose was even bleeding for some reason although I don't think it was from the stomach bug - I really have no idea why it was bleeding)!

All in all it was a great day and we definitely saw some very neat and different things. After we got back to the cabin, we had a nice shower to refresh ourselves, had a great dinner, and went to bed listening to the sounds of the jungle. The next morning, we were up at 5AM again and headed towards our next adventure - a night on a houseboat on the Kerala backwaters!


Rhonda Walker said...

Oh my goodness, great post Raja! Ok giant everything in India, squirrels, spiders, bison and everything. I guess it's a good thing I'm not there. =) No giant mother in law for you. Thanks for posting, I had been missing seeing what you guys are doing. I hear about it but having pictures to look at helps me feel like I'm there. You guys take care. Love ya!

Rhonda Walker said...

Oh yeah I can't imagine what it would do to Beth to be woke up in the middle of the night by an elephant trying to tip her bed over. She might need therapy for life. =)

Jenny said...

Raja that was a great post! I felt like I was really there! Although the picture of the spider kind of freaked me out. If I had been there that would have been a dead spider! The video of the monkey was cool too! I wish I could have been there to take pictures! I'm still learning to use the camera though. I'm glad ya'll have fun and I look forward to reading another of your posts!

Jenny said...

Ok Raja...I'm ready for another!

The Freeman Family said...

Raja posted! Looks fun. A suggestion/request, a map on the side bar of the blog pointing/showing all of your travels. Kinda like "Where in the world are Beth and Raja"!.

Why are the signs in English rather than Hindi?

Beth + Raja Gupta said...

Your map idea is a good one.. let me check into seeing if this is an option on here, and I'll do it if so. :) Thanks! And the signs are in English around the wildlife preserve because it's a huge tourist spot and most tourists can read/speak at least some English. The main language in Kerala is much different, and their writing is made up of very curly characters -- very pretty! :)