It was about 5:30 when I decided to get up. Sat there for 5 minutes on the edge of the bed, just trying to let the slumber fade away, brushed my teeth, and stepped out. It seemed a little new to me, that there wasnt the same intensity of the sun when I woke up just 5 minutes ago. The staff at the camp had taken an order for a cup of morning tea the night before, so, just when I went in to have a wash, the tea had arrived and was served on the table, ready and hot. Soon after that, I got the permit and a guard cum guide, which is mandatory to enter the forest with, to go trekking. There was a bit of delay, though. So, despite our plans to leave by 6-6:15, we had to wait till 6:30 am, and, I tell you, if you wait just 15 minutes longer, it would feel like you started mid day. The trekking starts by first, getting you across the river, kameng/jiya bhoroli, on a wooden boat. The whole ride is just pleasantly beautiful, and must be the first shot of Nameri’s Cupid. Once on the other side, you must cross the deep sands of the banks and reach the camp on the other side, where you cut the tickets, show your IDs and move on. The walk from the boat to the camp must be around half a kilometer. The best advice is to stick to the edges of the banks! We trekked for about 7 kilometers through plain bushes and shrubs, trees brought down by Elephants, wet lands, where logs are laid for convenient crossing. The main attraction there are the birds according to the staff and the guards. Dont forget to pack binoculars and zoom lenses if you are planning for a bird watch! Halfway in, we were treated by the paw prints of a tiger. It seemed not too while ago as it was quite intact and not messed with by any foreign item. Next, we heard some deer barkings and came across fresh elephant droppings. The later put us on a sort of “alert mode”. You see, I don’t know about anyone else, but I think I speak for generally anyone who has ever been inside a forest and came face to face with Wild Elephants, when I say, that the elephant deserves its own share of respect. The guards soon asked us to keep up the pace for safety. I was a little in awe of the shuffle of emotions from curious to cautious. As to make things more complicated, on one of the frequent halts, when the guard gives you the names of something he spots, there came a shrieking cry that just blistered its sonic way over the jungle. It was short, loud, unexpected, and the only one. We knew what it was. The guard had told us before. We saw the paw prints along the way. It was a tiger kill. He must have had the deer by its throat in the first attempt. The whole of the forest, as if, went into sudden numbness. We instinctively were constrained of our movements. As we waited for a few seconds and let our senses come back, we looked at the guard and around us. We knew, and he knew, we were not alone, but, somehow, as if a burden has been taken off us, as if a debt has been paid by someone else for us, we trekked to completion. It is strange how a feeling of fear can be changed by the final futile call from the wild itself, to an emotion of sticking to your plan, bringing you to the things you’d better do. Soon after, about 20 minutes, we arrived back at the camp from where we got those tickets. We rested for about 5-10 minutes there. Entered our names and signatures, and headed on back to the boat. It was as if the experiences of fear and anticipation were forgotten and we were all just truly happy to do what we’d come to do. Satisfied, we took the boat to travel back to the other side of the river. The trekking experience was good. Also, it was quite hot, this time of the year. The beauty of the Kameng or Jiya-bhoroli is breathtaking. The river, white sandy and lush green shrubs and the blue mountains and ice caped Himalayas in the distance; all those shades of blue, white and, green make for a scenic view. Rowing on the kameng gives you a divine and serene feeling. Ah, it has been worth a trip!
If you are there by any chance on a clear day in the winter or spring, try rafting level 1.