Travelling in the North-East in the summer of 2006
Guwahati >> Eaglenest >> Tawang >> Nameri >> Kaziranga >> Shillong >> Cherrapunjee
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We moved our base from Sessni camp to Lama camp. Next day, we walked to a lake in the middle of the jungle, through a trail that was referred as Haathi Trail.
Our accommodation in Lama Camp
Darkness cornered us as soon as we left the jeep track and entered into the bridle path that is Haathi Trail. A short walk and I spotted a last season’s bird nest lying on the trail. It was very light, had a layer of lichens inside it that served as cushion to the chicks, reinforced by the outer layer made with thin barks that probably served as sufficient protection. The walls of the nest were thick, and dry lichens would keep the chicks completely warm from the cold outside. Nature has some excellent engineering for everyone to learn from!
Forest on Haathi Trail
Forest was dark and moist, and lichens spread out from every inch of tree barks, giving the whole trail an eerie look. The trees looked so amusing that someone remembered the Ents from Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings! Haathi trail was laid out with incredible beauty all around. The Ents were pretty, and a little higher, we had rhododendron splashed all around the trail. The forest floor was rich with splatter of colors from the leaves of alpines and colorful rhododendrons. And as we continued to walk, a small pristine lake suddenly appeared amidst the trees.
Forest floor on Haathi Trail
Wild flowers on the forest floor
Rhododendron trees on the trail
We stopped near the lake for lunch. A flock of birds arrived from nowhere as we were about to finish our lunch. Rufous-vented(?) Yuhinas and Beautiful Sibias hopped from branch to branch sucking nectar from Magnolia flowers. They were soon joined by Rusty-fronted Barwings and superbly colored Mrs Gould’s sunbirds. We sat quietly and watched their acrobatics for nearly half an hour before moving forward.
A beautiful sibia
A thirty minute walk took us to the top of a mountain and suddenly opened up to the vistas of vast valley on the other side. Curiously, the mountain side we climbed up from had thick evergreen vegetation while the other side was completely pine forest. It was nearly evening when we returned from the walk, and everyone was in agreement about having seen the most beautiful stretch of forest ever.