The weather for the day was a continuation of the previous. When I got out of the tent, I was greeted by the drizzle and cold breeze. It really is a challenge to convince yourself to get out of the tent in such a weather. And when I got out, I saw Achyut and Madhuri already awake. The overnight rain had changed the place into one big slippery swamp.
The camp leader let us take our own time since the days hike was very short. We left at around 11:00AM and the walk was better than a relaxing one, in the woods with the rain not willing to give us a break. Everyone were cautioned by the slippery terrain when Jay had a bad slip and kissed the ground. But I liked the days trail and weather made it even better. Always preferred monsoon hikes for it makes the forest feel like a real forest (atleast for me) and as we ascended up, the view of the landscape behind was getting increasingly better.
The final couple of kilometer of the hike was the best, with the view of landscape partially covered by the fog to our right. Overwhelming Beauty !!
I fell in love with Maylee camp the instant I saw it. Amazing location it was. Flat terrain with vegetation around and an open view of the landscape infront of the camp. We all loved it infact. The camp leader only made it better for us with his friendly attitude and willingness to interact more with us. We reached the camp by 4:00PM and were greeted by him with warmth. Once we all changed to our dry cloths, he made a big loop and addressed us by introducing himself and talking about the camp spot. He was a retired government senior employee who had worked for the police crime investigation branch in Coimbatore, a small city in Tamilnadu state, southern India.
He narrated to us about this group of tribe who leaved on the other side of the mountain that he pointed us towards. The people of this tribe were apparently descendants of Portugals who had occupied the region before independence and they survived by growing Ganja (Cannabis-drugs) illegally now. The men here smoked Ganja and stayed high the whole day, while woman worked in the field growing Ganja. A very embarrassingly interesting story. He also mentioned about these beautiful woman of the region and how tourists men who checked them out were forced into marrying them and then later let gone for exchange of money by the pathetic lazy husbands. Dramatic stories !!
The dinner was served at 6:30 pm and by now the drizzle had stopped. During dinner, myself and few other guys form IIT Bombay gang, listened to the camp leaders past experience of hiking in Himalayas. Irrespective of how hectic his schedule was, he always made it a point to visit Himalayas every year. And the stories from some of his past crime investigations in coimbatore were also wild and action filled. Quiet an inspiration the man was.
We later gathered for an assembly when the Camp leader made us sing and play some games. Fun time it was. And I sang for the first time in my life to a group J. Camp leader was a very good singer too.
The night sky was beautiful. Sleeping on the rock looking at the open sky with enormous number of stars at 10500 feet, now that’s not something you get to experience frequently. I had totally summoned myself to the view that my eyes were treated with, in the sky. I had no idea what my friends next to me spoke and laughed about. I was just lost in my own world, cherishing the moment. Achyut tried capturing the star trails with his DSLR and the snaps had come out great too. He, Madhuri, Kishan and Nandhini remained outside even after when most of us went inside the tent.
That day night we slept really late thanks to Jay’s entertainment. Jay and Johan’s conversation was insanely fun( I wish I could elaborate on this conversation for it was that amazing. You don’t want to know what all bullshit that was spoken in the tent that night). Jay was in full form and was bugging each one of us in the tent with no prejudice. Lol. We laughed crazy that night….