.Maenam Trip report.
This was a much awaited trip which was supposed to be in the month of February 11 but political disturbances in the hills prevented us from packing our bags. Two more of my friends always accompany me on all birding trips I make, though they have no connection with birds or photography what so ever.
As decided earlier, on 9th March, 2011 we started out journey from Kolkata, in my car, and made a night halt at Siliguri(600km). We were en route Rabong the next day morning through the winding roads of north Bengal and thereafter Sikkim. Rabong is in west Sikkim, has to be approached from Namchi. Since the main traffic pressure is Gangtok road, the steep curves of west Sikkim are rather empty or very less traffic. Rabong is 150km from Siliguri, takes around 5 hrs of peace full travelling. One can enjoy a lunch or breakfast on the empty mountain road under a tree and it feels like heaven. We carry all our food in the car, be it chicken, rice, eggs, water, ice…. A small click stove that we have always come handy in such situation.
Rabong is a small village town, the best accommodation there is Mt. Narasing Village resort. Built in contemporary wooden style, this place is a sheer joy just for nature lovers. The landscapes are filled with flowers and bees. This becomes our second night halt.
Day3: Big day, Leaving our car at the resort, we head for the forest office of Maenam Wild life sanctuary just 2km form Rabong. On the way one will see a huge Buddha statue being built, new monastery coming up. Finishing documentation at the office, we three along with a guide head up to Maenam peak, 10500ft from sea level. This is one hell of a climb and takes around 5-6 hrs normally, we took 10 hrs, more so because of the weight we were carrying. Everything we required for the 4 nights stay were with us, tents that we carried were the only means of accommodation. I carried my lens fixed to the tripod as I did not want to miss photographic opportunities. Reaching the top is like a dream come true, plants, flowers with medicinal value is everywhere… what a scene/ view one gets to see.
Day 4 is all about wandering, me alone. Avoid others accompanying me as that’s disturbance to avian life. Dressed in green, with my camera, lens and tripod, I keep moving up and down but do not take photographs. I generally do this the first day of every trip trying to find locations to set up my hide. There will be 2-3 spots which I narrow down to and will sit at one spot for a day or two depending on the quality of shoots. Come back once at my camping site in the afternoon to have lunch and then head off. Day coming to an end, spots decided, I head back to my tent, awaiting a lovely dinner and drinks under the open sky).
Day 5 inside the tent before sunrise waiting for the drama to begin…..