Tag Archives: jungle

Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

Patthar Camp, Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh

I took this photograph while leading a Secret Compass expedition to be the first people to trek the length of the Sar Di river in the remote Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh. It took us two days of hard slogging through dense jungle and steep mountains to get to Patthar or Rock Camp. You can see our camp on the lefthand bank; notice three figures on the river bank just below camp. The leaves were just starting to change into their autumn colours.

In the fading light I took this shot, perched on a boulder in the middle of the river. The sunset failed to provide much colour so I opted for three bracked shots and merged them to produce this high dynamic range photograph.

This is where I took this photograph.

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The majestic forests of Arunachal Pradesh

The breathtaking forests of Arunachal Pradesh

The team taking a break in majestic forests of the Sar Di valley, Arunachal Pradesh (Click on the photo for a larger version)

A vertical panorama of the team taking a break in the majestic forests of the Sar Di valley in the remote eastern Himalayas of Arunachal Pradesh, India

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A Woodsman’s Trail in Darkest London

Woodmans Trail in Darkest London - Times

I found this newspaper article from The Times about an account of a meeting with the legendary Jim Corbett. I think the best bit is about Jim Corbett getting lost in the urban jungle that is London. He forgets the name of his hotel and uses his jungle tracking skills to find his way back. This is how it goes:

On arriving in London Jim Corbett says “I had an evening meal in the hotel but the buildings were so marvellous that I had to go out and see them. However far I went, they were always different; and so I went on until the streets were empty. There was a policeman so I said: “How do I get back to the Hotel?” “We have a good many hotels in South Kensington”, he said, “but if you tell me its name I can probably help you”. “Oh, I never asked the name.” “Well, what street was it in?” “I’m afraid I didn’t ask either”. “I’m no good to you, then, sir; so good-night!”

The first step was easy; it was to walk back as far as I could see from where I had halted. After that I went slowly, picking up one clue after another – perhaps a broken window upstairs, or a shop sign that had for one second reflected a lamp as it swung. The worst place was where a lot of roads met; I think it must have been Piccadilly Circus. I went a little way down each in turn. One seemed to have too steep a slope, so did the next one. One was too short and one had a curve that I couldn’t recognise.

Finally I found my way; my eye picked out a poster that had one corner torn away. Soon I came to another place with four or five roads leading off it, and here I was almost stumped. But somewhere about there had been a narrow gully between two tall buildings, where the wind had blown on my right cheek as I passed. Sure enough, I found the gully, and the wind was now on my left cheek, so I went on. Sometimes I had to go over the ground twice, but I got back to the hotel, with some part of the night still left.”

Click on the article to view a larger copy and read the rest of the account.

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I don’t normally take photographs of cats but when I do……………

Bandhavgarh National Park

Tiger in the grass, Bandhavgarh National Park

On a trip to Bandhavgarh National Park in India we went on an early morning drive through the jungle. We saw a lot of animals while on the drive, deer, monkey, peacock, pigs but no sign of a tiger. The driver then got a call on his cell phone that a tiger had been spotted nearby. He drove us to the spot and it was bit of a circus by the time we had got there. A fleet of cars had already pulled up and visitors were being ferried a short distance through the long grass on elephant-back to see the tigers. We almost turned around and left but then decided to go for the ride.

I paid my fee and climbed onto the back of the kneeling elephant. We crashed through the tall grass towards the middle of a large clearing. A large female tigress was laying fast asleep in the shade of a small tree completely oblivious to the commotion created by the elephants milling around her. She had obviously seen it all before. She was accompanied by two adolescent cubs who were having the time of their lives playfully stalking the domestic elephants and dashing through the grass chasing each other. They tumbled around in the grass and took gently swipes at each other like house cats.

You can see one of the adolescents crouched in the grass, staring right at me. Luckily I was safely perched on the back of an elephant.



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Advice for trekking in the jungle

Trekking through the jungle on steep slopes

Trekking through the jungle on steep slopes

Here are a few points I learnt about travel in the jungle after a 400km expedition through the jungles of Madagascar:

  • Use antibacterial wet wipes or cloth soaked in Detol solution for a full body wipe down especially armpits, crotch and feet to prevent fungal infections in humid conditions
  • Nappy san or nappy rash cream is great for fungal infections, rashes chafing or athletes foot
  • Do not wear gortex or waterproof boots. Wear light canvas boots that drain easily.
  • Never leave your boots outside you tent over night as some nasty critter might use it as a home. Plant a couple of sticks in the ground and invert your boots on these sticks. Give them a good shake before you put them on again.
  • Use short ankle gaiters to prevent stones and twigs getting into your feet. I used canvas ones with elastic on top
  • Look after your feet every evening without fail. Just before going to bed dry your feet and areas between your toes, rub your soles with cream like Climbers Salve. Keep one pair of socks which are always dry for putting on at night. Great article by Andrew Skurka here
  • Attend to all cuts, nicks and blisters before they start acting up
  • Carry good quality waterproof ducktape or gaffa tape to fix everything from your equipment to your body.
  • Wear heavy duty canvas pants which have a good range of motion not thin quick dry variety. Why? You will always be wet so there is no point trying to be dry while you are moving. Heavy duty canvas will protect you against thorns, spikes, leeches, biting insects, grazes and falls. They will also not rip apart easily. Yes, they will be heavier when wet but I figure that their advantages out weigh the slight increase in weight.
  • Treat and blisters, apply tape and pads like Compeed patches in evening as this gives the glue time to set over night and they will stay on a lot longer. Warm Compeed pads between your palms before applying as this makes them sticker (You will learn to love the oh-so-expensive Compeed pads!)
  • In wet conditions, the morning apply a thick layer of Vaseline to the soles of your feet before putting your boots on (obviously). This will act as a barrier for water and help stave off foot rot.
  • For leeches, carry a bunch of Tobacco leaves in a zip lock bag. Keep one handy, when you get a leech pinch it off with the leaf. The tobacco burns their skin and they release almost instantly
  • Take off your shoes and dry your feet at afternoon breaks.
  • I found this by accident, take up barefoot running or just skuff the soles of you feet by running barefoot in a paved car park (sprint, jog, change directing, run sideways). This will hurt and be very uncomfortable but you will soon end up with bulletproof or blisterproof skin on your soles. I did this and didn’t end up getting a single blister on a 400km jungle trek in Madagascar. Blisters are your enemy and in the jungle where you are constantly wet they do not heal very well and can get infected very easily. Some guys on the Mada trek for huge blisters on their feet on day two of a 16 day trek and had a very bad time.
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