|Tall trees in the sanctuary. I had taken off my ladies coat for the picture and was shivering!|
What comes to your mind when you hear wildlife sanctuary? Wild animals roaming in the wild I bet! But after a not so expected stint at many sanctuaries ( Jim Corbett, Rajaji, Kaziranga, Nandan Kanan, Ghana etc) I totally gave up this thought. Only Ghana is the place where you can watch thousands of birds without any effort (during winters of course). Come on lets be practical. If wild animals roam freely on the trails, then what would happen to us visitors? We would be devoured within no time! Its not that the sanctuaries don't have animals. They do; but they are usually resting in their own niches and they come out in the open only during nightime. The trails or the safaris are built/ planned in the way so as to cause minimum disturbance to the animals. And if you are lucky enough, you may spot a tiger in Jim Corbett or a wild elephant in Rajaji national park.
I realized that the best part of sanctuaries is to take a safari or to follow the trails. Forget that you are here to spot any animal, enjoy the untouched nature all around. And you can spot a harmless deer crossing the trail or flocks of birds chirping. Just absorb the beauty all around.
|At the entry of the sanctuary the next day...Since it was dark the previous day, I coaxed our driver to pay a visit again; so that I could take a picture of the gate!|
Kalatop Sanctuary is located on the outskirts of Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh. Though it was a very short trip, we decided to explore Kalatop. Our limbs were sore from trekking to Dainkund Peak, but that evening was the only time when we could explore Kalatop. In fact our driver forbade us not to take any risk but that did not deter the super adventurous us ( me, hubs, mom; my Dad is of the less adventurous type).
There are two ways to explore Kalatop: by a jeep safari and of course by foot. We decided to go on foot. It was a big deal considering that we had a baby with us: either my hubs or my dad had to carry her and walk on the hills simultaneously. It was 4.2 kms one way,therefore eight and a half metres in total.
Initially it was really fun. We four were walking together. The road was very beautiful, with really tall pine trees on both sides, musty odour of the trees and the eerie silence of the woods. We could see jeeps coming back as it was dusk already. Natural light was already being shut off by the towering trees. We did not feel scared; we pranced along. In some places we spotted molten snow too and at some places it was slippery.
|My baby restless in my Dad's arms!It was impossible for me to carry her and hike!|
Problem arose when our daughter started yearning for my lap. I could not possibly carry her and walk along the hills of course. I am not that strong! Actually she was sleepy and hungry. So we found a place to sit and we started feeding her. The cold wind was intolerable. I was scared for her. Was I forgetting the duties of a parent and being overtly adventurous? We asked my parents to go ahead and said we would catch up.
|The chill was becoming intolerable..I am a huge fan of womens jackets and womens shrugs and I had piled them on my body!|
It took quite a while to pacify her and then she went to sleep. Now a sleeping baby is even tougher to carry and that too with blanket wrapped around. Still a km was left. Long before we could reach the end point, we spotted my parents coming back. It was almost dark. My adventurous mom (surprisingly) tried to deter us from going further but my less adventures Dad said that we should definitely finish the trail since we had come so far.
|Forest House at the end of the trail|
My dad scooped my daughter from her father's arms and they started their way back. We tried to run the rest of the trail. It was a lovely park with beautiful stone houses. There was also a board that said' Khajjiar: Switzerland Of India'. We were happy that we completed the trail.
|2 more kilometres to go!|
|Khajjiar...Switzerland of India...|
|The woods were dark and scary|
As we came to our senses, we noticed that it was almost dark. Now we froze. It was the time for the animals to come out. We started running and we ran as much as we could. WE panted; drank water, caught our breaths and again started running. We could hear wild eerie noises.I was worried for my parents and my daughter. I screamed out my parent's names. My voice echoed but there was no answer. My Dad was of a certain age and he was carrying a baby on the hills and luggage too. I hoped they all were safe. Finally we saw them sitting at the end of the trail. It was pitch dark but we were safe at last.
Here are a few coats for women to create a chic look for such temps:
This black overcoat is classy and warm. Throw it over anything and you are good to go! Find this here.
A black jacket with white piping is elegant. Battle cold in style. Find this here.
I looked for a lot of women's shrugs online and found this. Is not it pretty? Find this here.
A bordeaux long overcoat. Chicness overload. Find this here.