When you are on the road for a year, every single day is different. Some days however, become permanently imprinted into your memory forever. One those days for me was when we went to Periyar National Park. This could have been our last adventure! I am not exaggerating, keep reading.
It was a beautiful sunny day in South India, and we had signed up for an all day trekking tour at Periyar National Park. This is one of Kerala’s most popular national parks due to its beautiful nature and wildlife. People flock to this amazing park, lured by the possibility of spotting wild elephants, deer, boar, and perhaps even tigers!
At 8:00 am sharp we met our guides and the rest of the trekkers. After some brief introductions, we were sitting on a bamboo raft ready to paddle across the gorgeous lake.
Jason worked very hard to paddle us across this huge artificial lake that lies within the national park. Riding the bamboo raft was an incredible way to enjoy the beauty of the forest. It was both peaceful and fun.
While on the bamboo raft we were very lucky to spot some wildlife. In the far distance we noticed a group of water buffalo.
Due to the distance, it is extremely difficult to see but we also saw boar.
Once we reached land, we trekked for several hours hoping to encounter some wildlife up close. Aside from a few deer, we didn’t really see too much. But, I did hold these super heavy antlers that were found in the wild.
Our tour was almost coming to an end. We had been out all day and now it was almost 4:30 pm, and everyone was feeling a bit disappointed since we never saw an elephant. When the group was pretty much convinced we were not going to spot an elephant, an incredible thing happened. Are you thinking, we saw a wild elephant? Yes, you are partially right. Let me explain.
We were hiking in a straight line, and I happened to be near the front. We were about to turn the corner, when our guide told us to immediately stop. Through the bushes we could see some gray and hear some rustling noises. Yes! It was definitely an elephant! Carefully following our guide’s instructions we all moved away from the elephant. Soon we were in an open field about 50 meters away from that grayish wild animal we had spotted seconds before. We had a clear sight of the elephant and other elephants too!! What? There wasn’t just one elephant, or two, or three, there were seven elephants!! Unbelievable!!
Now, this is where things got really crazy. The elephants immediately noticed our presence and began kicking the earth with their legs and trumpeting! Then the 6 adult elephants encircled the small baby elephant. What were they doing? Trying to protect their baby or discussing politics? I don’t know! But, the next thing they did was stand in a line facing us with the baby elephant behind them. I think they were telling us to move away. I turned toward my guide, who was holding a rifle in his hand. He looked terrified. There was so much fear in his eyes! My heart skipped a beat. Seriously, it did. The guide was yelling at everyone to run as fast as they could away from the elephants or else they may attack!
I was starting to feel nervous; after all I was wearing orange. I would definitely be an easy target if those elephants started a stampede. So naturally, it would be wise for me to run for my life, but I didn’t. Why?
This was the part that made me the most petrified. Jason was so thrilled about the seeing the wild elephants, he kept taking their pictures despite the fact the guide had told us to run. Everyone had already left except him and of course me. I couldn’t just leave him behind. I kept yelling at him to run as my stress level continued to increase at the speed of light. Finally, he ran! In fact, he ran pretty fast! Yup, I was the last one to enter the safe zone! What can I say, I am just a slow runner!
Oh, the adrenaline rush. I was terrified and excited simultaneously. Check out our video below, if you don’t believe me!
These were our wonderful guides, who succeeded to keep everyone safe!
So what happened with the elephants? They were probably laughing at us. No, seriously they realized we weren’t a threat and went about their merry day.
Any words of wisdom from me? Yes. Don’t wear orange when you go trekking in the wild.