One night, on our way back to the forest rest house (it was pretty late), we narrowly (and luckily) missed an encounter with a wild male tusker. Imagine a forest trail lit up by the Gypsy headlights. Visibility is limited, since mist is swirling everywhere. And then you see the fresh footprints of a big elephant on the narrow track, which is flanked by 12 feet tall elephant grass on both sides (so no way of turning quickly, and lateral visibility is almost nil). The forest guide told us that the elephant had been on the road a little while back, and we needed to be very careful (apparently that pachyderm was a cranky one). So we ended up driving slowly and carefully through the mist, especially at every blind curve. I wasn’t too concerned, since I encounter elephants regularly when driving in the Nilgiri forests, so knew that as long as we saw it before it sensed us, and maintained a safe distance, we would be alright. I guess it was more thrilling for my friends who don’t face such situations often .
In the end, this trip was not about sighting and shooting wildlife, but more about experiencing the forest with all my senses, and chasing the light. Not that it stopped me from cribbing when the scene was lovely and the light was perfect, but there was no animal subject for my photos. I plan to be back in Dudhwa again, when the grass has dried up, and when there is a higher chance of encountering the Dudhwa tigers. Perhaps I will do that long drive from Bangalore and club the Dudhwa trip with Corbett and Pangot.