Where exactly is this stream you may ask, well for starters the moment you step into the Deep Jungle Home camp at Mudumalai, you can hear the welcome gurgle of the stream as it rushes behind the Swiss tents. The ever bubbly stream is just off the periphery of the campsite and separates the camp site from the forest and this is where the kids go to swim, canoeing, and even bamboo rafting.
What role does the stream play in the campsite? Well, some may say it doubles up as a camp counselor, helping the kids unwind after a serene trek in the forest, or after they’re back from a rewarding bird watching trail, or even after a friendly game of volleyball between the counselors and the kids.
The stream however is not just a body of water that flows behind the campsite; it is a treasure trove of wildlife-apple snails and other molluscs, fishes, paddy field crabs, tadpoles of bicolored frogs, even some insects such as water striders and pond skaters call the stream home.
When the kids do go off on their ‘stream fishing’ crusades, to gain more points over the other teams- the catch often consists of multiple fish, crabs, insects and tadpoles. After the counselors have inspected the days catch, tallied up the results, shown the kids what wildlife the stream can harbor and given them snippets of captivating information on some of these, the catch is let back into its natural habitat.
At night if one is quiet and paying complete attention to the sounds of the jungle, you will be able to hear the Chital or spotted deer as they come to drink water from the stream. Camera traps have also shown us Honey Badgers, Leopards and other small mammals like civet cats frequenting the stream and the adjoining areas to quench their thirst.
Stream play is however something that happens without fail and is what every child at Frolic Boonies waits for in anticipation. The kids run off to their tents, change into their shorts and tees and jump right into the cool, inviting waters. The bamboo raft is a favorite as is the canoe which every kid loves to take a ride along the stream as it bubbles through the forests of Mudumalai. Frolic Boonies surely lives up to its name in this aspect, where the kids sit by the stream beaming with smiles, while others rest in the hammocks swaying in the gentle breeze and the more adventurous of the lot dive right into the stream to cool off after a hot day at camp.
No matter how much or how little time you spend by this stream, the memory will never fade, just as the stream never waits for anyone as it courses along its path; traversing the dry deciduous forests of Mudumalai. Deep in the jungle the animals as well frolic in the waters after a hot day, after all; who doesn’t like a nice cool dip on a hot summers day.
Author: Joiston Perira – A Naturalist with passion for conserving wildlife and natural habitat, he recently revived the annual bird survey / census at various water bodies / lakes of Bangalore.0