Wildlands Studies Kumaon 2016 Here are a few images from our fall program in Kumaon. Wildlands + Wildrift: बस कमाल Sattal, in the lakes region of Kumaon. We visited Sattal at the end of the monsoon season. Warm water and cool morning air make a a puddle of convection fog over Ram ad Sita Lake. Kumaon’s Lake basins — the largest and most famous being Nainital — are set just back from the front edge of the hills and drain directly down to the plains. Wish I knew more about the geology of these basins. But I suspect they are due to slumping near the edge of the hills. On the geological time scale, they won’t last long. Here (and above) is our campsite in the Airadeo forest reserve, northeast of Ranikhet. The protected forest (visible on a hill in the background) is dominated by banj oak (Quercus leucotrichophora), buras (Rhododendron arboreum), kaphal (Myrica esculenta) and Lyonia, a rhododendron-cousin. In the foreground is a farm that belongs to villagers who have an inholding in the reserve. By late October, they have harvested just enough of their Cannabis crop so we can pitch tents on the rain fed terraces. Sonia, one of our Wildrift guides, at Airadeo summit on a crisp fall evening. Sonia grew up near Dankuri village, a few hours walk downhill. Now she and her husband live in Ramnager, a town in the plains at the entrance to Corbett National Park. Jagdish, another Wildrift guide, comes from a village near the ridge top town of Mukteshwor. He helped a lot with the logistics of our program. Here we are at the train station in Kathgodam, waiting to take the train to Delhi. The two guys on the left are jeep drivers who have been with us for a couple of weeks, sometimes shuttling gear, sometimes driving us. In the middle, Kesar from Sama Town who worked with us for more than a month, and to the far right, Lali whom we hired to help cook. Second from right is Dylan, one of our students, who comes from Vancouver Island. It’s a fly, not a bee. This beautiful insect came to my arm as we rested after climbing steeply through a nettle-infested gulch. Why not a bee? Note: one pair of wings, relatively large compound eyes, stubby antennae. This chunk of gneiss from the valley above Tejam contains the minerals biotite mica (black) and epidote (pistachio-green). We were also looking for garnet and kyanite, and we found both higher up. Kesar with our host in the village of Simpati, near Mukteshwor. Manoj (above) and Amit (below) are two of the Wildrift founders. They have been exploring Kumaon for many years. Maybe better not to say exactly how many.