This morning we left the hotel at 6am to take tuk-tuks into Periyar National Park. After waiting for a while in the Saturday-morning park entrance traffic jam, we took a chilly ride into the park.

Once in the park, we waited for about an hour for our tickets (and signed our “release” forms in case we got eaten by tigers). During this time, we amused ourselves by watching the Indian tourists show up in brightly colored saris and thin sandals to go looking for wildlife.

Once we had tickets in hand, we all donned “leech socks” over our socks and walked down to the water where we were faced with our first challenge of the day – to cross the water to the other side in a rather primitive-looking raft.

It was a beautiful day for a walk, and as we strolled deeper into the park, the sounds of cell phones and strains of Hindi conversations faded, replaced by bird calls and the warning hoots from the monkeys high in the treetops.

We spotted our first monkeys of the day way off in the distance, just hanging out in the very top of a tree.

Unfortunately, most of the wildlife was in hiding. We were hoping to at least see elephants, but had no luck. The closest we got to a tiger was a footprint in the mud.

We did see another group of monkeys – note the really long tails on these guys.

And the scenery was sure beautiful!

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