Indian Giant Squirrel
Harper Ganick
University of Hyderabad, India
This is an excerpt from Harper's post "Monsoon Vacation" 

Our very lofty goal was to see wild elephants, but it's best to see them in the early morning and even then only if you're lucky. Almost as soon as we began our hike we saw a Giant Indian Squirrel (which is classified as threatened). It was cool, but mostly just weird lookin'. Not too cute. That and a snake that Kaia nearly stepped on (just a teeny-tiny brown one) was the only wildlife we saw. However, we saw signs of elephants everywhere, including elephant poop from that very morning! and tracks leading to the river.

If you've ever gone hiking with me, or just walked with me outside, you'll know that I'm a very slow hiker because I have to see and touch everything. So me and one of the guides brought up the rear, which turned out to be just fine because he told me neat things about what we were seeing and hearing. one of the coolest things was a low-laying branch that was polished smooth by elephants scratching their backs up against it! Our trek culminated in a beautiful, giant waterfall. Our guides didn't really speak much English, but they made  it clear that I wasn't supposed to go to near the waterfall. However, I thought that was dumb because I was wearing my bouldering shoes and I know how to climb on slippery things. Once Diana said that she wanted to go closer as well I made my move. I don't think I ignored our guides, I just feigned ignorance as they motioned for me not to go further up the waterfall. Then Diana followed me, so we kind of pressured one of the guides to follow us up the whole side of the waterfall until we were way up and behind it. Right before we left I got my first chance to wash my hair since we left the boat (and by "first chance" I mean that I refused to shower in the freezing water in the guesthouse, and by "wash" I mean stuck my head in the river and beat my hair with rocks).

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