March 9th

Were in the jeep at 6am heading for the elephant area. We get to the park entrance and its another 5 miles on a gravel road and streams. Other jeeps were there at the gate as well – you have to check in with officials.

The whole deal is to be one of the first ones through as there are only 3 elephants. So all the drivers took off at once which had the feeling of a Nascar race. Jake, you would love it. We plowed through streams; raced down the road. We were the second jeep in.

Turns out everyone got to ride at the same time anyway, but it was fun arriving.

There are four to an elephant plus the driver. What an experience! We saw all kinds of deer, monkeys, vultures, wild elephants and tiger poop. Back to Corbott Lodge and we all had a great breakfast on the outside veranda.

A shower, then pack and were off to Dwarahut – a 7 hour ride. The foothills of the Himalayas are so beautiful. We all thought Raniket was the best place we've been so far. It’s a lot like Big Bear or Idyllwilde in terms of air and trees. Because of the steep hillsides, there are lots of terraced areas filled with growing, deep green wheat.

The schools look better; the kids are neater and healthier looking as are the buildings and structures. The school kids all dress in neat, blue and white uniforms. Also, lots of military as well. Pristine and neat with natural, outdoor charm is a way to put it. We stopped here for a bus repair. While waiting, we climbed up the hill a short ways and had our box lunches. Cows and goats came up and we fed them.

The lady who owned the animals was laughing at our attempts to do this, although Ewing seemed like an old hand at it.

When repairs were complete, we took off through the market area. Great shops. I should have had Bob stop the bus so I could get a cheap watch and towel. But this is Master's trip. So either he wants me to get these things in Dwarhut or do without. We stop at a nice little restaurant for chai tea and a pit stop. The owners were real nice folks. So sweet – from living in nature I think.

Well onward over winding, curving roads cutting through hillsides dotted with terraced, small villages, beautiful cherry (white) blossom trees - so beautiful.

We arrive at Dwarhut YSS ashram at 6:30pm. They had had no notification that we were coming. But Swamiji got us rooms anyway although the girls had reservations about theirs. YSS ashrams are always improving and their room still had unfinished construction work. Teri said she is going to sleep in the temple. We had a nice service for Sri Yukteswar led by Ewing.

But Bob is right; one excepts what you are given. You can still make it better though. So maybe us guys will try to finish the project.

Tomorrow is a free day. So I went to town and purchased a watch and towel. Were thinking about hiking to Babaji’s cave – about 20 kilometers away.