The started innocuously enough: breakfast with the Aussies from yesterday, and packing up for the overnight trekking that I booked. I was supposed to be picked up at 9:15, and by 9:45, I was wondering if I'd been taken for a ride when I booked it.
I coerced the hotel front desk to call and ask. They were running about 45 minutes late. No worries.
We made a couple of tourist stops: a standard stop at a butterfly/ orchid farm, and the second was at a place where they turn elephant poop into paper. That was different.
Finally we (two 20-something teachers from Catalona, an overweight father and his young son from Denmark, and me) made it to where we were going to start. After a sketchy lunch at a roadside "bistro", we headed up into the forest.
This was what I came for. Hot, humid and every shade of green. Video and photos don't do it justice, though I tried.
I had a good idea where I may have dropped it, and double-timed it back up the trail. Thankfully, and fortuitously, I spotted the black phone only partially hidden a couple of feet off the trail.
I grabbed it and headed back to where the rest of the group was waiting and we finished the trek with no further mishaps.
After reaching a "road", we walked another 400 meters to our stop for the night: a small village of about 12 people, 3 elephants, and a dozen well-fed and friendly dogs. I didn't count the chickens. After a beer, (solar powered fridge), we got the chance to feed and bathe the elephants. That was pretty dang cool. Damn, they're big! To get to the river, we slogged through a stagnant, shin-deep mud bog. And that's where I picked up the leech. My first encounter and hopefully my last. Yuck. Pulled it off, and it continued to bleed for a good 1/2 hour longer. Used a split cigarette to staunch it. Another first.
We then were introduced to our sleeping quarters, before getting dinner. The Hilton it isn't. The food was a decent green curry though.
It's 8:00 and I'm ready to crash. Tomorrow is another day, and another trek.
Act Two: Underwhelmed
Day two was supposed to be more difficult hiking. It wasn't. It was a stroll up a road, and a short stint in a conga line to see a waterfall. As luck would have it, I led the line, so I got a decent photo before the others arrived and used it as a water slide.
we also did a 25 minute white water rafting event. Yep. 25 minutes. Yawn.
i was glad to make it back to a nice shower, dropping clothes at a laundry, and Khao Soi (my new favorite Thai dish) for dinner. And a more comfortable bed in a couple of hours.
Here's to the mountain biking I'm doing tomorrow to give me a thrilling adrenaline rush or even an elevated heart rate. Failing that, I'm looking at you, Koh Chang.