The day after my Birthday here in Thailand, and on my actual birthday in America, myself and two female travelers I met, decided to trekk to Hua Chang waterfalls- a forgotten waterfall most tourist don’t attempt to visit! And let me tell you, I can understand why!
So as I mentioned in the last blog, I met a woman name Alina from Lithuania and we had planned to rent cycles and ride to the forgotten waterfall! This morning, while picking out bikes, making sure we were getting decent qaulity bikes, we met a woman named Audrey from France, who was getting ready to make the exact same trekk. Excited we chatted and decided to ride and hike together. We got our bikes and off we went.
Now I dont know exactly the distance, but from what we gathered we rode about 7 or 8k through villages, and farm land surrounded by the lushes tropical forest. Stopping to gather mangos for lunch, I took a breath. The sweet sticky juices from the mangos drizzled on my hands, the smell attracting bees and ants. The deep breath filled my lungs with the humid air. I was surrounded by the jungles of Northern Thailand.
From the directions we got, the trekk would be about 1-2 hours through the jungle eventually reaching the waterfall. We crossed the river (the first of many crossings) and began on a seemingly often trekked path. Eventually we came upon a man made waterfall and played for a minute, embracing the beauty of the jungle we were walking in. I had to continue to re-direct my thinking and distract my often thoughts of spiders, and snakes. I mean afterall we were in the jungle, and those thoughts were completely rational!
I continued to admire how brave and courages these two women were, they didn’t seem phased by the jungle at all. To try and describe the noises that we heard is almost impossible. I think the best way for me to describe it was it sounded as though saw’s were cutting down trees and major construction was happening all around us. Reality was it was all of the bugs, and creatures making such a rucus. We saw beautiful plants and flowers, a spider the size of my face, and I was just waiting for a python or cobra to say hello. The girls really helped reassure me that all of these creatures were more scared of me than I was of them and making noise keeps them away. We talked a lot and I really enjoyed listening to their accents and hearing about their lives and adventures. It was very comforting to see that I had met two brave and adventurous woman on a similar path as myself.
The man with the Bamboo Raft…
Eventually we came upon a motorbike (there was not much sign of human life in these jungles just fyi). Audrey peaked down to see who was with the bike, it was a local man with a large knife! haha but he was totally harmless. We asked what he was doing, and though he barely spoke english he showed us. He was building a bamboo raft, much like a paddle board back home. The girls jumped on while I watched, somewhat afraid of what was in the river as well as laughing while they tried to manuever on this raft. They had bamboo poles to use as paddles and eventually found balance and paddled around. I hopped on next and paddled away, how cool! Out here deep in the Thailand Jungle, paddling on a homemade bamboo raft. We had many laughs and jokes, the man asked us if we were going to the waterfall and offered to lead us there. Again, my western thinking had my thoughts racing, while staring at this huge knife he carried (it was to cut bamboo). The girls and I accepted happily and off we went. Oh right before we left Audreys flip flop had broken, and this man thoughfully and skillfully used some rope and fixed it (this would happen a couple more times). We hiked and hiked, asking the man about different fruits we would find, bugs, flowers, etc. He was able to communicate fairly well with us, answering if things were dangerous, edible and what not. It was so neat to have a local guiding us through this jungle, and I grew more and more comfortable with him. The heat was setting in, the lack of water and food due to storage space while hiking was beginning to get to me. Crossing the river multiple times I was growing blisters on my feet that adgitated me as well. I was sure that there was not a waterfall here anymore. We trekked on. I cant describe every detail and every conversation but what I can say it what an enlightening and cultural experience we were having. I knew that my creator did not bring me to Thailand to have a local kill me in the jungle, but rather guided me to an experience I would have never had if I let my head get in the way.
|The bamboo raft|
Hua Chang- The waterfall exist!
And I have lots of video and pictures to prove it! How absolutely stunning and beautiful. It was large, we climbed rocks to the top, and then climbed down to the bottom. Audrey and I snapped photos while standing under the pouring water. We played and found relief from the heat. The waterfall was worth the 2 hour hike. We sat around and ate fresh mango’s for lunch. I bit into one with worms that almost made me throw up! The local man peeled me one of his and I ate that, it was delicious. Bugs were fierce and we knew the trek home would be long so eventually, after embracing the beauty we began the trekk back.
I had so many feelings of fear, joy, relief, happiness overwhelming me. I felt like I was Mogley (spelling?) from the Junglebook. I was so grateful and happy to have met these girls, Audrey’s flip flop broke again and she trekked with no shoes on, I was so amazed. I couldnt count how many ant hills, and fire ants we walked through and she just hiked barefoot. I loved it. I learned that if I stay reserved, and let my head and my fears get in the way I will continue to miss experiences like this. A lesson I continue to learn on this trip.
I think the total distance we biked and trekked was roughly 17-18k but I am not positive, I know we were out all day. Once we arrived in town we sat down and had a big afternoon lunch and the rain came. Perfect timing. I moved from my hotel to a hostel, that had a bug net, no AC and a cold shower. Oh boy, it begins. Living with minimal accomidations opened my eyes to what I take for granted back home. I had a hammock and free morning coffee and water so really, thats all I needed.
|Man Made waterfall|
|We made it to Hua Chang the Forgotten Waterfall|
|The gorgeous scenery along the way!|