Tuesday, February 1

Climbing a Waterfall

Writing the date, it's so funny to think that it's February. Joy and I took a walk a few weeks ago where we discussed winter and how for most of the nation, February sucks as that's when you are ready for winter to end and it continues for another month still. SF's is mild comparatively, we were walking in long sleeved t's and light pants. Here, in Thailand, I was sweating all day. We spent the day in Khao Laem National Park at the Rainbow Camp gathering, with children from Thailand and Japan. There was jump rope and karate this morning. Meals with meat! A long walk to some water falls.

I've discovered that my definition of waterfall is quite different than the Thai version. Here, we walked about 2 k following a mostly gentle slope, with a few steep climbs, where water was flowing and in a few cases falling, but never grand drops that I associate with the word waterfall. Kra Teng Peng falls seem to be a series of about 16 "falls". We bathed in on where the water was up to my chest and perfectly cold for the hot day. We reached a point where continuing further would be too difficult for the smaller children, so I took responsibility for the 2 eldest and continued up. Although, shortly into our continued climb, they bounded ahead while I battled with some thorny vines. Unfortunately for my arms and legs, the vines won. I was stuck for a good 2 minutes, wishing for a leatherman, thinking that I wouldn't be able to keep track of the kids, much less make my way back. Luckily, a Thai man came along and helped me escape. By the time I made it to the kids, they were jumping off boulders into what I'm guessing were shallow ponds.

The most surprising thing was that the "trail" led through the stream at many points. So we were walking up many waterfalls to get to the waterfall. Something like this would never happen in the US. One would see signs every where to "stay on the trail" and out of the water. Here, it was slippery, several people fell or got trapped in vines (ok, maybe that one was only me). The Thai folks were hiking in flip flops, some of the kids bare foot. Besides my scrapes, I don't think anyone got hurt. Such a different living and child raising philosophy.

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