Waking up early we headed with a small group to be briefed on our jungle trek.
We were told to be careful where we touch and watch out for bombs.
The first thing that we signed was this release to not sue pretty much no matter what happened. The first picture with the red was this poster about landmines still being a problem in Vietnam. Reading about this, coming from the U.S., really was horrible. I am so thankful to not have to worry about this back home, and so sad that this is a real concern here.
We each were given a pair of trekking boots and started to head up into the Jungle. It was a 12 kilometer hike and was a full day trip.
The guide and the other porters all wore these great sandals.
With all the rain the path was super muddy and our guide “Man” gave us some more info once we were about 1 hr into the trip. We all gathered around and started to understand the release waiver as we learned about these green extremely poisonous green snakes. Man told us how no one should be touching any of the bushes as the small snakes like to sit there and wait for prey. These green snakes are so venomous that within 1 hour of being bitten your heart will stop. He continued to say how other hunters in the jungle would be bitten and then cut of whatever was bitten to stay alive and not have an arm or leg but still have their life!!! I definitely would be keeping my hands close and trying not to die.
After following our guide for another half hour or so, I started to loosen up a bit and not worry. Our whole group was able to push the thought to the back of our minds and start to have some fun. (while still being cautious!) There was also a plant like poison ivy that we had to watch out for and Man, without joking, said to let him know if we see something else like a bomb. He (29 years old) has been doing this for 3 years now. I asked him if he has seen the snakes to which he said yes. His English wasn’t that great, but I asked if anyone had ever been bit, or broken an ankle. (The path was wonderfully challenging.) I am not sure if he heard me but he didn’t really answer. I proceeded to ask if he carried the antivenom, but didn’t really get a response either. He must not have heard me. : /
ARMS up! Elbows in!
Man would shout out when he saw some poison and we would all relay the message back! “Poison, left side!” Or “Poison, both sides!”
Phil tripped on the trail and fell into this bush that was right by the poisonous one. Here is the review seeing if he fell into the bad one or not.
His arm didn’t show any signs of a rash forming. Whew.. close one. That would have stayed with him for about a week if he had fallen just a little bit differently.
We had made it to the backside of the dark cave and went in about 700 meters.
The group all turned off the lights and yelled once we were far enough in for complete darkness! : )
The next cave we headed too was the nicer one for swimming.
I talked with Man a bit more on this leg of the trip asking if he had ever gone to the biggest cave in the world (which is in his backyard) and he said no. It costs 3,000 dollars apparently and is a 4 day/3 night excursion. That is so much money for me and even more so for someone here. They only allow so many people in a year and you have to be put on a waiting list if you have the money and time.
Here we are excitedly getting into the water of the Hang E cave. Swimming 300 meters back and not knowing what was under was a bit un-nerving. Even more so when we shut the lights of here and all screamed out. One of the other guys in our group said near the entrance he had seen a water snake swimming near him.
Man said they are not poisonous though.
We headed out to do the long trek back and set off with a fast pace.
I had so much energy and had fun challenging myself to scamper up the hill and even manage to make our guide tired and want to take a break! : D
I couldn’t help but smile at how alive and great I felt. I also thought how working a regular 9 to 5 desk job would be just a horrible fit for me right now.
We all made it to the top and enjoyed some pictures before heading back down to the vehicle for a celebratory beer all together.
And that’s all for now folks.
I hope you’re enjoying my blog!
P.S. I want to thank those who have gone out of their way to Paypal me some money from the bottom of my heart. When I receive those emails I am really jumping up and down with excitement. Thank you to those who send me notes or comments as well. I enjoy reading them when I have internet and am really so thankful that you guys can share my adventure with me.
Until the next one.