The sound of a crowing rooster and a crying baby pulled me out of my deep sleep. For a minute I thought I was living in a previous life when the baby was mine and the rooster was part of our farm. Once I’d rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and emerged from the hut, the bleakness of the night before soon faded. The gorgeous vistas and the chatter of our host families helped me to appreciate their simple way of life.
The one electrical piece of machinery that I saw was a rice cleaner, which was powered by water. Each Lisu family had their own.
After a breakfast of fruit and rice, we started out on our downhill trek. For a while my heart was pumping too rapidly, a little panic attack. It was probably caused by the lack of enough sleep, and the memory of my potentially life-threatening fall the day before. But we did not take the same route back as we’d taken up, and the going was much easier. I soon relaxed and began to enjoy the scenery. I wore my sandals this time, because they had better treads and my runners were still soaked. The path was wider and switch backed making the descent much more gradual. The warm sun on our shoulders brightened the day and lifted the spirits.
Once again a delicious lunch of noodles packaged in banana leaves, followed by some passion fruit and banana bread, was provided by Chakaphan. The two young fellows employed by him to carry supplies, used their pocket knives to whittle out some bamboo chop sticks for us, and we savoured the food, the scents and sounds while resting upon some downed logs near a stream.
We spent the afternoon crisscrossing the shallow river, the cool water soothing our hot feet.
As we crossed through a farmer’s field, where women were out raking and burning old straw, the sky opened and the rain muddied up the trail again, but this time it felt warm and it lasted only about half an hour. Before we knew it, we were back at the road and the van was waiting to pick us up. “The Elder” had made it, and was very glad to have had the experience!
During the trek I did see some interesting things, despite having to spend so much time watching my feet! We saw many tree vines, which are amazing! They are vines the thickness of young trees but grow and climb around the larger trees, and stretch between them for great distances. Chakaphan told us that they grow up to 350 metres long.
There were also different types of ginger growing everywhere, displaying beautiful flowers of varying shades of red. And orchids grow in abundance too, but the most common type seems to be the ones that grow on the branches and trunks of trees. I wish I’d capture a picture or two of them. The various types of trees we saw included teak, bamboo, banana, and young rattan that were being planted by the government. There were also two varieties of pine trees.
Very large, beautiful spiders scurried from our path, and we saw many termite colonies working away, building high mounds that looked like rocks. In fact, there were a couple of them in the common area at Sang Tong Huts. Obviously they were eating away at the wooden structure, but no one worried about it. Everything appeared to be pretty solid. All creatures seemed to be respected and left alone.
I was in bed and asleep by 8:30 that night, after treating the three blisters that I found on my feet.