The hike, the rocks and the jumping


(28.3.2013)

You know, it's strange. I generally consider myself extremely lazy person. That kinda lazy when you can't be bothered to make five steps to the kitchen to get something to eat simply because it means you would have to move. I guess I was always like that but it never showed as long as I was at school with all the gym classes and basketball training and dancing classes in the afternoons and going everywhere on a bike.
There were some silly attempts to do some exercise when I was au-pairing and then with the tai-ji classes, but it all failed eventually. (Somehow, I made myself believe that the only thing in the world that would make me move at this point in my life is a horse. Let's see what the future brings.)
All this makes it only funnier that I never felt more alive as during the jungle hike and cave trip at Cheow Lan Lake and on Thursday, March 28th, when I went for a hike here at Ko Russei.

I overheard there was a trail around the eastern half of the island through the jungle and along the coast line, so I decided to start with that one. I packed my two cams, drinking water, cell phone for time and music, put my hiking shoes on and headed out. The path connecting the southern and northern parts of the island is pretty wide, obvious and straightforward. So I actually went all the way to the northern part of the island, trying to see as many reptiles, butterflies, spiders and birds as possible. Well, I saw butterflies and reptiles, but both were too fast to snap a photo of them. I heard the birds, but that was about it for the birds. And the only decent spider I came across was this fella:



For whatever reason, I was once again calm, but that was probably because he was stable on his web and I knew there was no danger unless I would walk into it. Which was something I worked hard on not doing. But the moment he moved and shot something from his, well, arse on the tree behind him, I jumped. Like literally jumped.

So I went back to find the turn towards the hill, which was supposed to be somewhere in the middle of the north-south path. There were several small paths along the way, I tried one but the moment I found myself standing a few centimeters from another web with a spider in the middle of it, although it was a little tiny one, my only thought was „Aaaalright, no, I can't do this.“ and went back to the safety of the wide path. To clarify, what was rather the problem was the big camera backpack on my back. If it would be just me, I might have continued, but with the backpack, even turning around took twice the space it would just for myself. And the idea of picking up an uninvited passenger by my backpack and finding out when said creature starts crawling somewhere on me while I can't get rid of it properly because of the same backpack that caused it, well, the idea wasn't a pleasant one, so no.

I continued back south and eventually found the correct turn. It was almost as large as the north-south path and marked with small concrete pillars, often decorated with shells for whatever reason.



For most part, this path was as easy as the previous one, with the only difference that it was obviously way less used so the spiders often thought it was a great idea to put their living room (or rather kitchen?) in the middle of the path. Simply put – never ever before was I covered with so much cobwebs. The jumping and squeaking was getting more and more frequent. A few times, I had to choose a different path just to avoid the webs. Once again, because of my backpack, else I would go under the webs. When I got to the point of apologizing to a spider for semi-ruining his home, I established I was losing it.

Right under the top of the hill, the path became insanely steep, but luckily not for long. Sounds of birds and reptiles running away everywhere, but nothing to take photos of, really. I was hoping for some clearing on top of the hill for one to observe the entire island, but there was no such thing. The jungle covered ever part of the hill and only the clear blue sky everywhere around behind the thick wall of trees gave out the location on top of the hill.

The following way back down to the sea level was steep and short. And it was during the final meters, where the adventure truly began. The difference between the end of the path and the ground was about three meters, possibly less or more. My estimates in this area are not the best. But it was approx. twice my height. A narrow corridor between huge rocks and boulders and a semi-broken wooden ladder positioned between the rocks – that was the only way down (as I didn't consider jumping down three meter with my almost 10kg backpack a reasonable way down). So I buckled up (literally, to secure the backpack) and started the descent.
The wooden steps were loose on the right side as that whole supporting part was missing. I could barely use the steps as a support, so I was rather relying on holding on to the rocks with my hands. Luckily, the wooden construction managed to hold my weight (which together with the backpack could have been around 70kg) and the last half meter I jumped. Then a short walk and I was at the rocky beach. After some rest, I started looking for the path along the coast line. Well, to my best knowledge, there is none. So walking along/on the rocky beach it was. And when I say 'rocky beach' I mean huge rocks and boulders. I had no idea what was ahead.

Finally I came across some easily visible living creatures, but to my disappointment, they were moving way too fast, so I managed to snap only one proper photo.



And there I also found 'my spot'. Next half an hour went to relaxing, listening to Malukah's songs, singing along like crazy because I missed that and needed that badly, and taking photos of the surroundings. If only that place wouldn't be that far from Koh Ru, I would go there every day.









So now, when you have better idea what I mean by 'rocky beach', imagine the way back on this kind of coast. There was a lot of jumping (some easy, some not so much; my right leg started saying 'No.' about half way home), some climbing, some crawling and some sliding. Also, here and there, actual walking in the meanwhile. Only once I had to take my shoes off and go through water. Once again, if it wouldn't be for the backpack, I would have climbed that part (and therefore wouldn't need to take my shoes off), but I decided to be chickenshit and take the safe path. Considering that later on I ended up doing similar monkey-like climbing anyway, it was a rather silly decision
.
Still, the jumping and climbing was way easier than walking on a mash of white rocks and corals (I assumed it was corals, tho the idea of washed off whitened pile of bones kept on coming to my mind... too much of Jiří Kulhánek's books lately, I guess). With each step I was happier I took my hiking shoes and not the sandals. I would have ended up with both ankles twisted for sure.
Then some more climbing and jumping again and at that point also my right wrist and left leg started saying 'No.' And I started tripping over roots. That, kids, is how you know you're getting too tired and the hike might get dangerous. But somehow, jumping and climbing was easier than simple walking, so eventually I got to the point of finally seeing our beach again. It was about time as I had no water left and I was getting seriously exhausted.
When I got back to the resort, I was exhausted to the point I wasn't even able to reply to simple sentences (sorry, Andrew). I just dropped my backpack at the dorm, went to get my water refill, ordered food and congratulated myself on surviving once again.

I left for the hike around 10:10 in the morning and returned back around 2:10 in the afternoon.
Naturally, I wrongly assumed I would be walking through the jungle most of the time, so I didn't bother with any hat or anything. And as it was, once again unexpectedly, more of an exercise than I assumed it would be, there was a price to pay. Luckily just a mild headache and some light sunburns. So the rest of the day went to relaxing and recalling the awesomely cool feeling I had about it the whole time. Especially the moments during the climbing and jumping when I thought 'Mom would kill me if she would see me now.' :)

And at the end of the day, I was rewarded with an amazing sunset.





(29.3.2013)

The Easter Friday went completely to resting and recovering, although I was surprised – the aftermath on my limbs was pretty decent compared to what I was expecting (which was basically not even being able to get out of bed).

I spent some time on my thesis, gathered some more ideas for the d&d game that's about to happen this summer, read some more Kulhánek and slept through the whole afternoon. What else to do when there were no physical books to read, the laptop battery was dead and I didn't want to go sunbathing as my slightly burned skin was still healing.

And at the end, I was once again rewarded with a beautiful sunset, that was however too fast for me to take a photo of.


(30.3.2013)

'Nothing special happened', as they say in books when nothing special happens.

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