Monday, June 18, 2012

Thung Yai 1.1

As I've mentioned for a while, my greatest adventure in Thailand so far has been our trip through Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary, in Western Thailand, this past April 2012. The following is a portion of a draft I've written about the trip. This is part one of four:

We were reaching the top of the toughest climb of the six days travelling into one of the remotest areas of Thailand: Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary. This section of the dirt road was somewhere around a 45-degree climb, pock-marked by huge boulders of varying height and depth relative to the dirt track itself. It really was more a “track” than a “road” and to have called it a road would have been a very big exaggeration.

Travelling as a caravan of seven 4-wheel drive trucks, all vehicles sported winches on the front and some had electric winches both front and back. We needed them all a half dozen times on this climb alone. I lost count long ago how many times we had deployed the winches thus far on this trip.[1] Even with them, I don’t know how we made the climb that leads to a small outdoor temple. Then again, I don’t know how I ever agreed to go on this grueling trek in the first place.

As a retired American married into the biggest family in a small Thai-Lao village in Northeastern Thailand, I had been invited to travel as part of our village temple’s annual pilgrimage in to Thung Yai and the temple near the Mynmar (Burma) border begun by Ajan Satien, the teacher of our head monk, Ajan Boon Long. My wife assured me it was quite an honor, as many people in our village every year wanted to go and each year were not chosen. Well, three long days skirting danger – maybe not at every turn, but certainly every tenth – I didn’t feel very honored.

Our group comprised four of the seven trucks, lead by Ajan Boon Long. We were a group of around 25 Kamattan Buddhist monks, boy novice monks, women “carrying” and a few guests, like me.

[1] Estimate of approximately 90 times during the course of six days.

My free ebook about this trip:

[1] Estimate of approximately 90 times during the course of six days.

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