Friday, March 14, 2014

Thung Yai 2.5

I slept pretty well in my tent pitched at Gosadeng with the rest of our four-truck group of Kamattan monks and lay people; probably more due to exhaustion than comfort. Of course, my wife Thip and I slept in separate tents, as it was the polite thing to do. Surprisingly, it was not as cold as I thought it would be, but the cold would come in subsequent nights.

Thip’s father Khun Paw (Nah) even bathed in the Song Kalia!

(Khun Paw at upper right; Thai washing dishes lower left)

(Thip and a Bikkuni [a kind of temporary Buddhist nun] preparing our morning meal)

After jahn hahn, held in the open field at the Gosadeng communications center, we hit the track/road on my second time behind the wheel and first full day 4-wheeling the route to Washuku.

(one of the prettiest spots along the trip: Mae Khasat waterfall)

Several of the climbs seemed at least a 45-degree angle and were a real challenge for me. It was at this time that I had my first big insight: I’d jumped at the chance to drive thru Thung Yai, pretty much just thinking about myself; how exciting it would be, what a challenge and certainly a memory to rack up. But, actually driving it and being in situations where I could have lost it and killed or seriously wounded myself and my passengers – or, at very least damaged the truck… that’s when I realized this trip was more about responsibility to others rather than just a thrill for myself.

(Thip on the footbridge at Lankah Pass, over the Khasat river, just before leaving the Sanctuary boundary)

(another view of the footbridge and Khasat)

This second day, I learned the wheel widths a better, learning to travel in the grooves made by previous trucks. I also learned to let the truck “drive itself” to some degree, not being too strong on the wheel, and watch the tilt of the truck. I never got out of gears 1, 2 and 3 in high low.

I also discovered that driving with bare feet was the way to go; much more sensitivity.

(most of the route we traveled our second day in)

(Some other drivers, L-to-R: Thai, Yah, Lott and “Big Baby”)

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