Traveling with Anne
The Mae Yen waterfall
I can not take one step more. There is sand in my wet and slippery shoes, and I feel the blisters grow bigger with each step I take. Today we climb the Mae Yen waterfall in the jungle of Pai; It would be fun they said …
“today is the perfect day to start living your dreams”
Ready to start!
Where normal people go to the starting point with their scooter, or have themselves being dropped off by a taxi, we walk from our hippie cabin towards the mountain. It is a beautiful route along the rice-, reed- or whatever-it-is-fields, where we walk through for about 45 minutes. We arrive at the starting point of our hike where we are greeted by an enthusiastic dog: Takkie. We do not really understand what the route is, so it will be challenging for sure! After a while, we assume that we have to follow the path across the river. Since there is no bridge, we swim right through the river to the other side. That’s the way we do it: crossing the river several times. But since it’s hot, it’s really nice to go through the cool, clear water. The white sand on the bottom of the river seems to contain gold, glittering little golden flakes, very special!
When we are a couple of kilometers on our hike, Marloes suddenly starts making a lot of noise, I’m scared! I think she has fallen and I turn around. I’m 100 times more scared when I suddenly feel and see something big, dark and hairy crawling around my leg. It takes a while for me to realise that it is the dog, Takkie that has been following us, and that almost gave the both of us a heart attack. Takkie walks a few kilometers along with us and shows us where the path is going to (the path is not really indicated and sometimes quite unclear).
The hike is pretty hard, but definitely worth it. The path runs straight through the jungle: this is what I have been traveling for and I am enjoying it all the time! Everything is green and beautiful. We see all kinds of bizarre insects and the most beautiful birds. We also see some animals we would have rather skipped. One of them is a water buffalo, on the way we find him nice and sweet but when he blocks the path on the way back and does not intend to let us go through, the fun is a bit gone… Every step we take closer to him he takes two steps of us, pointing his horns in our direction. We see in him the stronger creature and we go humbly, and a bit afraid honestly, with a big bow around him.
When we are almost near the end of the hike, approaching the waterfall, we do not know where exactly we should go. The route we are supposed to take is blocked by bamboo plants, and so far these blocks seem to mean that there is an alternative route and that the current path is unacceptable or dangerous. We do not have that much time we can spend before we have to go back. We want to go down the mountain and arrive back where we started before darkness, and we doubt whether we have to continue walking or go back. Takkie is nowhere to be seen and we see no other people neither. We walk back a part to see if we’ve missed another path, but that’s not the case. We walk a bit back and forward and discuss whether we should ignore the bamboo blocking, or we just go back (what, of course, is hardly an option if you’re almost there). Then, out of nowhere comes a girl that tells us we have to climb through the bamboo. We try her advice, and after about 20 minutes we reach the end point.
The waterfall is nice, but not that special. After having made some spectacular selfies of ourselves, we begin to climb down quickly. It’s becoming darker fast and I’m afraid we will not make it in time. We are the last ones that have to go down and I’m almost sorry that we have gone all the way until the waterfall. When we have made the most difficult descent of the hike, we suddenly bump into a number of weirdos that still want to go towards the waterfall, but we advice them it’s getting too late and they should head back. Of course, they do not listen to us, I really think they are not really smart, but I am happy that we are not the last ones to go downstairs.
Almost 10 minutes before the sun sets, we arrive at the bottom of the mountain. We see a monkey swinging through the banana trees. In the last sun rays we cross the river once more. When I look right next to me, I see a snake swimming and I am very glad that we only see this at the end of our hike. We stumble towards the center, eat a good slice of pizza (which we really deserved) and then finish the last mile.
Some 26 kilometers further and about 12 hours later we are finally back in our hippie hut, where even a thin sleeping mat in a mosquito net, suddenly looks suspiciously attractive…