Day 10: Krabi (Hiking)
Today we had decided not to go to the Phi Phi Islands. It had never really been on our plan, but Miguel had it stuck in his mind to go. In the end, we didn’t want to deal with a place that, by all accounts, was way too over crowded (besides, it’s hard to imagine topping the beauty we saw over the past two days…or, as said by Miguel, it would be “..marginally awesome..”).
We got a “late” start, waking up at 08:30 and wandering down to breakfast. We weren’t in any rush to get somewhere and it was actually really nice (I am sure at the end of this, Miguel may very well say I am some type of vacation slave driver). After breakfast, I wasn’t feeling super well, so we chilled for a little while. By 10:30, I decided I had enough of chilling and we should do the trek we talked about in the national park close to our hotel. It was only supposed to be a 3-4 hour trek and about 7.4 km if you stayed on the main path.
So, around 11:00, off we went (after applying vigorous amounts of mosquito repellant which actually makes your skin feel tingly…not a great feeling). The entrance to the park is about 600 meters from our hotel. There was a crude trail map at the trail head. It was 3.7 km to the top, but there was a split at some point that was supposed to have a waterfall. There was no distance denoted there, but we figured we should check it out.
The first part of the trek was arguably slow. I probably added an hour onto our total time on trail because of all the pictures I took. However, when you take photos on a trail, it forces you to slow down and notice things. I saw a flower I wanted to get a macro shot in and just as I was about to settle for the shot, I noticed that the thing I thought was a branch was actually a little green tree snake. I called Miguel over and it was cool to see him together. Besides the tree snakes, we saw plenty small blue morpho (or a species in the same family) butterflies. I tried to get a picture, but failed. These little guys are really cool. The underside of their wing is dull, but the top of the wing is a shocking blue color. We also saw some pretty cool lizards as we were walking along.
When we reached the fork, we went off to check out the waterfall. We had previously passed a couple who told us the waterfall was “boring”. Despite that, we wanted to see for ourselves. Well, what they should have told us is that, in fact, there is no waterfall. We hiked for about 30 minutes…although it’s possible that it was more. We finally stopped when, after all that time we couldn’t hear any water. So, we headed back. The light was low from some clouds threatening to rain on us, but we decided to head up to the summit anyways. We had come so far and it would be a waste not to go all the way to the top.
By the time we reached the top, it was raining lightly. Visibility was low for the view because of some clouds below us surrounding the mountain, so we decided to wait it out. At first, we were just in the open sitting on a rock chatting. It was actually pretty romantic. What started as a light afternoon shower soon turned into something heavier with more rain and more wind.
We both decided maybe finding some type of shelter from the rain would help. We split off and I was looking around for maybe a rock ledge or dense tree cover. I didn’t find either. I called out to Miguel, intending to tell him we should fashion a little shelter to cover from the rain while we waited and found him chilling under a rock ledge he had found! So, there we waited. It could have been miserable, but we were in good spirits and just had a good laugh about it. With heavy wind and rain by this point, it was good we found something to shield us from both. After some time, we discussed having a time limit on when to head back as, truthfully, we had no idea what time it was. I pointed out that we should at least wait until the wind dies a little bit, because the last thing we wanted was to get hit by a falling tree limb (Miguel apparently hadn’t thought of that and I’m not sure he appreciated me pointing it out).
With the rain still coming down, but decidedly less so, we decided to climb up onto the last rock for a better view to see before we headed down. Well, the clouds had cleared a bit and we decided to take some pics. Using my shirt that I had spent the last 30 minutes trying to wring out, we covered the camera and took a few photos. By the time we climbed down from that rock, the rain had slowed to a sprinkle (which allowed us to take photos a little more freely and then hide the camera again inside the back pack). As the sky was clearing, we caught sight of a pink hue from one of the viewpoints. I didn’t like the sight of that. It hadn’t seemed like we had been gone that long, but pink in the sky can really only mean that we were losing the light. The trail wasn’t well marked, we had no source of light, almost no water left and both wet from the rain…not good combinations to get stuck out on a strange trail at night (not to mention that I am sure the mosquitoes would simply pick us up and fly away with us).
We headed back down the mountain at a much quicker pace that we came up. It was a little tricky going down as many parts of the trail were rocky, muddy and steep. Still, neither of us tripped or slipped, which was good. We had been close to one another on the trail until a tree fell in an area we had just passed (how often does that happen…?!?!). After that, I told Miguel to keep some distance behind me. In case something did happen, it wouldn’t happen to both of us. While the way down was a little rushed, it was still fun…and actually added some excitement to the trek (should I mention now that it was Miguel’s first time trekking!!!! Oh, there are so many more trails in this world to show him).
Once we hit a creek that was maybe .5 mile from the entrance, we slowed down and relaxed a little bit on our way out. On the road back to the hotel, we both made guesses as to the time. I guessed 16:00 and he guessed 16:30. Well, we arrived back in our room at 17:41! With the sun going down around 18:15…18:30, we were really close to losing the light! A lot of time was lost looking for the waterfall, taking photos and waiting out the rain at the top.
I was, of course…starving. We had some leftover food from a picnic box yesterday (spicy chicken and rice). Miguel walked into the main part of the room from the bathroom to a sight of me desperately trying to open the bag of chicken with the rice…and couldn’t help but laugh our asses off. Apparently I looked like someone who hadn’t eaten for ten days!
After a little snack, we decided to take advantage of our awesome bathtub. We threw on some Ben Rector (awesome artist I have recently discovered), I made the water a little cold for me and way too hot for Miguel and we chilled for a while (despite being in Thailand, getting caught in a windy thunderstorm is actually freezing). We had talked about trying one of the restaurants at the hotel instead of ordering room service, but after a hot bath, we were both feeling a bit lazy (and Miguel put on a white t shirt which is a sign of staying in). Well, we earned a bit of laziness after that trek!
(and here are loads more pics!)