We wanted to trek through the jungle.
‘Can I wear tevas,’ was my only concern.
‘Course you can.’
We wanted to see five waterfalls and hike with Raht the jungle man.
Raht’s five waterfall tour was sold out.
We settled on two mountaintops and one waterfall, an eight hour hike through Koh Chang’s jungle.
A narrow elephant path led us into the jungle.
Straight, hardly any shrubbery blocking the way.
We wound our way up. Mosquitos lunged at me along with every insect the jungle has to offer.
‘Beware, the malaria!’
Peppermint oil lathered my skin, melting insects off.
Vines whipped around me while thorns tried their best to cut.
Our guide was king of the anthill and then,
he almost pulled a tarantula from its burrow.
Our first hilltop we rested. Bananas and pomelo wedges shoved into a sugary quench.
This time was different.
We were going straight up.
Trees were handlebars.
Rocks were steps.
Narrow and straight.
One slip was death or a broken limb.
I was no longer concerned about mosquitos swirling.
A peak, we made it.
We sat atop stone lava.
We pulled our way down the stone lava hill using rope attached to a tree.
Downhill–Easy part, as I understood it.
Downhill was truly and utterly the Jungle.
It was brisk almost too fast.
Going down. Too far. Roots tugged you back as you lost footing.
Concentration-function, begins now.
Roots, enormous spiders, carpenter ants, flappy branches–
Brought me to my knees.
Somehow I never broke.
Creekside we had lunch, all the fried rice that would fill our jungle hungry tum.
Afterward we hiked to the ‘waterfall,’
‘Waterfall,’ puny excuse for running water.
I lost the group,
I stared into the abyss/noticed my presence and that I wasn’t dead yet.
&then I was found.
Creekside, my feet bled, slipped, slopped, every step was slip or slop.
I never broke/
I bled/I never broke.
Grand Finale: elephants having a swim with their human riders.
&then we were out, 8 hours later.
In eight hours,
My feet were proof there’s a jungle,