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Thailand Photos: Hike to Khao Ron, highest peak in Khao Yai national park: 15 - 16 October 2005

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Wild animal's eyes  Southern Serow Long tailed Goral
At about 4:30 p.m. I was confronted by a goat-like animal in the thickly covered forest. It had got horns, dark gray body, and somewhat lighter colored neck. It appeared coming down from the mountain. I shot one picture but it was not good; you can see only its eyes in the darkness (Left). After a couple of minutes face to face at about 50 meters distance the animal backed off. The elevation was still between 1250 and 1300 meters. When I came back to Bangkok I checked with "A Guide to the Large Mammals of Thailand" by John W.K.Parr, Kamol Komolphalin and Mongkol Wongkalasin. According to the book the animal is supposed to be either Southern Serow or Long tailed Goral (Pictures on the right). Khao Yai park's officers believed it was Serow.

A view to outside  Snake
Ten minutes later I arrived at a place with a view to outside (Left). I still did not know whether it was Khao Laem or other mountains away. However from the location of the sun I believed it was to the north. Another 15 minutes I was walking on a narrow animal trail along the edge of the mountain. Suddenly I saw a snake on the ground (Right). It was 2 to 2.5 inch in diameter and the body was light color with gray spots or strips. This time I was the one to back off. Abandoning the luxury of following the animal track I went down the deep slope of the mountain pushing myself through the plants.

I walked down the slope through the forest so thick that I could not see my feet. At one point I fell quite beautifully with my legs pointing skyward; my body was saved by tree branches from falling further. I lost one water bottle there.

Small canal  Moon at camp
I passed two or three stone-filled streams without water. Now getting to water became very urgent as the darkness fell. I only had one small bottle of water left with me. In the darkness I would not see any danger. But finally the luck was for me again. Just before 6 p.m. I found this very small canal (Left). There was water flowing or at least part of it was moving. That was enough to camp! After building fire I boiled the canal water, pitched the tent and prepared dinner. It was 15 October night - 3 days to full moon day.

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