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Trek and camp in Umphang, Umphang Kee village to Chong Yen: 17 - 21 Feb 2007
The teacher's accommodation in the primary school compound - Kotha Karen village. Coming to live and teach the minority children is both rewarding and fulfilling but not many people are considering of it due to lack of modern day living luxuries and opportunities they can enjoy in the cities and towns.
Before noon we left Kotha village, crossed a wooden bridge over the Klotho stream and went on walking the trail parallel to the river. The sun was burning overhead but trees giving us shades made us feel quite fine. Bamboo, wild banana, kayin wood tree, some hard wood and so many species of plants cover the area. We saw an elderly man with a net fishing along the stream.
Where were the leaves gone? Whenever summer arrives at its middle I remember the smell of earth stirred by first rains and the forthcoming of our traditional water festival (in Thailand "Songkran" or in Myanmar "Thingyan") in which people spray water on each other and celebrate the coming of a new year.
Here in Thilorsu waterfall camp, after walking more than 17 km in the Umphang's jungle cladded hills, in the middle of February I have got similar feeling. This time it was because of the lack of leaves on some large trees, and of their skeleton-like appearence against the blue sky. Well, the earth is still the nicest place to live, or is it making its last breaths trying to keep things in accordance as if nothing has so far gone wrong?
Next morning I left the trekking party and headed back to Umphang by hitch hiking. In the afternoon I arrived at Umphang Kee village to the east of town. Two villagers were to send me on the trail along Huay Umphang stream to Chong Yen in Mae wong national park in Kamphang Phet province. The walk was estimated about 35 km. When we left Umphang Kee village it was already 4:30 p.m. We walked mostly along the stream and through the waters many times.
Another section of Huay Umphang stream where we walked through the water. It is true that - in the water there are fish and frog, in the land there are wild chicken, in the trees there are birds. But that should not make us become lazy people, my teacher said once upon a time. We followed the animal trail zip zapping the stream, sometimes through the thick plants and along the steep slope of the bank. It was all nice surrounding but the sun was fast setting behind us.
The easiest path of the trail on leaves amids dry evergreen forest in its summer evening. Colourful leaves were everywhere; still trees hold newly born green and yellow and red leaves on their branches. Singing of birds and calls of monkeys came and gone here and there.
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