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Janelle's big, fat, juicy world

The elephant ballerina

THAILAND | Tuesday, 3 August 2010 | Views [812]

While in Chiang Rai we went on a tour booked from the Dusit Thani hotel. I think they provider was called SEA.

They picked us up at the hotel, we went for a long boat ride down the River Kok (which was very swollen due to the rains. Oh and it helps if he fills up with petrol so the long boat doesn't keep stalling on a flooded river...), then to an elephant park at a Karan village.

Our elephant was a splendid lady, 38 years young. Her and her Mahout were well experienced which meant we could delve further into the bush than some of the younger, less experienced elephants. As she march away from the camp along the well kept bitumen road, I thought this is cool. As she wondered into the countryside along dirt tracks, running creeks and rice paddy's being tended, I thought, yes I am out getting down with nature.

When our lovely elephant then turned off the main dirt track into a tiny, thin, steep, muddy, slippery trail, I thought...are we going the right way?

This clever elephant took us deep into the jungle. Quite literally. A number of times we just followed the waterway, the elephant quite happily walking in the running creek. She was so sure footed on these muddy paths, at some points her belly was even a little to wide to squeeze through some of the eroded parts of the trail. Climbing these steep hills, I looked back to see where her footfalls had slipped. It is quite a strange feeling to feel an elephant slide away underneath you, only to have regained her footing the next second.

The bamboo must have been 15metres tall, and the vines and branches were whacking us on our legs and heads.if the elephant and the mahout took off on us - well we were stuffed!

Coming down the hill was a little more precarious. Our mahout was gently guiding the elephant down incredibly steep muddy trails. I thought she would go down for sure, but I looked over the side from my perch on her back to see her footsteps. She was so gently, so precisely putting one foot just in front of the other, like tiny baby steps. It looked so delicate for the huge gray feet, now covered in red slimy mud. She knew exactly what was going on!

Our trip ended at another hill tribe village, where we were able to make banana and sugar cane purchases to feed our noble steed. I didn't know that elephants were so nimble! well worth a visit to witness these wonderful big, gray, clever beings.

Tags: chiangrai, elephants, hill tribe, jungle, thailand, trekking

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