Trekking with Jungle Joe

Trip Start Oct 06, 2012
Trip End Oct 26, 2012

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Where I stayed
With a Karen Tribe

Flag of Thailand  , Chiang Mai Province,
Friday, October 12, 2012

We were picked up from our hotel in a pickup truck with a canopy over the back and then traveled to a few other hotels to pick people up.  There were a total of eight of us going on the trek.  We were hoping for a good group and someone was looking out for us because we had an awesome group and a guide named Jungle Joe.  Our guide spoke limited English but had a contagious laugh.  We drove to a market outside of Chiang Mai to pickup the food he was going to cook for us on our adventure and we had to buy the water we needed for the first part of our trip.  We spent the better part of two hours getting to know the people we were going to be spending the next day and a half with.  We pretty much were the United Nations representing, Canada, Holland, France and the USA.  Everyone spoke some English so communication was fairly easy.  Our second stop of the day was for the elephant riding.  Wow those suckers are huge!  We rode in couples with our Mahout riding just behind the elephant's ears.  They put us on the elephant and then a lady sells you a bag of very ripe bananas for your elephant.  We had the "piglet" of elephants.  We got the bag handed to us and immediately there is a trunk pushing at Trevor to get one.  He had to feed her at least four bananas before she would even take a step.  I think the bag was gone within fifty steps but after we fed her the last of our bananas the Mahout shook the empty bag at her and she apparently knows that means they're all gone.  She does this enough that she did know and trekked on without stopping...until we got to the other stop with more bananas for sale.  Of course we bought more and they went faster than the first bag (Jodi fed her those ones).  Our elephant didn't have to get yelled at or hit on the head, she was very motivated by the banana stops so she just kept going.  Other elephants were getting yelled at and hit on the head with a stick.  There were two baby elephants tied to their mothers for the trek...guess they're learning for when they get bigger.  Kristen and Matt had a baby elephant with them.  They were trying to keep them both fed but apparently Kristen wasn't fast enough because when she got off the elephant her leg was covered in mud where the baby elephant kept rubbing its trunk looking for more.  We had one more banana buying stop before we got off.  I'm not sure our elephant would have been as cooperative if there weren't bananas bought at every stop.
After our elephant ride we drove a little further and then hiked to a waterfall where we were given lunch, fried rice in a plastic bag.  After lunch we hiked for almost three hours to the hill tribe where we spent the night.  Once getting to the village we all got to take a shower in their bathroom.  The bathroom was outside with a plastic pipe coming through the wood slat wall with just a lever to turn it on and off and a hole in the floor to go to the washroom (we had flashbacks of China).  The shower was cold but refreshing after the heat and humidity during the hike.  Our guide made us green curry, rice, and some sort of tofu bean sprout dish for dinner...I think he drank almost a mickey of whiskey while he was cooking because he was very quiet during the day but as soon as dinner was served he turned into a comedian.  The dinner was amazing!  We all sat around after gets dark at 6pm.  Jungle Joe then tried to tell us stories and he was trying to get the local "moonshine".  We had brought small candle lanterns with us so Trevor lit them when it was getting dark.  Jungle Joe puts candles into a plastic water bottle with a little water at the bottom.  He loved ours so much he tried to make his own from an empty beer can, plastic pieces from a water bottle and his own candle, chopped to midget size.  His two favorite sayings are, "Oh my Buddha!" and "Same, same...but different".  He laughed at all of his own jokes and did a very good impression of a lady boy.  There was a volunteer in the village from Germany that joined us after dinner when the local moonshine showed up.  It was a warm rice wine similar to sake.  The wine was passed around the table and the German drank most of it.  He was "gooned" by the time he left.  Almost a liter of the wine was bought for 40 baht (about $1.30).
After breakfast this morning we hiked to another waterfall where we were allowed to swim.  It was beautiful.  We got to hang out there for a bit and then we hiked for about 2 hours to where we had lunch, pad thai...yummy!  Our last part of our adventure was bamboo rafting.  We were split into two groups of four and started off down the river.  We were all standing except for our excellent photographer, Trevor.  Fanny and Guillaum, who were on our raft started collecting the floating cobs of corn.  That's right small pieces of cobs of corn by the hundreds were just floating around in the river.  Anyways they started to throw them at the other raft and so we had a corn fight going down the river!  So much fun with people we just met.  Just as we were finishing the rafting the skies opened and we got to cover without being completely soaked.
After a drive back to Chiang Mai we parted ways and here we are in our hotel sharing our trek with you! 
Until next time,
Jodi and Trevor
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Dawn St. Amand on

Great pictures and commentary. I feel like I'm there!!!!!!!

Vanessa on

Just love the video of you feeding the elephants, what an amazing adventure for you both. Love joining you on your trip, even though we not there in person.

coleenjasonnmary on

Love it all thank you so much for taking us with you !

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