This time of year the rain has been heavy. So the fields are well saturated, and the soil mostly consist of clay, what I like to call "muck", and carabao poo (lots of it) (bogs of it). The parts of the fields that we could walk on were super slippery, narrow paths of wet clay. On either side of the clay was rice swamp. From time to time the slick trail would disappear and we would have to walk through the rice swamp. It was about knee deep, also slippery under the "muck", it created a suction cup effect and would swallow your shoe if you were wearing any, full of snails, poky things, and worms (all kinds of worms) (I'll explain more about worms if I ever get any, but until then I will not go there. You're welcome!). Also, did I mention the carabao poo pots.
We all had a good sense of humor as we crossed through the fields. We had to cross some streams, and the river a couple times. For the most part the bridges were fallen coconut trees with a bamboo railing. Most of the time. After hiking for a couple hours we came to the edge of a forest, and walked down some carabao trails following the river until we came to the waterfall. It was pretty amazing walking through a tropical forest barefoot, not wanting to stop and inspect the size of the bugs I'm walking on. Also knowing that there are snails in this country that can burrow into my skin, lay eggs and then raise a family comfortable in my sub-dermis. Thankfully it wasn't raining. Leeches come out when it rains (Stand By Me)!
The waterfall was beautiful. It's about a hundred feet tall, there were many different types of butterflies flying around. Many of them were the size, if not bigger than my hand. And we were surrounded by a variety of old growth trees, a rock face that the water fell from and a nice cool pool to swim in.
We spent most of the day there. We had peanut butter and banana sandwiches for lunch, and the filipinos had a mound of rice and some liver. Yummy. Actually, it's not too bad. After we had our fill of swimming and relaxing we began our trek back across the rice fields. Fortunately on the way home some of the muck had dried up from the sun, but it was still a nasty sticky mess. A couple hours later we were back where we started. Everybody was exhausted from the hike and the sun and excited to get home to eat dinner and go to sleep.
I had such a great time on this adventure. I kept thinking of all my friends back home and wishing you could be here with me. It's not often that I get to go for a hike, get some cuts and bruises, want food all the way back home, and enjoy some beautiful scenery. Just like my great weekends back home with you guys!
A pedicab ride, another long walk, a jeepnee ride, another jeepnee ride, and one last walk, then I was finally home. I boiled some water on the stove to pour into the 5 gallon bucket that I use to bath with, scrubbed the carabao and muck off my legs (twice), and then had a great meal to wrap up my day.
The next adventure is a cave near the waterfalls. Sounds like common things that live in caves in the Philippines are: pythons, fruit bats, huge blind crickets (they bite), tarantulas, beetles and anything else that you might see in an Indiana Jones movie. Also, there is another 3 day spelunking trip I've got lined up for next month!
Stay tuned. . .