By Leni Hughes – 1 week volunteer
The conservation hike – the most beautiful and strenuous hike I’ve ever been on. Like every other day, the hike started at 8am and lasted for about 4 hours. Our guide, Leo, and the two staff members, Jade and Lauren, accompanied the volunteers on this one-of-a-kind hike. We started on the path located right next to the Base and walked through the freshly planted corn fields that will be harvested in the cold season. These corn fields are meticulously planted on a 60 degree slope, meaning we had to hike uphill, under the influence of the scorching hot sun. Drenched in sweat, we got to the top of the hill, on the edge of the rainforest, we had the chance to take it all in; the sheer beauty of it engulfed us all.
We followed a narrow path, surrounded by tropical plants, making it look like a botanical garden shrouded in mystery. Our path was paved with obstacles, including spiders, leeches, rocks, and getting smacked in the face by stray bamboo, but it was all worth it to hear the screeching sounds of Gibbons in the distance, feeling the thrill of birds of prey gliding above us, and seeing animals you read about in books. Don’t get me wrong, it was sometimes difficult, having to climb over and through things I usually wouldn’t be able to, nevertheless it was exhilarating. It was only 10:15 when the whole group started to think about lunch, which is when the decision was made to turn back and eat. Because the sun was radiating heat, we ate in one of the villager’s field huts.
Lunch was deliciously amazing as usual, all of our homestays made us a green bean dish with, of course, a whole bunch of rice, enough to feed 5 people. The hike down was relaxing and a really good way to end an unforgettable experience. The day was filled with literal ups and downs, beautiful scenery, and music of the forest. I recommend everyone to try this hike.