Vietnamcaves.com

Cây Nghiê?
 
One of the great attractions to the caves of Vietnam is the jungle experience. Often the cause of great missey at the time but as time passes the lasting memory is of a great adventure. We were again told of a large entrance by Mr Phong two days walk into the inner reaches of the jungle. Our innocence to what lay ahead was immediately proven after being drooped off at km 20 on the Ho Chi Minh trail. Phong vanished into dense undergrowth and we tried to believe we were following a faint track. We climbed steeply up the razor sharp karst, all the time dense vegetation strangled our progress. Rucksacks proved to be tiresome as they were constantly hooked onto vegetation. Grateful for the rest we were rewarded with a fantastic panorama of the jungle at a col we reached by a difficult climb up the razor sharp limestone. Dropping down into the doline we were amazed at Phong’s memory as no land marks identified the way, despite one or two wrong decisions the route finding was amazing.Two porters bringing up the rear started to shout excitedly at one point and called for Phong. No we wernt lost, we had in fact all stepped over a particularly venomous snake. Keen to take the reptile back for research Phong relinquished a leech sock and the snake placed inside and then strung up in a nearby tree to be collected on our return. Our walk took over five hours to the campsite, a small clearing at the side of a small stream. In a straight line we had covered less than two kilometers. We were even more dismayed to discover that no more water was in the area and the cave was still over a kilometer away. Ditching all our camp gear we were able to move more quickly, perhaps inspired by scratched claw marks on the rock that we passed. We were unable to see the cave entrance until we were actually standing inside the magnificent arch due to the density of the jungle. The prescence of monkeys high above added to the excitement of standing in a superb entrance deep in the jungle.Sadly we could see straight through the cave, a big disappointment. A twenty metre deep pitch was dropped in the centre of the passage by Adam, encouraged by his ‘mates’.Comments reminding him that he had the only SRT kit should he get into difficulty said jokingly also seved as a reminder to how remote we were. The pitch was blind although a family of goat skulls was found at the bottom. On the walk out no one followed closely to Phong as his Leech sock hung from his rucksack!
           

Martin Holroyd

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