Going Again: Cambodia, Jungle Hike

I’m supposed to be in training for a hike this fall, but this trip to Cambodia has meant a lot of sitting, and only a few walks around the city markets. Every day my activity app messages me “I see you have not met your daily activity goal…”. Okay, so quit it! I’m going for a walk in the jungle.

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View up mountain from Secret Restaurant, Veranda Natural Resort
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View down to the coast at Kep, from Veranda Natural Resort

Veranda Natural Resort is built on the slope of a mountain, as it rises from the coast. Behind the resort the mountain continues to rise and it becomes Kep National Park. The trail entering the park is wide enough to be called a road, although at some points it only allows a moto to pass. The entrance is guarded by a “ranger” in a small hut who collects a dollar from me and returns to his mat to lie down. I head out, armed with a bottle of water and my phone (with only half battery life, oh no…).

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Park pass with a purpose – “contripution health take care of environment Kep National Park”

I have gone only a few steps when I come to a restaurant! Who would expect to find Breton Pancakes and homemade ice cream up here? The Cambodians are opportunists. But I do not stop.

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small symbols on the sides of signs are squirrels – you’ll see why

The trail is shady and the grade is gradual so it is very comfortable walking. I do have to watch my feet though because there are rocky areas and tripping or turning an ankle is a possibility.  I stop whenever I have to take in the view or read a sign, like this one telling me what lives along this jungle trail.

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I don’t know if this was informational only, or a warning. Have to watch out for those durian “smelly fruit”.

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I’m  not sure how national parks in Cambodia compare to ones in the U.S. but I am pleased to see that they do have markers on the trail telling me how far I have gone, and the elevation. And as the trail climbs there are benches at scenic overlooks with the name of what I’m seeing painted on the back of the bench.

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I’m trying hard to stay in the middle of the trail and look out for things hanging from the trees (insects). There is a pleasant breeze up the side of the mountain and as the trail winds steadily upward, around clefts and ravines there are a lot of unfamiliar noises. I recognize bird calls, an insect noise almost like a fire alarm, and something that could be a monkey, or maybe just a large lizard.

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Thank you Squirrel Association! Heading off to find the Remarkable Tree.

At 2.5 kilometers I find that the trail is maintained by a number of organizations and clubs, including the Squirrel Association. I conclude that they don’t hunt for fancy names for their groups here. I decide to continue on, hoping to get to the Remarkable Tree in 690 meters.

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View of Butterfly Valley

But I don’t make it. I do cross over the summit and find another valley, and as the road descends there are a lot of remarkable trees but I’m not sure which one is actually named that – unless it is this one with a sign I can’t read.

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Are you the Remarkable Tree?
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Remarkable!
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Also remarkable.
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Quite remarkable as well.

I did only a short portion of this trail, since I didn’t have enough time to complete the loop. But now that I know it’s here, maybe next time!

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