“Leeches,” calmly said Ian, the manager at our lodge in Khao Sok, Thailand, in reference to hiking at the nearby park. “Bring DEET to get them off.”
“No problem,” I thought. “If I stay out of the swimming holes, I’ll be fine.” I figured they would be at least six inches long so easy to spot and avoid.
My friend, Sabrina, and I had come to Khao Sok because the lodge we picked was within walking distance from a national park full of waterfalls and wildlife. We’d wanted to hike in Thailand for weeks now but hadn’t found an easy way to get to places without paying for a tour or renting a motorbike.
So after breakfast and a pep/prep talk by Ian, we set out to hike in Khao Sok National Park. I was counting on some dips in waterfalls and careful immersion in the swimming holes so wore water booties, shorts, and a shirt over a swim suit.
We had a map of all of the waterfalls and swimming holes, and the farthest was about 7 kilometers (a bit over 4 miles) so seemed like an easy afternoon walk.
It had rained most of the night before so we walked through some mud and puddles while enjoying the shade of the trees. The scenery was very much as claimed, like something out of Avatar, with vines and tall canopies of trees amidst the strange calls of critters of maybe birds, insects, or larger animals. The signs claimed there even said there was wild elephants and tigers in this park!
About half an hour into our hike, Sabrina happened to look down at the crocs she was wearing and saw a little wiggly worm hanging off of her pants above the shoe. Yelling “leech!,” she knocked it off. Then we stared in horror at the culprit bouncing around on the ground. Read the rest of this entry »