The Secret Waterfall on the Way to Doi Suthep

Yesterday before lunch, I went for a drive. The scooter zoomed under the weight of just one farang.

A few turns up the road to Doi Suthep was a small parking area for a waterfall. As far as I can tell the place didn’t even have a name, and from above it was impossible to see the drop. The picnic pavilions overlooked a broad, smooth stone bank of a stream. I parked my motorbike in the shade of a tree and started exploring.

Turning left, there was a steep dirt trail heading down through the woods. At some parts, natural ladders were made by tree roots. At the bottom of the trail was a small canyon surrounded by vine-covered trees. The stone bottom of the canyon had been smoothed by water. As my clogs have lost tread, the stones were slippery. I was alone down there. Butterflies and dragonflies congregated around the plants in the slow moving water past the base of the falls. The falls weren’t tall, but they spilled down the hill in three distinct stages. There was the litter of idiotic Thai youth who both hung out and sullied the place.

The trail.

The falls.

Red dragonfly.

Beautiful blue-green dragonfly that was impossible to photograph.

Flowering tree.

Perfectly cleaved corner in the river bottom.

Tigers watching the falls.

They can take away our buildings, but they can’t take away our chimneys!

I plopped myself in the shade, ate a bean bun, sipped some water and listened to the roar of water on rock. I relaxed and thought about those things that only a person at peace with the world thinks about: nature, family, the future, sexy butts, video games, mathematics.

I headed home for lunch. I told J. all about the falls hoping to inspire seething jealously over my lone adventure. Success. Before dinner, we headed up to the falls together so she could see. As the sun set, the lighting was perfect for longer shots of the falls. That’s when the magic happens. Photographers call it the “Radicool Blurring Water Hour.” Here are some photos of the falls at this hour.

Stage 1.

Stage 2.

Stage 3.

As the sun set, bats came out to eat the bugs I’d seen earlier that day. I lied on my back looking up at the moon between the dark jungle on my sides. The water rushed around me. I closed my eyes and the sound washed over me like the sound of water rushing over rocks. It did this because that was the sound I was hearing.

It was a good day.

November 4th, 2008. Categories / Chiang Mai, Thailand

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