I arrived at base on Thursday and was warmly welcomed by Kerri & Talia of KSES, our local partner on the ground. The small village of Ban Nakleng, where will be working from and living in over the next couple of weeks is about 180 km West of Chiang Mai, but the car journey takes around five hours. Please be prepared that about one third of the drive will be on narrow and windy mountain roads and the very last bit on gravel road is washed out from rain & bumpy.
Today, Friday, we went out together with the mahouts and some other people for a reccee survey walk. The terrain had to cover to get to the elephants was steep & muddy. Some of you might want to consider bringing rubber boots. You can these at very low cost in Chiang Mai if you wish. During this October it has been raining a lot more than usual at this time of the year (we observe these changes in weather patterns away from what people are used to on all our expeditions around the world) therefore the ground is wet and the forest is green – perfect feeding conditions for the elephants, but a bit more slippery and arduous than usual for us humans.
We have put a day-to-day plan together that includes four hours of staying with the elephants for the whole team each day. We can’t wait to get started and see how it all works out in the field. There are also other options of activities, of course, but it’s all very flexible and we’ll talk you through it all in detail on the ground.
Talia will meet & greet you at the meeting point in Chiang Mai, take over your luggage and put you on a minibus to base. She will do some food shopping on her way back, so your luggage will arrive about an hour or two after you at base, with Talia in another truck. Please make sure you pack accordingly. Once you arrive at base, you won’t need much as we will have lunch and go straight into introductions & briefings, so you will be busy from the minute you arrive. Kerri & I will be waiting for you at base.
Safe travels & see you on Monday!