Vietnam- Phong Nha
I had no intention of going to Phong Nha but, it ended up being my favorite part of my journey North. Funny how that happens isn’t it?
Phong Nha is a National Park and extraordinarily beautiful. It was the first place I rode a motorbike by myself and I couldn’t have chosen a better ride. Phong Nha is also known for its caves and with a rented motorbike, I set out for one on my only day in Phong Nha.
As I rodee to and through the park, I encountered huge rocky mountains that jutted out of the Earth and were covered in lush mossy, green trees. Dark cave, the cave I chose to explore, was easy enough to find but, it took me awhile to get there as I stopped every 5 seconds to gasp at the beauty around me. The landscape was unreal! We are all very lucky to call this Earth home.
After stopping 5 million times to take picture after picture of the scenery, I made it to Dark Cave. I chose this one in particular because to get to the mouth of the cave, you had to zip line in. I had never zip lined before and I figured, zip lining into a cave was good place to start. Zip lining over the crystal clear turquoise water underneath me did not disappoint. It was exhilarating and not scary at all. After the zip line, it was a short swim in the aforementioned beautiful water that felt like it had just left a glacier. BRR! And then, I was at the mouth of the cave and the tour guide was giving me a head lamp to make my way through the dark depths.
Have you ever been inside a cave? It is awe inspiring. Dark cave was/is huge. The top of it was tall and it went back deeper than we explored. As I made my way through the mouth, I scrambled over slippery black rocks and back into the clear water to wade deeper into the cave. The tour guide led us up a sandy, muddy hill and deeper into the maze within. The walls of the cave, as I walked with a group of fellow tourists, were very narrow, smooth and muddy. I felt slightly claustrophobic but, I was in too much awe to pay much mind. As I followed the person in front of me deeper into the cave, my hand trailed along the smooth rock walls and I kept imagining how the first human must have felt to discover this place. It would have been a confirmation that God/the Universe was real, I imagine. How could it not be? We walked for about five minutes and suddenly, the narrow path opened up to big mud pit! We all splashed in and quickly learned that the mud made everyone buoyant and it was impossible to not float. Everyone smeared the goopy mud all over their bodies and faces, some even flung the mud at their friends. I, happily floated along, taking in the magic of the moment. And I whispered thankyouthankyouthankyou over and over again as I let my feet touch the mud floor to feel it suck at my feet as I walked.
Once the group had its fill, we made our way back out and down a mud slide to wash off in the outer pool. We made our way back out of the cave and kayaked to shore. The whole experience was some of the most beautiful nature I have ever seen. And climbing around in a cave, splashing in its mud pit, deepened my connection to the Universe. Finding deeper connection to our higher power is why I love being in nature so much. It wipes away any doubt you may be feeling, pulls you into the moment and helps you feel boundless joy.