Way up the Gan-Yu River, Virachey National Park

By: gregmccann

Feb 16 2012

Category: Uncategorized

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Focal Length:6mm
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We came upon this beverage tray, constructed for drinking rice wine to appease spirits, had been drained empty by jovial villagers and spirits -and hopefully it cured the sick (cursed) person as well

heading out for the evening catch

...going out with her grandma (outside frame) to check the nets on the Sesan

our target for this trek: Haling-Halang mountain, which sits right on the Laos border

villagers string up nets between trees to catch bats and birds, though they don't always come back to check them, with the result that a lot of animals die for nothing

"Magic Man" Kam Van, a Kreung Villager and porter/cook for this trip. He is pictured above in the Veal Thom Grasslands on February 1st, 2012

the southern edge of the Veal Thom Grasslands in Virachey NP. A kind of biological frontier

me, at my favorite lookout point in the grasslands

Looking back towards the Sesan River. shot taken from the southern edge of the grasslands

Johnny Walker in bamboo shot glass!

this path looks like it heads straight for Haling-Halang, the big blue mountain in the distance. The spirit mountain is much, much farther than it appears

This section of the Gan-Yu River is located north of the grasslands. Last year, my friend and I were the first white dudes to ever venture into this river valley. Just this month, I returned and pushed farther up the valley. This spot you see here is a really lovely place for a swim

scenery just past the shot above

lots of pretty butterflies around the swimming hole

up in terra-incognita, about 1km north of camp. new terrain. the guides had never been here either

only a handful of poachers had ever seen this little beauty before

more previously unexplored terrain on the upper Gan-Yu

...and deeper up the Gan-Yu, in search of the elusive headwaters, which spring from Haling-Halang (below)

Haling-Hlang, How far up that valley we got, I'll probably never know...

this was the first time (in 3 trips) that I had actually seen Veal Thom on fire

last shot of the Spirit Mountain (a.k.a., Haling-Halang)

the remains of a Sambar deer just next to the camp used by tourists (we stayed at another). In fact, when we showed up, we saw a young man with a bush knife which he had used to skin the deer. poaching is now rampant in the park, and Sambar, Barking deer, and wild boar meet is available in the Ban Lung market every day

The video above shows a waterfall on the O-Pong River on the trek out of the park to Kompong Village, Voen Sai

the Sesan River near Kompong Commune, Voen Sai. on the way back to civilization...

the lovely Sesan. if "development" plans go ahead (development in whose name???) the scene you see here will be no more; it will be submerged by a dam built downstream in Stung Treng province

this bird's days are numbered. villagers caught him and intended to eat him. could there really be that much meat in it? It seems that most villagers will opportunistically catch and kill anything they can find; they do not live in harmony with nature, as some anthropologists will have us believe.

a village man carries a large vase of rice wine to a house where there will be a party later in the evening. I drank copiously from it, and was later dragged out onto the dance floor

spicy raw frog meat with garden herbs. not bad at all

an elderly village woman in Kompong Commune

downtown Voen Sai, Ratanakiri

lots of garbage along he banks of the Mekong River in Kratie

girls insist I take their picture back in Phnom Penh

Phnom Penh has really grown on me, and is now my favorite city in the world


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