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A Jungle Night

by nate on December 8, 2009

I want to share a very vivid recent experience I had in Bokeo Nature Reserve, in Laos.

It was the last chilly night in Bokeo, we were all nestled in our jackets were drinking hot chocolate in our wooden tree house, 40 meters off the jungle floor. As the sun sank behind the distant mountains, a new set of sounds began to consume our surroundings, quickly becoming pitch black for miles around. This night I was determined to finally see the brightly starred sky we got peeks of through the corners of our treehouse. We only had a zipline that disappeared above the noisy black jungle, so we inched out on the 80 meter steel line above the canopy, with little headlamps and a little intimidation.

It’s hard to describe the sensation. To be suspended over 100ft above a howling jungle in total darkness. A sky errupting with more stars than I had ever seen. To be floating between the soundscape and treetops beneath my feet, and a mesmerizing sky; weightless, so small and unprotected. The headlamps were useless once we got too far on the wire, but they were an appreciated comfort.

I stayed out a little while longer as the others inched back to the treehouse. All the senses were engaged, fully alert and analyzing, yet almost hypnotized in a dreamlike state by the sensations. My eyes were open, but felt closed. My body dangling nothing within reach, yet all felt so close. It was beautiful.

Feet, lit by a headlamp 100ft above the jungle.

Feet, lit by a headlamp 100ft above the jungle.

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