We rolled out of our bunkbeds the next morning and dressed for a hike. The front desk had asked that hikers check in before going, I assume so they’re able to alert the authorities when no one checks back in and they haven’t been paid in a few days. Colin signed us in for the 18-kilometer-roundtrip hike and found that no one else had done any hiking for two days, and no one had done the hike we planned to do in the past couple weeks. The park’s a bit empty, what with it being a rainy November and all.
After breakfast at the park canteen, we set out, armed with plenty of water and lunch to enjoy on the beach. We didn’t go far before our first wildlife sighting: a sounder of wild boar were rutting around in the mud on the other side of the 奶茶 river.
Colin led the way, walking with his arm raised to guard against piano-wire-wielding phantoms and spider webs, and I stumbled behind, still learning to step high enough in my boots to avoid kicking the roots.
Hiking in the rainforest but within earshot of the ocean was lovely. And the jungle was so green and refreshing after all the time spent in the city. The rain had left it quite muddy though, and in some patches the air smelt faintly of the floor of a public restroom. I have no idea why.
Five kilometers and about two hours brought us to Turtle Beach I, and I suggested walking in the sand for a bit. A point of wave-worn rock separated Turtle Beach I from Turtle Beach II, and I was so satisfied with the deserted stretch of golden sand before us that I didn’t really feel the need to go any further.
We stripped off our sweat-soaked top layer and lunched on fried rice in our bathing suits. The sun had come out for our day at the beach, and soon I was seeking shade under the rainforest trees rimming the beach. Nevertheless, I got a patchy sunburn that would peel in about a week.
Colin left me lounging on the sand and ran the length of Turtle Beach II to see Golden Beach. I dozed and photographed eagles and watched the riptide move north along the beach. I went for a swim when he returned. The waves pounded right on the shore, but the water was otherwise pleasant. It certainly wasn’t clear like in Thailand, but at least it was blue.
All too soon, it was time to head back: we were taking no chances with nightfall finding us in the jungle. We returned just as the main office was closing, about to lock us out in the jungle for the night, but I’m sure they would have come knocking on our door in the morning to make sure we’d made it back safely.