Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park: Day Four – Elephant Haven

Walking with Jokia and Mae Perm to Elephant Haven
We began our day knowing it would end at Elephant Haven, a place where elephants can roam free, even during the night. Team Poop went to work as several elephants enjoyed the corn we had just cut the day before:

After showering (something we got into a routine of doing approximately 3 times a day), we were driven to a local school to participate in various activities that were student-run. These included jewelry making, Thai music class, an English class, a drink stand and a massage parlor. Here is the Canadian trio of Claire, Mindy and Carolyn enjoying a foot massage:

At first, Ligeia wanted to try her hand in the English classroom but after spending only 2 minutes there, she fled to the music room as she was quickly reminded why she prefers teaching adults. Eventually, she ended up getting a foot massage too. Although both children were learning to do Thai massage, each pair had one advanced and one beginning student, making the massage somewhat lopsided.

After lunch and elephant watching we prepared for our trip up to Elephant Haven:

We began with a short van ride (so the dogs wouldn’t follow us). We crossed the Mae Taeng River on this very sturdy-looking bridge: (tee hee hee)

The hike up was beautiful offering gorgeous views of the land below and the rich greenery surrounding us:

The walk was rather slow as we hiked with two elephants named Jokia and Mae Perm who liked to stop frequently for a nibble of bamboo. One thing we learned about hiking with elephants is not to stand too close to the hindquarters as unexpected wind gusts are quite common. We’re not sure how to describe the odor, but we can say that it doesn’t exactly smell like roses.

We eventually made it up to Elephant Haven camp, a very simple structure but with everything one would need: a pit toilet, a roof over our head, and a kitchen.

This was our meal for the evening – absolutely delicious.
At night we stayed in “rooms” separated by mosquito nets. But before we went to bed a mahout took us on a night hike to look for the wandering elephants, Hope and his girlfriend. We found them surprisingly quickly and helped them find each other.

That night Ligeia dreamt there were elephants all around her. She even woke Mindy up in the middle of the night convinced that an elephant was at our feet!

Mindy and Ligeia :):)

One thought on “Volunteering at Elephant Nature Park: Day Four – Elephant Haven

  1. Anonymous

    So you got some relaxation while the Elephants were throwing the corn arond, that you brought in under so much sweating. The hike gives me a feeling of great freedom and unity with nature. A true adventure to see and feel their haven.
    Some time out of time forever to cherish! Oh I am sure you will be back – who could resist!
    Thanks Ligeia and Mindy for sharing with the underprivileged.
    Love from Oma 🙂

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