Pacific Discovery Explores Cliffs, Caves, and Culture

20101005_pacific_discovery_karst_exploration_031The latest group of young explorers from Pacific Discovery blazed through Chiang Mai this week, making the most of CMRCA’s Karst Exploration Adventure!  After a full day of climbing Crazy Horse Buttress and learning how to rappel, the students hiked to the Mon Khao Kwang homestay, where wonderful “Grandma Sai” and her twin granddaughters helped us settle in.

Dinner at the homestay was plentiful and delicious.  Once we had finished the last of the fresh longan (they’re like lychees, but not!) CMRCA facilitators led the group in a series of engaging lessons focused on cultural immersion and personal growth.  Thai language and leadership models may eventually fade from memory, but I think it’s say that these young travelers will never forget how to use a squat toilet… as long as there is ska / reggae music playing!  We capped off the night with a campfire, grilled sticky rice, and a number of fun group games.

The next day began early with a trip to the morning market in the rural town of Mae On.  While collecting unfamiliar foods from local vendors, our previous night’s lessons in Thai language and embracing challenge became extremely relevant!

The remainder of the day was spent underground: First in the sacred Muang On tourist cave and then in the depths of the huge cave we call Anxiety State Crisis.  The descent into Anxiety State Crisis Cave required all of the rappelling and climbing skills learned the day before, as well as genuine dedication to personal growth and challenge!  We scrambled past 30 meter tall flow stones, ominous sink holes, and even waded through a chest-deep lake before reaching end of the large passageways.  But the finale of the day was still ahead: we exited the cave with a thrilling Tyrolean Traverse and 50 meter rappel to the ground!

Thanks to Pacific Discovery for another outstanding program.  We have a feeling that your Karst Exploration Adventure with CMRCA will seem easy in comparison to the challenges you’ll face in three months of traveling throughout Southeast Asia.  Remember to be accountable to your goals, be aware of how you are challenged, and CREATE the experience that you want to create!  Climb ON!