15-May-2005 -- Though the plan visitting the confluence 12N 109E (Khanh Hoa province) is cancelled, still we held a warmly party to welcome a friend. He had come from Ha Noi with the intention joining our trip to 12N 109E. After the party, we all go to the decision to go to the confluence 12N 107E (Binh Phuoc province) right on tomorrow.
We hired a 12 seats coach and departed from Ho Chi Minh city at 3am. On the way, we pick up 2 more people then we drove non stop to Phuoc Long and have breakfast there. Then while some checked all the equipments to make sure they work well, the others go to the market to buy a bush-hook and ropes. We have had an incomplete visit on this confluence last time with the distance of 700 meters. That time, we were so subjective and underestimate the difficulties of this confluence. So this time, with well preparation we hope we could catch this confluence.
Didn’t follow the previous track, we discussed and mapped out a new route which seemed easier for all.The coach stopped at the main road, we decided to follow a narrow path through a cashew plantation. The GPS showed that we were 2700 meters far from the confluence. We carried necessary stuffs and water then started to walk.
For the first 1000 meters we walked under the shadow of the cashew trees. And the next 1000 meters we marched through uncovered land. The path sloped down and it was blazing hot, everybody getting tired. We saw a grass plot, and suddenly we found a shallow rocky stream. It was quite solitary, from the main road to the stream we saw no one but 3 ethnic minority kids. The kids could speak Vietnamese lispingly, they were snaring birds and didn’t want to join us. We thought they knew the way but in fact they have never crossed the stream and climbed up that luxuriant hill! They were scared.
We decided to walk along the stream then find a possible place to climb up the hill. But there was no way so we had to use the bush-hook to make way ourselves. We were surrounded by bamboo trees and many kinds of thorny liana. Those thorns sticked all over our clothes and scratched our skin. Sometimes we falled again and again when crossing big stumps. There were discourage sighs, but with the team spirit, we share the water and encourage one another, tried to over come the difficulties.
When we got out that luxuriant bamboo forest we were on an desolate hillside. There was nothing but the carbonized trees. The desert scene made us feel exhausted. We tried to walk through that empty land toward the only tree. We were perspiring and breathless, lied down any where. However tired we are, we must catch the confluence!
We walked the last 40 meters through another dense and bushy forest on the other side of the hill. When I was crawling through a bush I heard one of my fellows shout “Hura! Huraaaaa!”. As we were out of water, I thought that he had found a source of water or he was deep in a stream. I rushed to him, to my surprise, there he stood with the GPS in his hand shouting loud “We did it!”. Everybody came soon, we all shouted and jumped for joy.
The confluence was at the middle of the hillside, dense trees made it hard to receive the signal from the satellites. We had to run around trying to get the signal. And at last, all the number gradually turned to zero. We took some photographs, rest for a while then go back.
We down the hill, rest at the stream, I even flaked out! Didn’t have lunch, we leave the stream and follow the old track back to the main road. Each and all were worn out, we had to suck the cashew fruit for water though they were shockingly harsh! Fortunetaly, we found 2 pineapples, we shared one man one piece then thrown owrselves down for rest.
There were 2 members too tired to continue so we have one man stay with them in a fallow tent, and the others walked back to the main road. When we reached the main road we had a kind-hearted man rode his motor to the tent to take them out.
We drove non stop back to Ho Chi Minh city and have our lunch at 8pm, so cheerful!
It was such a hard confluence, but see, not only did we catch it but also we strengthened our solidarity.