After receiving a tip from some local Thais at the resort where we were staying in Sukhothai, my travel mates and I rented bikes and set off south of the city, in search of a remote waterfall in a small national park, virtually unvisited by fellow foreigners. Not thinking it to be much more than a walk in the woods, I threw a bottle of water in my day pack, slipped on my well-worn sandals, and set off on the road with my trusty Honda Click.
After paying the entrance fee to disinterested gatekeepers, who were more wrapped up in the Thai soap opera playing out on their fuzzy TV in the corner, we set off in search of our secret chute in the wilderness. Shortly after, it became apparent that sandals were woefully inadequate footwear for this trail, as it ascended 20-30 degree grades at the worst of it, and towards the end, we had to scramble over granite boulders.
We survived, though, and our reward was 100+ foot high waterfall, a delightfully chilly plunge pool (which required sandals to walk in without hurting your feet) with a cloud of dainty yellow butterflies hovering overhead … and not another soul to be seen.
When you push through hell, or any other less than ideal circumstance, take heart: most of the time, an incredible reward awaits you at the top.