Devil’s Bridge

I left the monastery and the lone monk; he’s finally alone again, just the way he likes it. I reached as far as I could along the river, and knowing that I’d reach Devil’s bridge eventually, I took off my pack and shirt, gave it to the cameramen, and started my adventure upriver. I was so excited for the challenge of traveling upriver for what I expected would be 5 km of swimming, jumping, climbing, wading, and hopping up to a nearby lake. The water was cold but the sun was hot, and diving in was a welcome shock to the system. The cave was dark, mysterious and gorgeous, with calcified teeth reaching down to the water’s edge, only visible by headlamp. There were pockets of warm water, different colored stones and the constant drip of water coming down from everywhere. Once out of the cave, there were huge boulders marking the end of the touristic section, the “no-go zone’’, so I went. Climbing up and jumping from rock to rock, thankful for my training as a rock climber, but being cautious because I threw my back out the day before while playing a primitive village baseball game. Eventually the large rocks ended, and there was no choice but to get wet again, traversing up river, slowly, for 5 km under the reflected hot sun, sticky blackberries everywhere. Further up, mysteriously the large, powerful river became small, stagnant pools of smelly water, and then dry like a desert, with only bear scat and cracked mud along the way. I reached the lake, but it was green and full of snakes. I caught no fish, and slept a little disappointed but with a great triumph.