Up-close with elephants: a photo essay of life with a herd

//pagead2.googlesyndication.com/pagead/js/adsbygoogle.js // <![CDATA[ (adsbygoogle = window.adsbygoogle || []).push({}); // ]]> Thick, leathery gray legs covered with a layer of thick, wet, chocolate-colored dirt, surround me. At first, I am apprehensive. On all sides of me are six-ton elephants. Capable of plowing me over. I look over to Lek, the founder of Elephant Nature Park, withContinue reading “Up-close with elephants: a photo essay of life with a herd”

A trip to a Thai elementary school: a photo essay

Most of the time at Elephant Nature Park is spent at the park, caring for elephants and helping maintain the facilities. However, our calendar of volunteer activities clearly shows that on Thursday, we are heading out of the park to do some volunteer work at the village elementary school with the kids. I love myContinue reading “A trip to a Thai elementary school: a photo essay”

Knee-deep in mud: the planting grass adventure

Thank goodness I am wearing boots, because otherwise, when I am knee-deep in the thick, gloppy mud in the humid and overcast afternoon, my foot would come shooting out and cause me to face plant it into the neat little rows of grass we are planting. Our afternoon volunteer activity is another labor-intensive experience. ThisContinue reading “Knee-deep in mud: the planting grass adventure”

An inside look at Elephant Nature Park

Chai hands us each a huge bundle of bananas as we suit up in our rain gear. “For our walk,” he explains. I pull on my gum boots (with socks this time) and pull my poncho over my head, tucking my camera under it securely so it won’t get rained on. The clouds have beenContinue reading “An inside look at Elephant Nature Park”

They gave me a machete: a true story of corn-cutting

Our group of 10 piles into the back of a pickup truck at 8 a.m. We’re covered head-to-toe, largely to avoid ants crawling down our clothing and nipping us. I’ve got on a hat with fabric flaps, a long-sleeved shirt, a T-shirt, leggings, gum boots, and a pair of gloves. And, I’m not as coveredContinue reading “They gave me a machete: a true story of corn-cutting”

Travel Bloggers Give Back: The Elephant Nature Park

I will never forget the first time I reached my hand out and touched the pink-speckled trunk of an Asian elephant. Towering over me, this beautiful girl stood, flapping her large ears in the late summer heat of Thailand. She stood in front our little group of volunteers, all of us nearly speechless at ourContinue reading “Travel Bloggers Give Back: The Elephant Nature Park”

I’m not full of it, I’m shoveling it

I wake up early on my first day — as soon as the light begins to sneak through the tiny cracks in the wood, and the more than 100 dogs begin to bark their “hellos” to their cat neighbors and the elephants start making their noises out my window. I’m too excited to sleep anyContinue reading “I’m not full of it, I’m shoveling it”

Blessings from a shaman

It starts as a drizzle after dinner … a soft pitter patter on the roof of the main area at the Park. It’s dark, so we can’t really see the full effect. But, we can hear it. Within minutes, that light little drizzle gives way to sheets of rain, dumping from the sky. As weContinue reading “Blessings from a shaman”

A room at the (primitive) Palace

I don’t expect much when Jack hands me the key to my room, a hut in the Palace complex. On the Elephant Nature Park’s Web site, it states the toilets are squat and the showers are Thai (meaning buckets to rinse, no shower heads), so when I walk the few feet to my lodging forContinue reading “A room at the (primitive) Palace”

Floating elephant poo and other awesomeness

“Ele poo! Look out, ele poo!” Jack screams as we wade into the rushing water, elephants at our side. Sure enough, there are huge balls of elephant poo floating by our legs. It’s like the elephants just hold it until they hit their own, big rushing river toilet. Before we get into the water, weContinue reading “Floating elephant poo and other awesomeness”