The Gibbon Experience: Zip-Lining Our Way Over Laos

In our last blog post, I left you all with a bit of a 16-bit teaser about our upcoming exploits.  Hopefully the Donkey Kong video didn’t send you into the dreaded YouTube Vortex, a never-ending spiral of time-wasting YouTube videos.  But if it did, I hope you at least got to relive some classic video game fun from the 90s.  Because, let’s face it, who doesn’t love some 90s nostalgia now and again?  Especially about the video game where you get to romp through the jungle, jumping from tree to tree, collecting as many bananas as primately possible!

So since the previous blog post, we’ve done a great number of things, both in Laos and Thailand, but without a doubt the highlight from this part of our trip was our excursion into the jungle with The Gibbon Experience (they have a seriously cool mission, check it out!).  Over three days and two nights, we hiked with a local guide through old-growth jungle outside the little town of Huay Xai, Laos, zip-lined hundreds of meters across huge valleys, and slept in tree houses overlooking the afore-mentioned valleys.

Here’s how we got into our treehouse.  Just kidding, this picture is just a temporary placeholder for now until we stay somewhere with a better Internet connection and I can upload a video.  Sadly, this isn’t a photo of us gliding around.  One day….

Here's the view from the treehouse's bathroom.  Not a bad place to ponder life's greatest mysteries...

Here’s the view from the treehouse’s bathroom. Not a bad place to ponder life’s greatest mysteries…

Anna and I had the distinct privilege of sharing our tree house with 7 other avid adventurers hailing from such places as Slovakia, Germany, Australia, and Wyoming.  What a great crew!  We had a blast with this group, both on the trail and just hanging out in the treehouse.  We got the cards out on our second night and played a few rousing games of B.S., as well as a few different renditions of another international favorite.  Out of 9 rounds, Anna earned herself the title of ‘President’ 5 times; maybe she’s discovered what her next job will be!

All of this made for an amazing experience.  But the true highlight of the trip was when we actually saw a gibbon family on the move from our tree house!  Let me set the scene for you.  We’ve already woken up after our first night in the tree house, had a very successful morning of zip line thrills, and eaten lunch.  So, what do all well-behaved adventurers do at this point in the day?  We take a nap!

A few of us with a more patient temperament spend a good while just looking out over the trees for a while in hopes of spotting our elusive primate friends, but we all eventually succumb to the creature comforts of the post-lunch snooze.  All of us except Eagle-Eye-Anna, gibbon spotter extraordinaire.

Anna quietly roused us all from our dreamy state, and we were treated to a good 20-30 minutes of intermittent gibbon spotting!  Sometimes they just hung around, sometimes one would take a flying leap from one tree to another, and sometimes it seemed like a few of them would just horse around with each other.  (Not unlike a bunch of middle schoolers, now that I think about it.)  Here are a few pictures.  You’ll have to zoom in on the dark spots in the trees to really see them.

Momma gibbon with Baby gibbon hanging on.  Zoom in!

Momma Gibbon with Baby Gibbon hanging on. Zoom in!

If you zoom in on this one, you can see the one gibbon who I'm guessing is pondering the existence of the funny-looking pseudo-gibbons in the wooden cage in that tree across the valley...

If you zoom in on this one, you can see the one gibbon who I’m guessing is pondering the existence of the funny-looking pseudo-gibbons in the wooden cage in that tree across the valley…

Year of Fun success!

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Any YoF readers out there have requests for a specific topic for a future blog post?  Let us know and we’ll see what we can put together!

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