The second day with the Mondulkiri Project, we left camp early to embark on a twelve mile trek through the jungle along with our trusty guide.

The trek will be “a little difficult” I remember him saying. I was confident though. The past two months of treks through Thailand had prepared me for this… or so I thought.

The day before should have been an early indication – falling ten times, slip sliding on red clay and Cambodia’s version of ice.

On the day of the hike, my body was sore, but I was alert and ready to go. I was the only one on the trek without a partner as well as the only one who needed a walking stick.

The itinerary was to see as many waterfalls as possible, make it to the bat cave, and see Bunong farm clearing with beautiful cassava, chili peppers, lemon grass, wild rice, pineapples and cashew nut trees.

I must say, the views were spectacular, and even after falling fourteen times I still kept a smile on my face.

Part of the challenges of any trek is being able to know when enough is enough. Sadly, I missed the bat cave. My tired limbs could not muster the energy to go down another slip slide trail. Our guide did his best and even offered to hold my hand along the way. He then fell along with me and I stayed behind under the canopy of lush green.

I spotted a few gnome homes and even though I was missing the bats, I was peaceful in the moment.

When I met up with the group again, they told me I had not missed anything. Whether that was the truth or to make me feel better, we continued on.

When we came to the end of the trek at our guide’s village, I wished for more time to speak to those who greeted us with caution and slight alarm. Cambodia is still a great mystery to me.