Mountains, monsoons and mosquitoes: highlights from amphibian biologist Dr Jodi Rowley's diary of her recent field trip to Central Vietnam.
We left camp for the mountain behind us at about 2.30pm. One of the team decided to stay at camp, in anticipation of the steep ascent. And steep it was. After an hour or so, we finally reached the mountain ridge, climbed up a rock face using a “rope” of bamboo, and up on to an amazing pile of jagged rocks with a near 360 degree view around us of mountains and valleys.
We sat perched on the rocks like monkeys, chatting and taking in the scenery. We listened to thunder getting closer, saw the clouds roll in, and then saw the rain advance across the range. Just as the rain was abou to hit, we scurried out of the open and behind the boulders where there was some overhang to protect us from some of the storm. We crouched under the rocks until the storm passed, staying mostly dry. We then emerged and ate dinner (sticky rice with peanuts, and dried pork).
We planned to survey a stream just downhill from the ridge, but we went quite a while down hill (“skiing” on mud and debris down the steep slope) before we found the stream. It was a rather hideous stream, made up mostly of lose debris, narrow and steep sided, and clogged full of vegetation. I could hear many frogs, but couldn’t find a single one.
After a few hours I was pretty exhausted- stumbling forward in a bit of a haze, and then smashing my head on a log. My feet are also slightly worse for wear (my big toes seem to be getting smacked on rocks a bit too often). We headed back to camp slowly, and to sleep after some instant noodles.