29 Dec 2013

Journey to old and wild tea trees. Part 3

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1000-years trees

After a while, the forest became even denser and filled with lianas.

Lianas

Lianas.

In one of these places, we found another tea tree easy to pick up leaves from. We were promised to allocate some time for "harvesting" on the way back, but Jenia had picked up some few at once.

Листья дикорастущего чайного дерева, Таиланд

Вот они, дикие листья

Here is one more picture of that place:

Lianas

Lianas.

Then again, we accelerated the pace. After some time of walking across the hills and ravines, our guides asked what trees we wanted to see first, 100-200 years old or the ones of the age of 1000? And explained that the places are different. We decided to look at the eldest trees, for the beginning and made no mistake with the choice.

I don’t want to weary you with my travel notes and keep waiting any longer, we reached the target. Here they are, two thousand-years trees. All our jolly crowd is near the first tree, and the second is slight to the right:

Thousand-year-old tea tree

Thousand-year-old tea tree

Our tea treasure turned out of such width...

Thousand-year-old tea tree's trunk width

Trunk width.

and of such height:

Thousand-year-old tea tree's height

The tree's height

Because of the constant fog and drizzle cameras were constantly wet. I tried to capture the crown, so you could estimate the scale:

Thousand-year-old tea tree's top

Thousand-year-old tea tree's top.

Jenia is trying to do the same by his built-in optics:

Jenia staring at old tea tree

Jenia staring at old tea tree.

One of our first obvious questions was about the reliability of a determined age. What gave our guides and other local peasants, non-competent in tea matters, the idea of a thousand years?

As it turned out, it was all grown-up. One skillful Chinese guy from China with a large Chinese-reference book visited the trees. He made measurements of trunk diameter and height of the trees, probably took into account the altitude of the place (we did not talk about it, but I think it's required), he dug in his book and declared the age. Then he folded up the clever Chinese book in his Chinese bag and went back home to China. Something like this.

Thousand-year-old tea tree

Thousand-year-old tea tree.

Well, we walked around, patted the trees and began to think about the high (in all senses of the word) - if we could harvest a little from them... then we asked whether it is possible at all? Thais responded: "Yes, please. Who of you will climb?". The trunks were wet, we were also wet, in wet boots under a drizzling rain and with no equipment. No one would climb.

The guides say that picking up leaves from these trees is very difficult and you can not do it often. The branches are long, so you need to climb higher and cut down thick ones with a machete. And only then, on the ground, you can do the harvesting. And then you have to wait until new branches and leaves will grow up. Such a barbaric way to collect tea leaves! We were not able to come up with anything smarter than it, anyway. We just picked up several leaves from the lowest branches for memory. Broken stems smelled amazing: currants, something minty and spicy. Very interesting smell.

It's a pity that there was no time and weather for me to climb those trees, I could do it. I used to be good at climbing trees in my childhood. But this time we decided that for the first acquaintance it was enough and went back.

And then our guides asked us if we were ready to go to 100-200 years old trees through very impassable thickets. We postponed this trip to the next time.

Back we went another way and took a shortcut. It was a whole two kilometers shorter which is a very significant distance in the jungle. At the end of the journey, it turned out that the road to the trees was eight kilometers there and six back. So we passed 14 kilometers in a single day!

There was nothing interesting to tell you about our way back, except that it is very overgrown with thorns.

After a while, we came to a large glade.

Let’s start from us, crazed:

Wild tea travellers

Wild tea travelers.

There was everything: toilets, forester's house, equipped spring. This was a civilized reserve.

Every time I look at the next series of iPhone-pictures that Jenia made, I am reminded of "Twin Peaks". While there, in the film, seems to was no mist...

Misty jungle view 1

Misty jungle view 1.

We have already found the trees, but Laura’s murderer we decided not to seek for, just in case.

Misty jungle view 2

Misty jungle view 2.

It’s me going to the forester’s house:

Misty jungle view 3

Misty jungle view 3.

The end of the report, but not the end of the journey

We have safely reached the hotel. Look, what a morning was the next day!

Morning in a small Thai village

Morning in a small Thai village.

It is about to rain, and this is a sure sign for us of a soon start:

Going to continue our tea trip

Going to continue our tea trip.

What happened next? Then there were other tea villages, tea productions, plantations, and acquaintances. We have found different amazing teas, unusual for Thailand, which were just falling into our hands. You can find it in our store (here you can buy oolong, and here pu-erh).

In the end, I’ll show you more pictures. There were a lot of beautiful places along the serpentine.

Nice view during tea trip

Nice view during tea trip.

Nice view during tea trip 2

Another nice view during tea trip.

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