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30/07/2020 - 08:35

Hunting photos on Bach Ma mountaintop

By midday, after preparing all necessary things, especially working tools, we got on the car and started to leave Hue for Bach Ma (White Horse) National Park.

Hunting clouds on Bach Ma

Bell jingle in the immense mountain and forest

Each person carried more than 20kg. The backpack of Anh Tuan (37), a photographer from Ho Chi Minh City was probably the heaviest with about 26kg including all cameras and lenses.

I remember the first time when Tuan came to Hue to take photos in 2013. On that occasion, I took him to Bao Vinh Ancient Town to take photos of the conical hats and to Thanh Tien Confetti Village. Since then, every year Tuan has visited Hue for taking photos.

He said that Hue undergone enjoyable changes every time I visited. This time, we had an appointment with him to Bach Ma. The group also had Nguyen Phuc (36), Dinh Hieu (25) and Phuoc Trung (28), who all live in Hue City.

Hunting clouds on Bach Ma

Arriving at the gate of Bach Ma National Park, we stopped for tickets. The ticket price is VND 60,000 for adults and VND 40,000 for children. Despite falling under the influence of by COVID - 19, Bach Ma has tourists because it is in summer, roads are easier to travel and streams are shallower. The booking-clerk said, “After 4pm, visitors cannot enter the forest anymore; that's a general regulation.”

 We had to move another 19km to reach Bach Ma. The road to the top of Bach Ma is quite steep and zigzag. From both sides of the road, we saw a lot of ancient ferns about 5-6 meters high, with wide foliage. The mountaintop was wreathed with rather dense clouds

Phuc drove worrying, "It is likely to rain. It is said that there is always rain in the afternoon. ”The car crawled up the top of the mountain, and it rained after several kilometers. We were quite worried because the prolonged rain would hinder photographing.

The car stopped at the end of the road for cars. From here, we had to walk to the mountaintop. Vong Hai Dai (The highest point on Bach Ma mountaintop to enjoy the view) came into sight in the sun after the pellucid rain. At the mountaintop, besides us, there was a group of tourists, including some Westerners.

Phuoc Trung called out to Anh Tuan and pointed to the large bell placed on the mountaintop, “You are a guest. You should go there and ring a bell for joy of rain stopping for us to hunt the photos at sunset. ”

Standing on the mountaintop, we will see the sunset towards Hue City. "The best sunset on the peak of Bach Ma this season range from 4:30 to 5 pm," Phuc said, after reviewing the photos he has just taken. It was because just after the rain, the halo was still floating on the mountainsides.

After a few moments of shooting, Anh Tuan started to attach a rotary device. Looking at the software that forecast the wind level of about 40 km/h, we started to get nervous.

“It is easy to lose the drone to fly at such a wind speed; the wind blows across the mountainside.’’Trung said when the group was busy with the pile of equipment. Despite the weather, Anh Tuan decided to fly because he rarely had the opportunity to reach Bach Ma to hunt photos. It was a waste and regret not to shoot.

A female tourist engrossed in reading on Bach Ma mountaintop

We lingered, waiting for the sunshine to disappear completely at about 7 pm. At that time, squid-catching boats on Chan May Sea started to light up. The sea view is so beautiful. Some photos were taken, and then we packed up to go down the mountain to save energy for tomorrow's journey.

Entering the forest from 3 am

Spending the night at Do Quyen Villa, we rent a room for 3 people, priced at 950 thousand VND per room. At 3 am, we got up and went to the forest. After preparing the equipment, Dinh Hieu inserted into the backpack two more bottles of ready-made milk coffee that we had bought from Hue, some cakes, water and dry food.

The road to Vong Hai Dai at a height of 1,400m above sea level

Sharing the insect repellent vials, we set off. The temperature here was quite cold by night, but everyone only wore an anorak because walking was thought to be keeping the body warmer.

The night forest is pitch-dark. The incessant whistle of birds on seeing the light seemed to follow us. The howl of apes was somewhere in the forest.

With the flash-light and light from the phone, we walked in a row.  Phuc volunteered to go ahead, occasionally jumping up, making our heart skip a beat. He repeated, “It seems like a certain insect has just crawled up my leg.” We felt creepy when darkness enveloped everything, but at the thought of the photos that will be taken at sunrise, we were highly motivated.

It was 4 am when we reached the mountaintop.Looking towards the sea, a bright reddish-brown halo appeared on the horizon. Each of us kept busy with cameras, lenses, and tripod, waiting for sunrise.

After a while, looked from the mountaintop, the sunrise was the indescribably beautiful. Phuc shot with lavish praise.The sea surface began to lighten before our eyes, and then when the sunshine appeared and overflowed, the shadow of one mountain over another together with the movement of light could be seen

A thin mist lingered on the sea surface because of rain yesterday.I did not have any words to describe the "sacred" moment when witnessing a new day from the peak of 1,400m above sea level.

At 7 am, everything on the mountaintop seemed to be over. We sat reviewing the photos, had breakfast with pastries and dry food. We got ready for the journey to Ngu Ho - Do Quyen Waterfall.

Leaving beautiful moments

Around 10 pm, the last photos taken at the top of Do Quyen Waterfall closed our journey. Tuan foraged in his backpack for ginseng candies and gave us one each. He said," Gain strength, otherwise the blood sugar lowers.”

Taking advantage of the chance to operate at the Third Lake when the sun has just shone through the forest.

Sitting on the cliff, Phuc reviewed the moments shot. Tuan told us to get up to pick up the plastic bags entangled in the stream, while he jumped to the other side to take the garbage bag someone had collected and hung in a hidden corner by the stream.

After putting the camera in the backpack, Phuc also started cleaning up garbage around the top of the waterfall. He said, "We don’t know about others, but we have to try to take the garbage out of the forest. Do you see the slogan at the beaches ‘Do not leave anything but footprints?’ Now in the forest, we should also leave the beautiful memory and moment.”

We collected two rather big garbage bags and tied them to the backpack. On the trail back, there were also trash cans, but no one intended to put the garbage bags we collected into them. We definitely had to take the garbage out of the forest!

Story: THUY HANG

Photos: NGUYEN PHONG, TUAN KIET, NAM GIAO, TAN PHUC, ANH TUAN

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