Tu Lan Adventure Race (Thử Thách Tú Làn) (part 1)

Tu Lan Adventure Race (Thử Thách Tú Làn) (part 1)


As one of many cave systems in UNESCO’s world heritage, Phong Nha – Ke Bang, the Tu Lan Cave system has become a majestic natural landscape. It is surrounded by giant limestone peaks. It is also the venue where an amazing race is organized, called “Thu Thach Tu Lan” for those who love explore the new things and adventure. In this race participants have to trek through jungles, cross rivers and swim through mysterious underground cave rivers. Part 1: Way to Hang Tien cave Team introduction The race 2015 gathered 9 teams coming from Vietnam and other countries. The main mission of the race was not only to pass all difficult obstacles but also to have a good chance to overcome personal fears. Tu Lan cave system is formed by the tectonic movement which occurred 400 million years ago in the Paleozoic Era. Tu Lan cave system is a result of many significant tectonic periods and their motion phases. This also explains the diversity of ecosystems here. With such complex terrain, Tu Lan race promises to bring unforgettable experiences and interesting challenges to all participants. Cao Quang Village, Tuyen Hoa District (Quang Binh Province) People must trek through jungles and cross rivers so the participants are fully equipped with trekking clothes, backpacks, and life jackets to ensure the safety of all participants. The first challenge is to pass 10 km river by Doc Moc boat and then cross the forest to reach Hang Tien cave. To pass these challenges, all individual skills should be shown plus the unifying force of the team. The first terrain of the competition is Rao Nan river Cao Quang Village, Tuyen Hoa District Rao Nan river is a branch of Gianh river with complicated terrain, unpredictable depth and hiding many dangers. The competition has started, all teams are trying to find their best boat. The first break-down occurred as not all 9 teams had the skill to control Doc Moc boat. [Right, right, right] [here] [back there, do something] [push it] ROW Some teams did not take long to get used to this traditional boat so they are enthusiastically leading the race. Obstacles on the way are gradually emerging however. In the summer, the water level in Rao Nan River is low which causes major difficulties for all teams. This is not an easy challenge. It is the time for team to present team power if they would like to pass the river. An unforeseen accident occurred to one of the last teams. The boat was turned upside down. It is one of unpredictable dangers that 9 teams are facing. In rainy season, Rao Nan river can cause disaster for local people. The water level increases and washes away all crops, pets and creates trouble for transportation. Other teams are trying to go through all challenges on the way. The team which has capsized their boat has regained spirit and have overcome the trouble. However, they were left quite far behind. After 2 hours moving on the river, the tiredness is showing on all participants’ faces. Crossing many fords, team 7’s boat was punctured but their determination is staying high. After almost 4 hours, team 7 has completed the first 10 km of river way. Ultimately 3 km of forest way is waiting ahead. [We have passed the boating challenge.] The next obstacle has unusual natural features because of climatic conditions and complex geology. Tu Lan is located in the belt of Alp, a young mountain range created during the Cenozoic Era which has complex structural characteristics. With such terrain, the difficulty level increases gradually for all teams. Beyond trekking skills, all participants must be careful in every step. It has started raining, which adds more difficulties on the road. The participant teams need to find out the proper way to go. Finally, they have seen the goal and arrive at Hang Tien cave safely after many challenges. All participants will have the opportunity to see the beauty of Hang Tien Cave, the most beautiful cave in the Tu Lan cave system. We have tried our best but there were some things which happened on the way so we could not be the winners. Hang Tien Cave is the last cave in Tu Lan cave system located in Cao Quang Village, Tuyen Hoa District. The length of the cave is approximately 2km, the largest width is about 50m, and the highest height of the cave is about 100m. This cave belongs to the forest ecological restoration subdivision of the Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park. According to the British Cave Research Association Hang Tien is the second Paradise Cave in Quang Binh. Hang Tien cave is a dry cave which doesn’t have an underground river. It has many stalactites and miraculous stalagmites. Most of the ground in the cave is flat so people can visit and explore the caves easily. According to scientists the weathering process in Hang Tien cave took place about 350 million years ago. The main terrain types in here are limestone and mountain land. At the end of the day, all 9 teams have a free night to rest and recover to prepare for other challenges waiting in the next day.

Danny Hutson

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