Part Two: Crystal Chair to Black Cave!

Me Ra Koh

So excited for tonight’s Ask&Learn, and THRILLED with all your emails and FB pings that tell me how much you love these monthly events on the SOARORITY forum!  Thank you Wendy for helping us keep the SOAR! Forum and Amazing Mom blog posts coming while we are abroad!  (We LOVE you WENDY!)

When we last talked, I was telling you how “relieved” I was to be off the Crystal Chair and headed back down the mountain.  Little did I know that we would be hiking over sharp rocks like this–leaving you nowhere to sit or place your hand.

And then, we’d move from sharp rocks to repelling down a ledge that is to steep to climb.  Remember how I said in Part One that “I’ve got this!”  Ha!  Well, at this point I wasn’t feeling as confident.  But Blaze, holy cow, I’ve never seen him so excited about anything!  It must have something to do with turning seven TODAY!

He took one look at the ledge we were repelling down (with not being roped in!) and was first to go (AGAIN!).

When it’s my turn, I’m freaked.  Here’s the thing.  If I’m roped in, I don’t have an issue with heights or rock climbing.  But when I’m not roped in, I’m known to opt for the elevator instead of the escalator.  I’m not sure what it is, but I start to feel so dizzy–everything spinning more and more.  So I “ungracefully” try to make my way down this little ledge.  And you can see the kids are “super” concerned for the danger that mom feels like she’s in.

This picture just cracks me up b/c I’m terrified at this moment, and my kids are like “Dad, can we keep going?  I’m bored.”

But at some point, someone asks me if I peed my pants.  And I’m like “what?”

Then I look down, and I’m like “WHAT?!…BRIAN, STOP TAKING PICTURES!!”

It’s simply ridiculous how much you sweat in the jungle!  But the fun has only started.  Our friends, JK and Kelley, ask me to turn around to see where we are headed next.  See that black cave behind me?  There is another fun rope to repel in there too!  Except this time, you go over the ledge into pitch black.  If I wasn’t peeing my pants before, I am now!

So the youngest takes the lead because…why not?!  He has the whole way, right?!

Repelling into a space that is lit–that you can SEE– is overrated, right?!

And here goes mom!

And since it takes mom a while to get down, Brian entertains himself because he is super worried for me.  🙂

While the kids wander off into the black cave–with only their headlamps to light the way.

The darkness of the cave and the stalactites were incredibly moving!  The whole experience of being in the darkness with these huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, reminded of a favorite passage from Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way;  Creativity—like human life itself—begins in darkness.  Ideas, like stalactites and stalagmites, form in the dark inner cave of consciousness.  They form in drips and drops, not by squared—off building blocks…Let them grow in dark and mystery.  Let them form on the roof of our consciousness.  Let them hit the page in droplets.”

It’s as if they are reaching down to give you a big KISS!

As you exit the cave, there is one last treasure to explore.  But I’m saving that for another post.  🙂

So…imagine being in this somewhat remote area twenty years ago, when it was SUPER remote.   Imagine a guy and his friend deciding to go exploring in the jungle, bringing along their ropes, headlamps, with no idea of what they might encounter.  They see tracks and decide to follow them up the side of the limestone cliff where they find the Crystal Chair.  And instead of going back the way they came, they go a different route to find ledges that require repelling and a black cave.  IMAGINE repelling into that black cave with no idea of how far down it goes.  INSANE for me to even think about!  I love adventure, but I love it being tested and approved first.  🙂  It’s brave men like Dicky and his friend, who are comfortable pioneering a path, that twenty years later my family gets to try.  A HUGE thank you to Dicky!  He is an awesome guy who discovered a buried treasure–for real!!  A CRAZY HUGE thanks to our dear friends, JK and Kelley, for taking us on the Crystal Chair hike and helping the kids every step.  And a thanks to the Creator for this beautiful corner of the world that holds endless magic whether it’s on the beach with Shway the Turtle or in a black cave with a headlamp to guide your way.

We are headed up to a special lake for our last few days!  We are so excited!!  For the last four years, our friends have been telling us we have to go because it’s like entering Jurassic Park because of how BIG the wildlife is!  We take a long tail for 30 minutes, then a two hour drive farther into the jungle, and then a hour long tail boat up the lake to where our one room bungalow floats on top of the water and wildlife surrounds awaits!  No internet there!  🙂  We’ll update you when we reach Bangkok!  Wish us luck and wonder!  (And a special Mother’s Day greeting tomorrow from me and my two yogis!)



p.s.  THREE more days till Mother’s Day!!  Yahoo!!  It’s a holiday I ADORE!!   Need ideas? Here’s three!

1.  We’ve got ONE spot left in our Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop in two weeks!  CLICK HERE for juicy details!

2.  We’ve got TWO spots left in our Chicago CONFIDENCE Workshop (end of month)!  CLICK HERE for juicy details!

3.  I’ve got ONE Mini Session spot left for Chicago–family portraits for MOM!  Email Genie at for details!

4.  Cancel three, there are four!  🙂  Best selling, YOUR BABY IN PICTURES, book!  Woo-hoo!!!


  1. Christiana says:

    You may have felt like peeing your pants but the in photo of you repelling in the cave you look like an absolute butt-kicker! What a fun adventure! Looking forward to the next installment.

  2. Cyndi says:

    Thanks so much for sharing this amazing time with us! I think its so great, that not only are you and Brian so successful at your careers, but you are totally keeping the kids lives at the top of your priorities. You make time for them and create these incredible experiences that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives! That is so special, and just proves what amazing people(and parents) you are! DIsneyland is great, but WOW the adventure you are all on , is really unbelievable and naturally magical!

  3. Rhonda says:

    SOOOOO Amazing!!!! I’m cracking up as I read this post and can hear your voice telling this to me. You should have Brian give us a tutorial on taking self portraits in dark caves. 🙂 Last summer we went into a cave like that (only it was lit and stairs had been built). It is so awe-inspiring. During our tour through the cave they told us how it was discovered during the Gold Rush and how they did tours by candlelight. Imagine repelling that with a candlestick in your teeth.

  4. BreAnna S says:

    “I love adventure, but I love it being tested and approved first.”…I couldn’t agree more. Those who brave unexplored areas truly are amazing. About halfway through this I was wondering to myself what the wildlife there is like, so imagine how happy I was to hear about the lake you will going to!

  5. Debbie says:

    Thank you for sharing your adventure with us… Have a great time at the “special ” Lake.. we are looking forward to more stories and pictures. Have a safe trip home.. The memories you and the family are making are “priceless”..

  6. Sarah C says:

    Y’all are taking ‘you rock’ to a whole new level. Great shots!

  7. ron storer says:

    Congrats on your award with American PHOTO!

  8. jeramy says:

    what an adventure! happy mothers day to you mera and to all the lovely mothers that make up this wonderful community! 🙂

  9. Robin Fuehrer says:

    Oh my goodness- literally laughing out loud at this post- and I’m in a public place, drawing attention to myself;)
    Thank you for being the brave one to forge the trail in photography- taking on the scary stuff so we can have a bit more confidence going into our journey! Hoping that comment doesn’t sound as cheesey as it looks now that it’s typed;) but as I was reading about Dicky being the brave one to go into the unknown I couldn’t help but think, “Well that’s Me Ra is doing in the photography world for women!”

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