This evocative view was found outside of the "inn" that my motorcycle driver, Mr. Hiep, selected for the final night of our six-night tour through Vietnam's Central Highlands. The five-room inn was full of heavy, hand-hewn wooden furniture, likely made from the same trees that used to stand on the right mountainside in this image. Just a short walk away, out of this shot on the right, a large waterfall cascaded down the mountainside and under a bridge, and gave us constant company with its soothing sound.
As seen here, one side of the valley was untouched jungle - beautiful to look at, and somewhat intimidating due to how thick and primeval it looked from a distance. The other side of the valley was a mix of inhabited land, cleared mountainside, and closer to the waterfall, similarly untouched as the left side of the valley. The difference between the two sides of the river is quite stark, and serves as a reminder of how a single paved road can really open up and change the future for land that had been too difficult to access in previous times. There are a lot of resources in that thick jungle, including the land itself, and in a country like Vietnam, extraction of those resources can bring a lot of benefits to people who need them. Sustainable land management can stem the damage done by human intervention, but only if systems are put in place to encourage—or even incentivize—such methods.
It rained much of that last day or so, which was not pleasant to deal with while riding on the back of a motorcycle. However, the rain, clouds and fog made for beautiful scenes, especially when we drove along stretches of road where the land had not been so heavily cleared.