Is there something hiding in the bush?

When we arrived at our lodge in Danum Valley I was not feeling that great. The ride up was in a truck on a dirt road. Our driver, a young and friendly man, apparently wants to be a race car driver. To be honest, I was probably three shades of green. As the host welcomed us, she mentioned something about our guide not being present for the meeting since he was up all night, tracking something. At the time, I didn’t care all that much. I was doing my best to smile and nod, acting like I was listening, when in fact I was fighting the urge to dash to the toilet.

An hour later I felt much better, just in time to greet our friends who were joining us for the rest of the trip. Thank goodness I recovered quickly from the truck ride because I would have missed what we found on the afternoon walk. Our itinerary said we would be doing a canopy walk. However, I soon learned that our guide was somewhat distracted. In fact all of the guides were distracted. And all of them were talking to each other on radios, but I couldn’t understand what they were saying. It was odd, but hey, when in Danum Valley.

As it turned out, all of the guides had been up the night before because several Borneo Elephants, also called Pygmy Elephants, had made an appearance, and they had not been seen in many years. Many, many years. There was a buzz among the guides and guests. I soon learned that several guides who didn’t have any groups with them at the time were out tracking the elephants and right when we headed for our walk, the elephants turned towards the road leading to our lodge.

Recently I shared a photo of a group of people waiting to see the elephants. If you missed it, here it is again.


I get distracted easily and I started to take photos of nothing in particular.

1225 1228

The guides


Oh wait, I see something


Come on out

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Uh, oh. At this point one of the guides is whispering authoritatively that all of us needed to skedaddle and fast


All clear


Wait, don’t leave yet


The group

Time for us to go


The guides didn’t want us to disrupt their movements so it was time for us to leave them alone and to have a celebratory drink.

About TBM

TB Markinson is an American who's recently returned to the US after a seven-year stint in the UK and Ireland. When she isn't writing, she's traveling the world, watching sports on the telly, visiting pubs in New England, or reading. Not necessarily in that order. Her novels have hit Amazon bestseller lists for lesbian fiction and lesbian romance. She cohosts the Lesbians Who Write Podcast ( with Clare Lydon. TB also runs I Heart Lesfic (, a place for authors and fans of lesfic to come together to celebrate lesbian fiction.
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39 Responses to Is there something hiding in the bush?

  1. Just amazing! What unbelievable photos you took ~ feel like I was there. Thanks for sharing these! How special. πŸ™‚

  2. megtraveling says:

    Fantastic pictures – I really like elephants!

  3. lazybill says:

    Ha! That’s amazing…those sneaky, elusive elephants!

  4. Another experience you will never forget! How amazing is that to be there at the exact moment that they decided to show up after so many years with no sightings? I think I would have had a huge grin plastered on my face for the rest of the trip after that. I think you are going to have to write a book about your travel experiences. You have so many amazing stories to tell :).

    • TBM says:

      If I wrote a book then all of you would learn how many times I fall down on my travels, the hangovers, the number of wrong buses, running after planes, language barriers, bathroom emergencies … the list goes on and on. And it would prove that the Better Half is usually right when it comes to directions. Not sure I can live with that.

      • That’s the whole point. It would have fascinating information and stories as well as laugh your ass off parts LOL! I’m telling you, it would be on the bestseller list for sure, especially if you have pictures to support the falls, hangovers, and bathroom emergencies :). We wouldn’t be laughing at you – we would be laughing with you!

      • TBM says:

        I think I need a few more trips under my belt and a few more embarrassing moments. Don’t worry, it won’t take me long to fall down again. Not sure I have the photographic evidence for the bathroom emergencies–at least not mine πŸ™‚

  5. Colline says:

    How lucky you were to have seen such a sight. Amazing.

  6. aFrankAngle says:

    Just another example of the importance for being in the right place at the right time.

  7. fgassette says:

    GREAT SHOTS! I thought there was some kind of animal out there.


  8. Vishy says:

    Beautiful photos and beautiful post, TBM! It must have been really exciting when the first elephant came out and then the whole family followed! It is amazing that this happened after so many years. So jealous of you πŸ™‚

    • TBM says:

      I can’t recall the exact date, but I don’t think the elephants had been around since the 1990s. The lodge area, since they have been spotted in Danum. I wish I got a better shot of the baby, but all of them were protective and I understand why. And never mess with a mom!

  9. bulldog says:

    This is just an amazing encounter… having spent so many years walking in the bush I know what a special encounter is like… and this must have been very special… wonderful share…

  10. What great timing. Well done, you.

  11. lynnsbooks says:

    Shy pygamy elephants. Don’t you just love them.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  12. pattisj says:

    That’s pretty amazing that you got to see them, then. Nice!

  13. How wonderful. Bet that made up for the awful journey and the sore legs from the mountain hike πŸ™‚

    • TBM says:

      It did and this was one of the first days I could walk almost normally. I did meet another couple at the lodge who were limping because they climbed the mountain as well. It made me smile. I wasn’t the only one.

  14. Sweet Tooth Travels says:

    What an amazing experience!

  15. i am so envious. they are such wonderful animals.

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