On the peak of Chu Pao
By Kinh Luan in Gia Lai
Thirty years after the wartime, not many people know about Chu Pao, a mountain in the north of the Central Highlands province, Gia Lai. On Highway 14, Chu Pao was known as “Death Peak” during the war because of the fierce fighting that happened there. To many tourists, Chu Pao is just another mountain beside the highway, because they will never know its history. During the rainy season, the mountain comes to life, the grass grows thick and long and the rice fields around the mountain turn a vivid green. The mountain is covered in huge stones, trees and vegetation. Here are some photos taken at the site by The Saigon Times Daily’s photo-journalist Kinh Luan.
According to the language of Ede ethnic minority people, “Chu” means mountain and “Pao” means rock. During the height of the war from 1965 to 1975, Chu Pao was a target of both the North Vietnamese Army and the army of Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). There were lots of bloody hand-to-hand combats in the Red Summer of 1972 as the two armies fought to take control of Highway 14 The mountain peak is covered with fog in the afternoon. It is an ideal place for camping – close to nature with great views and walks. Nguyen Quoc Trinh, a war veteran of the Tenth Division of the North Vietnamese Army who took part in the war in Chu Pao from 1969 to 1975 stands in front of this huge rock near the mountain’s peak. It was at this spot that some of his companion-in-arms died. There are cannon marks in the stone beside him.