I published an article about the experience in Vision Magazine. It's been six years now and the article isn't available online, so I've been asked by numerous people to repost it here.
Vision Magazine, 2006
“Rich, why are you not strong?!”
The jibe came at me from Juke Nadee, a 22 year-old Thai mahout who was sitting in the back of a beat-up farm truck next to my girlfriend, Megan. We were in the jungle, several miles from the village of Nonghoi, Thailand. At the time, I was 20 feet up an elephant-sugarcane tree in heavy winds, struggling to hack through limbs as thick as my thigh with Juke’s rusty, but shockingly sharp knife. I could hear Megan snicker.