Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Where's the trail?

Leave it to Becca to leave me with the manual labor. Isn't that how it always works?

Three days of hiking with the folks on the left made up the trekking portion of this little adventure. The first two days gave us definite flashbacks to our hikes in Norway (aka The Billy Goat Files) as we hiked up some seriously steep hills while the final day had us trudging back and forth through streams about the last half of the trek. Thankfully not many of them were deep and for the most part, we all made it through fairly dry.

Some highlights from each of the days:

Day 1:
A three hour hike to the top of Sam Yord (Three Peak) Mountain was a quick but hot and grueling start to the trip. Pretty much just three hours straight up, mucho sun and not a lot of scenery for us heading to the Hmong village. No super highlights except a lung burning reminder that we'd spent too much time hibernating in Denmark before heading to Asia.

Day 2:
Six hours going from the Hmong to Khmu village, complete with four ascents and descents (no hors categories for you Tour de France fans but potential a few category ones and some nice views). A long day of hiking, compete with a few adventurous bridges and just basic climbing over stuff, much like a lot of the "trails" we encountered in Poland. My overriding thought for most of the hike was in regards to going off trail. You're warned not to in Laos and Cambodia due to the number of still live landmines floating around. My brain instead was focusing on "Is this really the trail?" Not the worst, but not a whole lot of room for error in places. Plus I think we had one branch in the road all day. I also highly recommend not trying to walk between rice paddies and a town's sole hydroelectric source after 7 shots (granted falang shots I think) of Lao Lao. Happy Birthday to me.

Day 3:
Final day. Most tours that would mean a meandering easy hike complete with leisurely lunch and then a mid afternoon arrival back in town. Not here baby. Despite a slow start (our guide was a little er... hungover from the Lao Lao) we had three more peaks to climb and a bunch of streams to climb over/around/through. Beautiful start to things though the clear skies meant warms temps. Thankfully most of the time we were in the jungle. Even if it doesn't give you a true sense of how you're on just one of endless string of hills. A long day of hiking but with filling meals and plenty of breaks, we made it through all in one piece. All in all an adventurous journey and beautiful landscape, both in the infrequent views of the horizon and in the constantly changing detail of the jungle.

A bonus for reading about our three days of hard hiking? Water buffalo sighting!

I aim to please.


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