Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Day 2, 1000m+ Up

August 23, 2012

We're nowhere near any noisy roosters who do in fact get up at first light but no matter; we get our first early morning wake up call by Saoul (our assistant guide for the trip) for 5:00am. "Wakey wakey!" The nerve!!! If I had something in my hand, I'm sure I would have thrown it at Saoul! As I mentioned at the end of my last post, I was unsuccessful during the night to keep everything in. So I was pretty cranky the next morning.

The things I take for granted though: since we need to get up at 5am, the porters presumably need to get up even earlier to make breakfast, boil water and get us a basin of hot water along with the set-up of all the dining tent supplies/equipment. Since a good bunch of the porters sleep in this tent, it means they all need to be up and atom so that we can eat for 5:30am. Who knew, the sun actually is out at this time.

Once we get dressed and pack our day bags, we start out on the hike again and leave the porters behind with our tents, duffels, dining tent and all the other camping stuff. It can't be more than 30 minutes or so when we hear foot steps racing up behind us and we turn around and see porters heading our way in determined fashion!

The weak tourists humbly make space on the trail as we each start to realize that the porters have spent the time to dissemble our campsite and repack everything only to be racing past us within the hour. In addition to porters hiking past us, local women with their children also leave us in their dust.

The forest is different than the one we walked through yesterday; things are semi-rainforest-esque with vines and other moisture gathering succulents. There are also an increased number of stairs on the trail.

Many of us are taking many more breaks than we did yesterday. Taking a few steps forward felt like a tremendous effort us disheveled low altitude dwellers. But our guides Dimas and Saoul seem to be strolling comfortably up this section of the trail.

As we continue to push ourselves up the never-ending trail, we don't really notice that the vegetation is changing around us and becoming more and more sparse in appearance. The leaves become smaller and the trees turn into shrubs and bushes. We're leaving the tree line of the mountain and getting closer and closer to the Dead Woman's Pass.

The first official rest stop was possibly the most deceiving experience of the entire trip. At this point, the altitude is making the medication make my face, hands and feet tingly and numb. The higher we go, the worse it gets. I poke my face hoping to feel something...

Getting me through this portion of the hike is a real effort. I stop many times huffing and puffing while wishing I had done more training before coming out. I'm the last of the entire group for the better part of the hike and it takes Dimas and Saoul their greatest amount of patience to encourage me through this portion. Looking back at what we've accomplished...

 Llama checking us weak-sauce tourist out.

A young porter resting his load.

Getting closer and closer! Look at how much we've climbed today: we're now past the tree line and only grasses and small shrubs can be seen growing here.

Finally, we made it! It's very windy and cold up here. We take some pictures, marvel at our own physical work and continue.

All that up... for what? So that we can go right back down!

Dimas told us a story of a tourist in his charge who lost some hope at some point and refused to continue. He carried her down these steps while I look back at the decent...

We are entering the cloud forest. With so much effort exerted today, few pictures are taken once we complete the Dead Woman's Pass. Instead, we arrive at our camp site and do little but regain our energy for day 3 of the hike.

No comments:

Post a Comment