Greetings faithful blog minions!
For the past week, and a day on either side of the week for rest, our motley crew have been occupied with our group trekking choice of THE NAM HA CHALLENGE. This trek, picked from a website given to us by our trip leaders early in our trip, was a 7 day excursion into the jungles of luang namtha and around the Namtha national park. The terrain was very muddy and full of the most feared creature known to man! THE LEECH! these little critters were the plague of the jungle we were in. Not all the spiders and mosquito bites and the slipping and sliding down slick muddy paths all put together could rival the leeches’ bloodsucking ways. In short the hike was challenging and we all struggled on different levels physically and mentally. Every day consisted of waking up around 7-7:30 and eating breakfast. Gear was packed damp sweaty clothes were donned. During this wakeup process sticky rice wrapped in palm leaves and water was distributed. Each day varied in length but a few things remained constant. Leeches, long stretches of thick mud, humidity/occasional rain. Around midday we would break for lunch and rest up for about an hour and the finish off the rest of the distance. Getting into “camp” was always a welcome reprieve from our blood thirsty parasites and a good opportunity to peel off our sweat soaked clothing and lay down and shower at some point while our guides prepped dinner for us. It is only now that I will mention that lunch and dinner were most definitley a group affair. Each one of us had our own plate piled with sticky rice but if you wanted soup meat or anything else with it we all found our hands or spoons dipping into the community dinner platers or bowls. During the entire trip we saw amazing scenery and small villages. I feel safe to say everyone was glad to have taken part in this adventure and even happier to get into clean clothes…….to be continued!
In my youthul impatience I have overseen a few more details that I feel need some more attention. I would like everyone to know that our guides were and still are the most amazing set of people we could have possibly gotten to lead our trip. Their names were Sai(pr:Sigh) and Me(haha no funny pr: there). Sai’s grasp of english was simply amazing and all of us spent lots of time conversing with him about various aspects of our hike or just pleasurable things about life in general and even some more complex things. He was very aware of the group and called breaks for water or catching breath appropriately. Me was know to us and prove himself worthy of the nickname jungle man. He apparently didn’t speak english except for a few words but I feel that I speak for the group that he definitly understood more of our conversations than he let on. He was a strong hiker and great companion for sitting around to lounge during breaks or in the evening. Both were great cooks and they cooked us all our meals!
The terrain itself was something most people in the world never get to experience. Mountains+Jungle made for a very rough terrain to hike in. The mountains themselves during our hikes upwards never really took more than an hour to get up and it was even faster down if it was muddy or just good trail, slower if it was wet rock. Seeing exposed views at the tops of these rolling mounds in the land made for a startling view of a very dramatic and extremly green landscape.
My trip leader thought it might be a good idea to include sounds we were exposed to during the hike. For the most part it wasn’t very dramatic. In some areas you could hear cicadas whirring whatever sound parts furiously together to the point that you could swear they were everywhere….and now that I think about it they probably actually were.
All the towns we stopped at to spend the night in were very pleasent. The people in the village accomodated us and fed us their own food and provided sleeping arrangements to boot. It was an amazingly kind jesture on their part. The people here in Laos, all the places we have been, have been extrodinairily friendly!
ps. heres a link to some pics I have taken during the trip take a peek! its in the South east Asia album (ill be adding more as the trip progresses but since I started late it will take some time to catch up to our current place :D)