I’m not sure how why or when I signed up for so much trekking in my travels. Unlike most nations us Brits don’t tend to do as much trekking as a weekend hobby and down south we don’t really have the hills to practice on for the kind of treks I’m now experiencing. Im slightly cursing myself for not making the time to work on my cv fitness and stamina but I’m doing it and enjoying it, although at some points in a masochistic way.
Hey ho, I have Everest Base Camp in a month or so, eek. Thank god I took the plunge and invested in North Face ankle support boots and was given a couple of pairs of bamboo socks – amazingly comfy and no blisters!
We slept in a monastery pre-trek, called the Baoguo Temple. It’s a truly beautiful complex of ancient buildings with practising monks and call to prayer at 4.30am. The largest incense sticks I’ve ever seen fill the air with sweet smoky smells and candles burn all around. The accommodation is basic, 6 of us shared a room but it had everything we needed.
The trek from the monastery up the mountain consists of a never ending series of steps, little steps. Hundreds of them, thousands even. We did 18 K to our guest house near the Wangnian Temple. One of the highlights is to see monkeys en route. Try and avoid the one-armed mental teeth baring monkeys. One of our group had one land on his rucksack, after food I think and had to punch him in the side of his head. Also avoid the buses, you’ll realise this when you go to buy tickets and check out the posters that depict various bus crashes that have happened with pictures of dead bus victims.
There are ways to cheat, including a cable car, but possibly the most inventive way was to be carried up on a stretcher with two nimble men prancing up the steps carrying you. These mainly seem to be occupied by overweight middle aged men on their mobile phones.
The air is fresh in the mountain, the trees lush and no one experienced any altitude issues. I will never moan about climbing a large flight of stairs again after doing 6 hours worth!