This is the post where I tell you all the ugly. Oh there are some good points, but I am just point blank saying that when the travel brochure stated that the one hour mountain hike up to the village to stay in a family home was easy. And the guy I talked to, to verify this, and if I needed to bring my trek poles, told me that it wasn’t steep, pretty flat, and no poles needed…well… that was total B. S.
Staying at the $700 /night Branson’s hotel down the road sounds like a bargain to me after having climbed… literally using both my hands in some spots, up the rocky path for 1.5 hours. Quite honestly, I am not in shape to have done this hike.
The 3 mules lugged our night bags up, following me. They were behind me, just in case I needed to fling my body over one of them to get me to the top of the village.
The people in our group expressed concern…not about me dragging my fat ass, chugging, and puffing, and drenched in sweat, but about “oh those poor donkeys, they are so patient, maybe they should go ahead.”
So it was a great thing that I spent time climbing up The Stairs at the park each day these past 6 weeks. That helped a lot. But, the altitude here, and the constant steep ascent over rocks…not pebbles, not stones, but huge rocks, was an eye-opener. This was left out of the description in the detailed itinerary.
And I had Abby. She walked beside me. Holding my hand. Guiding me up and over the rocks. Wiping the sweat off my face with a wet towel. Stayed with me as I rested. And was a great hiking partner.
Our guide kept to the rear with us. He was concerned that I might pass out due to the amount of sweat I was showering the donkey pooped path with. Abby, and I both reassured him that we just sweat, a lot! And we would make it. That we walk slow, but that we can suck it up and get to where we need to go. And we did.
People live in villages carved out of the sides of mountains here. They build their homes using the materials around them; clay, sand, and straw; rock…lots of rock; bamboo, and small trees. Inside the homes, some have electricity and indoor plumbing. The place we are staying in, is set up as an abergue/in, with three twin beds in each room. The showers are mountain spring fed cold!
The animals have stalls located under the houses. Chicken coops, bunnies, goats. Oh, and of course shopping stalls for the tourists!
So we will spend the night up here in the mountain village, and clamber back down early in the morning. I will hold the group up by taking my time, picking my way gingerly down over the rocks. But, they won’t care, as this will give them the excuse needed to shop at the stalls when they find them.
I am grateful for having a good mom and daughter relationship in which we embrace the adventures that life throws at us. Where we adapt, accommodate, and enjoy our travels of collecting memories and not focused on the material goods that one obtains.