Sea to Sky
9th Oct 2010
Day 6 - Dead Woman's Pass
Not a great night sleep, woke up at 1am, wide awake and all bunged up, incredibly hot, wiggle socks off and toss relentlessly. Porters greet us with knock on the tent door and calls of coca tea at 5:30. Sort our stuff out, sponge bath against the wall and off for breakfast. Porter hands us hot towels (obviously) and we settle down for sugar puffs with yoghurt, omelette and bread & jam. Give the porters a bag of coca leaves. Get started for our trek about 6:45.
First part is consistently uphill but relatively gentle, I'm forging ahead of the pack, spurred on by the Kendle mint cake. Decide to stop after about an hour and wait a fair while for the others to catch up. We have a little break at a campsite, take on more snacks, Elevens bar this time. Set off again and again I'm making good time, spurred on by coca leaves and trying to stay ahead of the old Peruvian woman who is hot on my heels. See a lot of familiar faces today as we stop where we see others and they stop when they see us, or giving encouragement as we overtake each other. There's much more of a togetherness feel than the first day, everyone has experienced a nights camping, we've all set off around the same time and we all know that today is the tough day. Stop by a mini-campsite, chat to a couple of girls and take their picture, Jo says "what part of Australia are you from", I wince, they say "I'm from Canada and she's from New Zealand". Jo tries to recover by asking what part and saying she has family from there. I distance myself from Jo's comments, Jo tries to alienate me as well by claiming I was brought up in Cairns, I'm horrified "that's in Queensland where all the loonies come from". See Canadian / Kiwi many more times after that fo-pa.
Today is very tough, as I said, about 8km, 1,200m up and 600m down. Again, these Inca chaps may have been very good at building ruins but perhaps a few tunnels wouldn't have gone a miss. Bob is finding it especially tough. Spend more time chatting with Tony & Katie as we all get a bit more comfortable and find some common ground, other than work and the trail. Adventure programmes seems to be a particular favourite with all of us, Bear Grills, Man vs Wild, Everest Beyond the Limit. Doing outdoor stuff too but I must admit they do much more than us, proper camping in the woods rather than weekends away in posh hotels in Dorest with day trips to the countryside.
The last 500m is really tough with the push for the summit, I greatfully exchange forging ahead for just surviving. Jo and I are doing this section together, stoping every 50m for a breather. There's a group of people at the top we've been chatting to on the way, all plus Tony & Katie shout encouragement as we go for the final push. We eventually make it and with a sense of great relief and achievement. It's been great weather for the trek all day, clear and mild in the forest but it's colder on the top. Peer over the other side and it could be a different country, very cold, wet & blowing a gale, but that is where we're going next. Wrap up for the next stage, a long downhill descent through the cloud. Definitely easier as not out of puff every 5 mins but still difficult stepping down steep steps for the next 2km. The constant jarring of footfalls in quite draining and I have the mother of all headaches coming on. Finally make it to camp, the porters applaud us in without a hint of irony. Tiny rest and some Nuerofen and over to lunch. I'm halfway through my soup and I can't go on, I say my apologies and back to the tent for some shut eye until the tablets kick in.
I wake to hear Jo cursing outside as her hair mouse has exploded in her kitbag. I feel much more human and help Jo sort things out before we join the others for afternoon tea. Today we have popcorn, jeepers I say, they've hauled a popcorn maker up here. Plenty more chatting about outdoor shows and life over Milo & popcorn. Tony & Katie leave and Bob joins us, more chit chat before we realise we're probably holding up the porters from preparing dinner, so back to the tent for 40 winks (Bob doesn't join us). Back down again for hot towels and three course meal. Finish up, then it's pee, fag & teeth clean by head torch. I write the blog and Jo is now fast asleep, will get myself comfy and maybe listen to "I'm sorry I haven't a clue".
Trekked today 8km
Distance trekked 15km
Time on the trail 39 hrs
Max altitude 4,200m
Current altitude 3,800
Distance travelled 11,192km
|9th Oct 2010 Rob & Jo at the top of Dead Woman's Pass|
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