|From Vietnam 2009|
Today was a day that Jamie and I were excited about yet still dreading. Most of dread came from the fact that we were a bit unprepared for hiking in the mud and rain. However, the day turned out great, we rented some little rubber boots from our hotel, and started off our hike with a 3 km walk through the streets of Sapa and down a country road.
After making a quick pit stop, we headed down the hill into the rice fields and terraces. When I say down hill, I mean it. Our little train was slick, rocky, and muddy. Many people fell (I fell once or twice and Jamie fell once), but we had local villagers there that acted as our "guides." These 80 pound women literally held us up as we slid down the mountain for over 3 hours of hiking. The scenery was amazing as we went from the top of the mountain down the steep rice terraces toward the valley with a river running through it.
We went through 2 different villages of the Black H'mung people and one of the Zai people. These villagers make their living by growing rice or working in the city of Sapa (men) or making hand made items to sell to tourists (women). The items are quite nice and authentic.
I had to battle through some kidney stones about half way through our hiking trip, but pretty much walked them off. I had some help from my guide as she talked to me about village life and basically got my mind off of my pain.
After a quick bus ride back to our hotel, we showered up and ate a quick dinner before heading to the train station in Lao Cai which was about an hour drive from Sapa. Our train left promptly at 8:10 pm and arrived in Hanoi about at 4:15 in the morning. Luckily, we had arranged for an early check in at our hotel, which meant we could go straight on in (after waking up the poor guy at the desk who was flaked out on the 2nd floor).
Be sure to check out our pictures from our hike today. I look great in my camouflage boots and shorts.
Keep reading... You definitely don't want to miss what happened on Day 9!