16.02.2017 - 16.02.2017 22 °C
We were picked up by a bus after breakfast that drove up to the national park here on Cat Ba Island. We had a group of 10 people and a guide for the "1 Day Trekking Experience". As soon as we got off the bus, the guide says to me, "Are you sure you want to do this?" He had picked out the weakest link in the group, for sure. There was a middle aged couple, who were very fit, and everyone else was a 20-something. He didn't question Don at all, but made a point of showing me the map and telling me how difficult it would be. But even though I felt some trepidation, I said I could do it.
We hiked for about 4 hours (10 kilometres) to a village for lunch. This included some level trail which was well developed with concrete paving. It also included climbing over 6 mountains and down the other side. (It was only 5 for me, but the others did 6.) Sometimes on the steep climbs there were rock stairways and sometimes just red arrows painted on the rock face to show you which way to climb. The guide made a walking stick for me, quite early on in the hike, while it was quite level. It was very helpful most of the time, but when climbing up the rocks, sometimes I needed both hands to hold onto the rock and pull myself up!
As we got close to the village, we came to a fork in the path. The guide told me to take the left one and go to the village and wait for them to arrive. They took the other path and climbed up over another mountain so they could see the view of the village in the valley. I was very thankful to walk a flat easy trail the last kilometre or so into the village.
When they arrived, we had lunch at a restaurant. Lots of good food, although the comment was made - "Is this food this good, or is it just because I was so hungry?" After a rest period, we walked another 5 kilometres along a fairly flat, concrete road which led to the dock. We even got to walk thru a little tunnel through a mountain. (Way easier than going over the top!) We boarded a boat, which was like the one we were on yesterday, and joined the people on board. We had a slow trip through the floating fishing village and back to the main dock. Then it was time to get in the van and return to our hotels. When we got back, we just showered and changed and went out for supper. It was not long after that, that I went to bed and out like a light! It was a very strenuous day, but I'm glad I did it. My only complaint is that the guide did not give us any information about the forest we walked thru, unless we asked a direct question and sometimes not even then. I was the slowest member of the group and the others waited patiently at rest stops for me to show up. I could not believe how fast they could scramble up and down the jumble of rocks!
I wanted to include a video of our kayaking yesterday. It was pretty difficult at times, with groups of kayaker, some of which had never done it before, I'm sure. Traffic jams and collisions, but fun.