Wonderful rice terraces at Sang Ma Sao, Bat Xat, Lao Cai

Trek Bach Moc Luong Tu Mountain - Part 2

I woke up again at 05:00 in the morning and went out for a walk in the front lawn. It was a magical dawn with amazing colors in the horizon. The mountains nearby were partially covered in clouds. The whole scenery was indescribable! It looked like it was going to be a sunny and beautiful day.

Bach Moc Luong Tu Peak is somewhere behind the clouds
Bach Moc Luong Tu Peak is somewhere behind the clouds

 

 

A nice walking trail in the forest
A nice walking trail in the forest

 

 

The 2,800m peak on the way to the summit
The 2,800m peak on the way to the summit

Breakfast was a big bowl of instant noodle with fried eggs. That was about enough to keep me going to the summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu high up somewhere behind the guest house. We set out in bright sunshine at 0700 A.M and I was feeling great.

We hiked back into the forest and started on a flat yet slippery path. The canopy was thick and it was dark in there. The easy path soon ended when appeared steep gradients and vertical rock cliffs. The views of the surrounding turned more and more beautiful as we went higher. The path amid the forest was soon replaced by a rocky path on a huge thin, long and high rock cliff that I felt as if we had been clambering on the backbone of a dinosaur! It was ravines on both sides and we'd better keep our steps sturdy. Mistakes were not allowed here, especially in strong winds like these!

The scenery was more and more unbelievable
The scenery was more and more unbelievable

 

 

2,800m peak was far away still
2,800m peak was far away still

 

 

And came the steep rocky path
And came the steep rocky path

 

 

a steep rocky path followed by another and another
a steep rocky path followed by another and another...

Bright sunshine was soon superseded by fogs. A gust of wind blew away A Tinh's wide brim hat while he had just clambered onto the top of a cliff. And a rain started falling down. It was like bucketing down for a while that I couldn't take my camera or smart phone out to take photos. Well, that's just the way of the weather here!

Things turned foggy all of a sudden
Things turned foggy all of a sudden

 

 

Nice views were disappearing
Nice views were disappearing

Then came to an area with small trees which were a bit more head high. The rain turned lighter as we hiked on the slippery dirt path gently going up through this forest. Then came a flat ground with open views of the surroundings. There was a marker which said we were at 2,800m above sea level. The rain had stopped and it was still foggy that we couldn't see anything around. The views from here must be great on a clear day, what a pity!

A thin forest near the 2,800m peak
A thin forest near the 2,800m peak

We made our stop at 2,800m short and took a detour path on the edge of the mountain through low growing bamboo bushes which are just typical of vegetation on high mountains where winds are often strong and where water is often in the lack. Then there were a few boulders which left little space for us to come through and below of which were ravines. I had to lean one of my hands on the rock and swung myself to the other side!

Then we came to a thin forest with strange trees that mosses grew on the trunks. Again it rained. The gentle slope turned so slippery that I nearly fell down for a few times. The path in the forest now turned to go up abruptly and we were climbing a steep gradient amid a thick bamboo forest. It rained so hard that I couldn't get my smart phone out for photography.

Then came a thick bamboo forest with a steep path leading up
Then came a thick bamboo forest with a steep path leading up

Suddenly the path was blocked by a huge single block of rock that I had never seen in my life! The summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu was somewhere up there and in my thinking the boulder must have helped to keep the height of the mountain. It blocked the winds keeping the dirt for the bamboo forest on the other side. And the summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu is actually formed by the boulder and the bamboo forest. The bamboo trees here are very high too which are not normal for this altitude.

The rain was pouring down when we reached the boulder near the summit
The rain was pouring down when we reached the boulder near the summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu

There was no way we could climb this big rock but there was a tiny path along the base of the boulder that was just enough for us to put a foot on at a time. The path was formed by the boulder on one side and by thick bamboo bushes to the other. Of course the mountain slope dropped down vertically beyond the bamboos and we cautiously made our way further…

Steep and extremely slippery
Steep and extremely slippery

Once we had passed the treacherous rocky edge A Tinh fell sleepy and he sat on a step enjoying forty winks. It rained so hard and I had to wait for him to get sober to proceed further. After a while A Tinh finally became awake and I soon found myself dragging my foot in a knee-deep muddy path in a thick bamboo forest to the summit. The rain had stopped when we reached 3,046m and there was a small flat ground with a  cone shape altitude marker made of stainless steel: we were there! I looked at the smart phone and it was 12:00 mid day. It took me 5 hours to get here.

The muddy path in the bamboo forest near the summit
The muddy path in the bamboo forest near the summit

 

 

It was gloomy on the summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu
It was gloomy on the summit of Bach Moc Luong Tu, the flag was not flying to welcome my arrival!

It was still foggy after our quick lunch on the top and I asked A Tinh to go down when it was 12:30 P.M. It was no use spending more time on the summit without a view. The path through the bamboo forest turned more dangerous now after so many people had trampled on it today. I fell down four times in a row that I couldn't trust my steps any longer! Luckily it was only soft mud and there were no sharp bamboos on the path.

The bamboo path turned extremely muddy, dirty and slippery on the way back
The bamboo path turned extremely muddy, dirty and slippery on the way back

When we reached the gentle slope in the thin forest after 2,800m, the sun started coming out and the air got drier. When we came back to the area of the “backbone of the dinosaur”, it was bright sunshine again and the landscape was sensational! The fogs were lifting revealing sublime and mysterious nature in the moving mist! The bluish and greenish tones in the colors of the faraway mountains made my photos much more charming!

Some folk were following me when it was back to 2,800m again
Some folk were following me when it was back to 2,800m again

Thanks to the beautiful weather and mountainscape that I forgot worrying about the dangerous cliffs that awaited me. In fact, I made it down fine clinging to the trees and it was not as difficult as I had thought when going up. It's just that sometimes you are not allowed to make mistakes and you'd better do it more cautiously, and more slowly. The stunning scenery also slowed me down as it was a real pity not to take in every possible wonderful moment up here! I arrived back at the guest house around 16:30, so it was roughly 4 hours down. It was an acceptable pace for the trip in my thinking. Still, I'm feeling unfair with respect to the pace on the first hiking day and I'll come back here!

And came the sun after 2,800m
And came the sun after 2,800m

 

 

And beauty returned
And the beauty returned

After some rest and nice refreshment I got a fantastic peaceful time at the observation yard which was a yonder flat ground in front of the guest house. It was gentle sunshine, pleasant breezes and captivating nature! The rains on the trek helped me to appreciate more these sensational moments after all! I might have missed some great photos up there but I'd be back! And looking further in the distance there were some challenges for my future adventures: Dau Ga Mountain, Pu Ta Leng, Ngu Chi Son, and Nhiu Co San…. A Tinh came from behind calling me to come back for an early dinner. There were more folk arriving today and we'd better wrap things up early. Our sumptuous feast was served right in the smoky kitchen and we totally deserved it after a wonderfully challenging day!

Some folk were grazing in the ethereal scenery
Some folk were grazing in the ethereal scenery

 

 

It was just fresh air and charming landscape now
It was just fresh air and charming landscape now.

A night came by without much sleep and with some rowdy folk near my bed. They were young and cute anyway and there was nothing for me to complain about. It was just that I had gone to bed early and my sleepiness was soon over by the noise. I managed to get some sleep which was interrupted by some folk who were descending the mountain early. The beautiful smell of coffee made me totally awake and I went out for a walk in the front yard.

It was very early in the morning and the weather looked gloomy today. I told A Tinh to go back to sleep and we'd start once everyone had gone. And we finally departed on our return trip at 07:30 A.M. It was getting darker and a rain was coming. Another pouring down rain made the path down the mountain slippery and I couldn't take any photos.

A rain started falling down when we were in the forest on the way back
A rain started falling down when we were in the forest on the way back

 

 

 

It was wet and foggy still here
It was wet and foggy still here

On the trip back the rain stopped a few times and started as soon as we had put our raincoat on! And it only stopped completely at around 12:30 P.M when we started seeing houses and rice terraces again. The fog was lifting and the landscape was getting wonderful. The scenery was great but I was getting so hungry. We made it to A Tinh's house again at 13:30 and it had been six hours since we started hiking back on the treacherously slippery, tiny and uneven path. A Tinh kindly prepared hot noodle soup with egg for me and we bade farewell after the quick lunch. I was not sure one of my dreams had come true, but was certain that my plan was gradually completed in a fairly good pace!

The rice terraces which took my breath away!
The rice terraces which took my breath away!