Trekking Ta Xua, Turtle Head Boulder
Trekking Ta Xua, Turtle Head Boulder

Trekking Ta Xua - Yen Bai - Part 2

It took quite a while for the guide to unlock the door and got the blankets for the night. We were to stay at the second hut on the other side of the mountain. And to get there we would have to pass through a tiny path which was as small as a foot.

 The path went down and up again and was slippery. The trees were too small sometimes, and if there was a slip then it would be a plunge straight down hundreds of meters below. It was more or less a vertical mountain cliff. The wind blew sideways and blurred my eyesight after a while. It would take us 2 hours to cross this treacherous part if we could make it…

Taking the small path with strong winds blowing sideways
Taking the small path with strong winds blowing sideways

 

A swing on a high altitude with real thrill
A swing on a high altitude with real thrill

 

That was the hardest part of the adventure to the peak of the Ta Xua Mountain
That was the hardest part of the adventure to the peak of the Ta Xua Mountain

We were clambering down the path when the guide suddenly realized that he had forgotten bowls for our dinner. He had to go back to the first hut and I alone went on ascending the steep and slippery cliff. Time was ticking too slowly and I pushed my body against the cliff surface while my hands tried to grab whatever I could reach. A few times there was absolutely nothing that I could grab to go up or down. I prayed I would not make a mistake and that my feet would not betray me. The winds were certainly trying to kill me by blurring my eyesight.

The steep path went down first
The steep path went down first

There was weak sunlight which made the landscape a bit brightened up. I had been on this treacherous part of the journey for over an hour and the winds were to show no sign of weakening. My feet felt slight slip a couple of times.

The easier part of the most difficult leg of the adventure
The easier part of the most difficult leg of the adventure

 

The path went up then and the winds were worse
The path went up then and the winds were worse

 

Then it went down again to the other side of the mountain
Then it went down again to the other side of the mountain

The guide came back as I was half way another steep ascent. There was a deadly dangerous curve that the only thing that we could rely on to pass through was a small tree. Without this tree, there would be no way back as it was just a vertical cliff. You would put a foot in the tiny space between the tree and the rock to get past. Below you it was a few hundred meters of a vertical mountainside. I made through this and found more steep path up ahead. It was less than 30 meters further to the top of the path when I started feeling tired. The guide encouraged me to do give it a try as we were almost there. Once at the top of the path, then the rest of the trip was going to be just easy...

 

The path was steep and went up again
The path was steep and went up again

 

Now I was on the top facing strong winds again
Now I was on the top facing strong winds again

I was worried if the weather in the coming days were to take a turn for the worse. What would happen if I had to go back this same path when it was wet then. I told the guide to go back and he was startled by my decision. It was not an easy decision to make nor was it a smart one. Proceeding further was easier than going back. I had been tired and was more prone to make mistakes. But I would have to try my best. In my thinking It was less of risk than relying on the weather in the coming days…

It turned foggy suddenly
It turned foggy suddenly

 

The steep cliff behind us
The steep cliff behind us

 

We kept moving on the challenging path
We kept moving on the challenging path

 

Back on top beaten badly by the sharp winds again
Back on top beaten badly by the sharp winds again

 

Then the tiny path went down, bottomles ravine was right there
Then the tiny path went down, bottomles ravine was right there

 

The path turned damp and mossy, slippery
The path turned damp and mossy, slippery

 

The damp path then went up again
The damp path then went up again, almost nothing to cling to...Grabbing small plants was too risky

 

And on the top again, there was further height to cover
And on the top again, there was further height to cover

It took us 30 minutes to go back the same route which had taken us 1 hour and 30 minutes to cover. So, after 2 hours’ struggling we found ourselves on the same spot on this side of the mountain. I was glad we made it and was happy with my decision. The fog came back again making visibility close to zero for a while. It seemed to be racing to get dark…. The guide tried to cheer me up saying that we had lots of food for dinner and we’d have to try our best to finish it all!

Arriving back at the hut I felt really tired and started feeling cold. It had been 9 hours hiking up the steep gradients, struggling on the vertical mountain cliffs. The temperatures changed from 40oC to 15-18oC in the 9 hours. The winds were strong and noisy all the time up here. I went to bed and put lots of blankets upon me which helped a bit to cope with the cold.

The guide had gone somewhere to fetch water and he was gone for a long time. When coming back, he complained that the water source was a bit more than trickling. Locals were in struggles to compete for the scarce water sources and the little stream now had much less water left.

Dinner was late but we had a yummy feast. We had a nice chat by the fire of what to do to improve the experiences for the coming groups. The winds were getting stronger and noisier later into the night. I got some more time by the fire when the guide had done the clean-up and gone to bed. I felt much better after the lovely meal and didn’t feel cold anymore. I had had very little with mostly noodle soup for the last 2 days. While on a trip, a light stomach makes you feel pleasant, but if you go mountain climbing, then definitely consume more meat and steamed rice. It helps. I had a little stroll on the path at the back of the house, it was a star-lit night and it was so wonderful!