My song choice for today’s ‘throw back Thursday’ and for the penultimate day of my trip is more for the words than because I’m a fan.
On the way back from the lovely Camp 2 back to Camp 1 we navigated the same terrain of steep drops, rocks, ropes, safety lines and water with a slightly alternative route and less photo stops. Although my legs were weaker, I was in better shape than I had expected physically. My upper body ached the most and I was concerned I wouldn’t be able to pull myself up the 80m entrance to Son Doong.
I decided to go last on the way out, that way I could picture the rest of the team tucking into a feast and drinking champagne in an attempt to give me the mental power to get myself out quicker.
The fellow trekker behind me decided to be a gentleman and let me go before him so I was second to last and everyone, as far as I know got out without incident.
Our assistant guides were at the bottom and I didn’t check my harness was tight enough in my eagerness to get into the light again. I almost managed the first sections without slipping but ended up with one of the assistant guides having to put his foot under mine. The next section I found akin to trying to climb a big glacier mint with roller skates on and I lost it, swinging about in my harness and squealing. I grazed my elbow again and had to be manhandled with a shove on the bum with the assistant guide shouting ‘stand up’ at me.
The last bit of it I made a meal of as my arms were so weak and it was at this point I realised I wouldn’t last long if I had to hang from a window ledge of a burning building.
When I eventually got to the top my harness straps were round the back of my knees and I could hardly walk out of the entrance. There were high fives all round that we were out; I was particularly amazed I’d managed it with only having broken a finger nail, not bones.
On the way back down to Hang En Captain Caveman lead me and one of the porters a slightly different route (the porter’s one) as the others were quite a bit ahead of us – it was slippery, muddy and had leaches but wasn’t too taxing except for the quick pace.
Whenever I said I couldn’t keep up Captain Caveman promised me a beer but I didn’t believe him even when he said it to try and get me to beat the others back.
When we arrived at Hang En I was surprised to find we were the first back and so I stripped off to my pants and sports bra ready to take a dip and have a wash. We had a few leaches on us but one had latched on to my neck and was feeding so Captain Caveman had to get it off. There was blood and the mark only disappeared a week later.
The best things that day were washing each other’s backs in Hang En and having a beer at dinner (he wasn’t kidding). My last night was spent eating like a pig on the wonderful food before sleeping pretty well in the tent nearest the water.