On our final leg of our journey trekking all over the Sapa, Vietnam region, we hiked with the intention of reaching Giang Ta Chai Village – home of the Dzao Tribe.
Our night spent at the traditional home stay was an enriching experience. The traditional beds with mosquito nets in a communal setting on the second floor was a far cry from our cozy bed with a view in Sapa; however, we were so tired and flat our exhausted from our full day hike that we could have slept on a bed of nails without even noticing it.
Prior to sleeping we enjoyed chatting with a group of other travelers on our hike, while taking a few chugs of a local moonshine – provided by our tour guide – along with drinking several beers.
In the morning we woke up to a mountain high pile of pancakes and syrup that our group devoured. What appeared to be enough food to feed a small army ended up gone in mere minutes.
Finally we after packing up our belongings and having one more cup of coffee we began what would be our final hike of the trip.
Immediately, we were taken aghast by sheer steepness of the trail compared to our previous legs of the journey. Although I took time to record video and take photos, this was the most challenging part of the trail and I had to limit my time spent on documenting the journey in order to keep up with the pace of the group.
At times completely out of breathe, this was a far more arduous affair compounded further by the fact sections of the trail was muddy, making for slippery steps; luckily, none of us in the group ended up falling in it.
Our views at first were of magnificent vistas with engineered rice terraces descending in orderly fashion; however, we quickly reached a point where we entered a bamboo forest with terrain even muddier than what we had just experienced.
The reward for all of this hiking was a cascading waterfall offering shady reprieve and a much needed break-point prior to us all having lunch. I think our guide could instinctively tell we were knackered at this point, so we ended up hanging out in this area for at least twice as long as any other rest stop along the way.
The arduous trek had come to an end and we slept like babies the entire way back to Sapa in the passenger van that bumped along the unpaved sections of road. With just a few hours to kill before our train ride back to Hanoi, we spent time online getting caught up on emails, editing photos and stringing together clips of videos from our hike that would later be uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo.
Overall, our experience trekking in Sapa was both rewarding and challenging at the same time. Had I been in better health, I know I would have enjoyed it even more; however, oddly enough, I think the challenge of doing the hike just after dealing with a serious bout of food poisoning made the struggles more rewarding.