View from the cable car in Da Lat, Vietnam.
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Da Lat, Vietnam.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Flying to Vinh, Vietnam on February 24th.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Early to bed, early to rise! (day 4)

When you hike 18 kms (11 miles) in a day and you had been up since 4:30am that morning, it makes sense that you would go to bed early again. Especially when you're not sleeping well to begin with!

The problem is that we don't have the right gear! Some of our guides had these really nice lightweight blowup air mattresses. They're probably fairly expensive and wouldn't last very long if they were handed out to everybody. So they don't, instead they give out these durable foam "therma-rest" mattresses. They do the job of keeping you warm enough when you're lying on the ground or a concrete floor. But comfortable? Nope!! They should be banned!

And so it was another night of not very much sleep. It's a good thing we get some decent rest breaks through the day to have a snooze. But I tell you if we ever do another overnight hike like this we will be bringing our own decent quality sleeping mattresses!

Okay, so we were up at 5:15am on Friday morning, and had our gear packed up and ready to go by 5:45am. We set off down the hill towards the river where we were going to have breakfast.

6:30am getting ready for breakfast by the river.

A guy came by to water his horses. Okay you engineers out there...are these bridge supports due for replacement?? Good thing it's only a walking bridge!

We had a good breakfast but it was a little chilly! I kept my hat and gloves on! Soon we would be well warmed up though because we had a steep uphill climb that would also put us in the sunshine.

Another beautiful sunny day!

Lindsey, Lacey, Sara, and Ruth.

Some of the crew, taking a break!

The scenery makes up for the bad night's sleep. Well, almost!

These locals were on their way to a community meeting.

An hour and a half later, we had made our way to a little village where there was a tienda (little corner store selling snacks and drinks etc) so we stopped for a group rest break. As we were sitting there, this little girl came wandering down the path, quite far away. I tried to take a zoomed in picture really quickly and they don't always turn out. I like this one though!

Little Mayan girl.

She was actually heading for the store and her mother was following along. I asked if I could take her photo and she said that was fine. 

What a cutie!

The next section was kind of flat and boring. Almost like being in the desert, but it was still interesting how the landscape changes so drastically during our four day hike. Soon though, we had to climb "terror hill"!


Lots of work building those stone walls!

Colorful graveyard.

Taking a break before hiking up "terror hill"!

Here we go!

Not that bad. Still, it rose about 300 feet in about a half a mile. Good view from the top.

At the town of La Capellania, we hopped on a bus for the short ride to our overnight stop. It's a busy road so not worth hiking for the short distance.

Our accommodations. Ruth and I got a double bed! And a good night's sleep finally!

We stayed in the village of La Ventosa at the house of a landowner named Jeronimo. The property has a lot of different houses on it that seemed to belong to Jeronimo's extended family. In fact, one of his son's would guide us over the mountain the next morning.

We were also fed dinner at Jeronimo's house. 

Group dinner photo! From left,
Ollie, David, Neils, Wanda, Flurina, Sara, Ha, Lindsey, Tim, Lacey, Stefani, Ruth, Gitt, Rick. 
Kevin took the photo, so he's missing!

Dinner was mashed potatoes with vegetables and salsa and tortillas. It was actually really good, but I was really starting to miss having some meat with dinner. But, it was filling and it sure supplied a lot of replacement carbs!

Had a great night sleep, and we actually didn't have to get up so early the next morning. Stay tuned for the report on our last hiking day on's a good one!

Here's the hike route details...


  1. That little girl is so precious!

    How do the people from all these little villages travel? Get their food? Do the villages have stores? Do they live off the land? I see lots of houses, hills, and mountains but few modes of transportation. I take it there are better roads but your hike is more off the beaten path. It sure is educational. You're doing a great job!

    1. Most of the villages and towns have roads going into them, many in this area are dirt roads. The little communities that we passed through on the altiplano on our second day only have the walking paths for transportation from one village to another. They have no electricity up there either but all the other villages we passed through did. The villages on the altiplano mostly grow their own food, have their own livestock and make much of their clothing, they live very simple lives. All the main roads that we have taken have been in great shape and there is lots of cheap, public transportation.

  2. butterbean carpenterFebruary 25, 2013 at 8:38 PM

    Howdy R&K,
    Kevin, can I hug you; you look so tired?? Joyce was 42 and trekked the Himalayas for 6 weeks!!
    She was the oldest and brought up the rear, most days, but did it & was glad she did!!! The pics are great and we're so give out after each day of trekking, we just lay down on our European tufted pillow-top bed and pass plumb out!! (rubbing it in)!! Joyce said she would do that trek, but she can't leave the ranch, but thanks y'all for doing it for her!!
    Hope y'all are getting rested up some!!! Glad you didn't lose Ruth!! Where are the 'guards'???

    1. Good for Joyce. That sounds like a trek we would be interested in as well, maybe one day.

      There we no "guards" needed for our trek, just the the trekkers and the guides.

  3. wow.. what a trek! and that little girl is just tooooo cute!

    Karen and Steveio
    RVing: The USA Is Our Big Backyard

  4. What a hike sure am glad you are doing it for us.
    Great pictures.

  5. This is some adventure you are having. 11 miles in a day is just above my limit of 9 or 10 although in a gorgeous place like that maybe.......... I've always wondered what it would be like to live in a remote village on a mountain. Looks like you are always walking around on a slope from your pictures. Wonder if that changes their skeletal frame especially the hips? GREAT pictures. thanks!

    1. We have had no problem with the distanced that we hiked but having a heavy backpack on made it much more difficult especially on the uphill climbs. I think the communities on the altiplano had a very quite and simple life with out all the hubbub on the towns done below. The scenery would be beautiful and the air very clean up there. Yep, there were LOTS of slopes both up and down for us. Not sure if there frame was different but they are definitely much smaller people.


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