trekking phase - day 1 to 5

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Asia » Vietnam
December 13th 2009
Published: December 13th 2009
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Day 1...
We woke up early in the morning to have our last restaurant breakfast, most had chocolate and banana or pineapple pancakes. Then after last minute packing and dumping of excess items in our upstairs room we wandered over to Phat Tire to start our trek.
As soon as we walked in the door we meet our three lovely (and in some cases gorgeous) guides: Dinh, Linh and Minh (who we called 'Candy' or 'Candyboy' etc.) They gave us our tents, food and water to refill our newly emptied bags. Then we all hopped into our minivans and headed off to Chicken Village at the base of Elephant Mountain.
We walked to first 30 minutes to our bags through beautiful country farm land with Olivia pointing out the names of all the plants we passed. However the sun was out and there was no shade so we were all cooking in our long pants. Once we reached out bags we had a quick strip down into our shorts and we set off again, this time with packs, up the huge mountain before us.
It was very hot, hard and slippery because the path maker of Vietnam decided to build the path next to a creek. We all made it up though after many breaks to have lunch by and little river. Whilst having lunch Lynnie was the first one to spot an orange tag, left all over the trek by the other OLSH team who did the same trek just a few weeks previous.
We were soon off again determined to beat the other team of Mill Park and East Doncaster World challengers that were hot on our tail. As we sweated our way up another huge hill Candy tried to comfort us by telling us there was only 30 minutes left. So obviously we were very surprised when we arrived at camp only 30 SECONDS(!!!!) later.
We set up our tents and climbed straight into bed ready for sleep, pity it was only 1:30. So we all climbed out of bed and passed the time by swinging on the tarzan vine, playing card games (spit, go fish and bullshit were very popular) and talking to the other group who were at our campsite. After a quick dinner and group meeting we all climbed into bed relieved that day 1 was over.

Day 2...
We all woke up very early on day 2 probably due to going to bed so early, but we had all packed up by about 8:30 and had breakfast (baguettes with various toppings) before starting off trekking again. We continued up Elephant Mountain jumping over all the rocks, roots and vines whilst trying not to slip on all moss and leaves. We reached the top sweaty and exhasted at about 10:30 and had a 'packs off' break with a side of oreos.
After a few minutes of rest we headed back down the other side of Elephant Mountain. Some found going down much more enjoyable because we were able to talk, sing and laugh at out horrible singing, whilst others found it was too painful on there toes, ankles and knees (or toenails in olivia's case). Going down did have its problems for the uncoordinated as demonstrated by Emma Traynor when she sat down in the long grass whilst we waited for the rest of the group to catch up. When she needed to be pulled back up Bridie helped her but once standing she seemed to fall backwards in slow motion straight into the grass that was taller than her, screaming that she 'didn't want to get eaten by snakes'. They made it through unscathed, pity the same thing cannot be said for the grass which has two body imprints in it now.
Anyway we reached the bottom and had a lunch of baguettes. However lunch was invaded by a bee who flew around scaring many of the girls causing them to jump up and get dirt in our food. Even though we were told to stay still and the bee would leave us alone, that was wrong because the only person who did stay still was stung, poor Nicole.
We were all anxious to get moving on from lunch with the promise of an afternoon swim. So the guides packed up lunch and we go going for about 30 minutes to the base of a beautiful lake.
We caught a boat across the lake to our campsite, set up our tents and got into our bathers. Then we all raced down to the 30 metre deep lake and dove in, Cody in the lead of course. We swam around and treaded water a good hour, relaxing and unwinding after a long days work and then had to swim back to shore because we were exhausted. Whilst waiting to dry we all went and patted Rod the elephant, who April, Nicole and Maddie had ridden just before we swam. For the rest of the afternoon most people killed time by hanging in their tents and eating the large amount of food they had brought (pringles, oreos, mars bars, choco pies, mentos etc.) Then we headed off to the local restaurant for dinner. We were given heaps of food and everyone filled up quickly. After dinner we went to sit around the bonfire were the local guides told us stories and we play some camping games. It was actually very fun but eventually it got late. So exhausted, full and hot we all headed back to our tents, or in Sarahs case hammock, for a good nights sleep.

Day 3...
Day 3's packing up was alot more efficient then we had breakfast of eggs and noodle soup, it was ....interesting. Then we all got on the boat back to the mainland, we were all very unprepared for the battle that lay ahead of us. Without any warm up walking, no flat land we started walking uphill up Pinhatt Mountain. And we kept walking uphill. With no breaks. And no end in sight. It was so hard, hot and sweaty. Everyone was crying, in pain and wanting to give. Although in true OLSH spirit we helped each other, because if we were going to conquer this mountain we were going to conquer it together. Cassie had horrible asthma so Cody was pushing her up the hill. Bella was struggling with her asthma too so Bridie ran her up the mountain, dragging her all the way. And April was pulling up the rear helped by Maddie and Emily. There was so much encouragement going around it was almost overwhelming. When a few people had finished they would run back down to the people coming up and help the climb back up. Great team work guys!
Once everyone had reached the top we all lay down and ate some lollies relieved that the first struggle was over. A few minutes later however we were back off down the mountain trying to mentally prepare ourselves for the next hill. Within a few minutes of the next hill we were dying again. Candy told us we were still 45 minutes to the peak and it made us want to cry but we had a break for a few minutes and set off around the next bend. And guess what was just around the next bend, only 10 seconds from our break spot... the peak of Pinhatt Mountain! Silly, lying Vietnamese guides. Nobody even cared about how hard it was anymore thought; we were all celebrating, screaming, hugging and high-fiving. "Yay we had finished the mountain"
From the top of Pinhatt Mountain you could see the whole of Dalat. It was breath-takingly beautiful. For a good hour we took photos: group, pair and indivivual, so don't worry you will see it all. We also relaxed, ate food, drank water and tried to take in the spectacular effort we had just exerted.
Inspired by the promise of lunch when we got to the bottom we set off again. April was sick though (Alec told her not to have coke with breakfast!) so it slowed our process a bit. We all help out once again and she got to the bottom with Alec carrying both Aprils and his own packs. At the bottom of the mountain we had lunch of baguettes, collected so more group items and set off on a short stroll down to our campsite.
There was a bit of fussing around with positions of tents because our entire campsite was on a hill and nobody wanted to be falling down hill all night. However about an hour later we were all back in the water just like yesterday and washing off another days work. The rest of the afternoon was spent watching the Vietnamese boys make our dinner or getting your hair braided by Laura and Olivia. Dinner was delicious lots of noodles, vegies and sauces. Then everyone was back in tents for their second last sleep in a tent!! The night didn't go so well for Emma Lund who forgot to zip up the bottom of her tent and ended up sliding out in the middle of the night... nice one Emma. p.s Miss Egan cheated with her donkey (Candy) carrying her pack up and down the mountains while the rest of us sweated and struggled with ours.

Day 4...
Today started of deliciously with the boys cooking us eggs in baguettes but the main highlight was the milo. God do we miss milo. Everyone had roughly packed their bags because... guess what??... NO PACKS TODAY! We brought out packs to the top of the hill and gladly chucked them in the back of a minivan to be taken back to Dalat. Then we set off through the jungle alot less burdened.
Todays walking songs were Christmas songs because it was only two weeks until Christmas. Some of the favourites were 'jingle bells', 'jingle bell rock' (complete with dance routine), 'All I want for Christmas is you', 'Santa Claus is coming to town' or (April's favourite) 'I saw mummy kissing Santa Claus'. It was an enjoyable mornings hike we did a bit of rock climbing, some hacking through the jungle, made our own stairs down the steep bits and eventually stopped at a beautiful waterfall.
Once again there were many group photos and then we were given the news that we would have to climb up the waterfall!!! Well it wasn't really that dramatic, we walked through the water to a rope which we climbed up a slope, not that hard. Not that hard for some anyway, Leah was holding the guides hand and was slowly walking across the rocks when her feet slipped out from under her and she fell straight into the river; saturating both her and guide. After we made it throught the waterfall we climbed another mountain. We were slightly better today because of all the practise we had had the day before.Cody however had rolled her ankle in the morning walking through the jungle, but fighter that she is she tried to climb the mountain anyway. With much support from her friends and bravery from her, we all made it up to the bus back to Dalat.
Once back in Dalat we were given a two hour shopping limit whilst many ran off to get clothes and shoes, others went to restock the very much depleted food stocks and the rest went to go get some western lunch (chicken snitzel and french fries). We were all very satisfied with our afternoons work and were ready to be driven to our campsite but oh no. We were driven to the base of the mountain and made to climb up!
We actually only ended up climbing about 1/4 of the way up the mountain but they never shared that with us. Some of us found it quite hard but others like Sarah thought it would be fun to run it, annoyingly fit person. We all made it to the rope bridge to our campsite thought and went across - two at a time.
For our last night together we had traditional vietnamese food and everyone helped,especially masterchef Jyoti. It was very enjoyable. We tasted so many different foods and it was incredible to watch them prepare with such poor utensils. We eventually all gathered on the group tarp for our last meal together, and demolished the food because it was fantastic. After dinner we gathered around the bonfire whilst some went to watch the stars. It was a very peaceful and relaxing last night camping.

Day 5...
Our last day how sad. We were up earlier than normal to seperate Phat Tires equipment from our own. Then after breakfast of baguettes (bet you couldn't have guessed that) we got rid of our packs and hopped into the 'jurassic park' jeeps that took us up to the top of Lang Biang. It was beauiful up there. The whole world seemed to stretch out from under your feet. We got many group photos and bought some souvenirs that got back onto our jeeps.
At the bottom of the mountain we got into two minivans and drove back to Dalat. As soon as we arrived in Dalat it was a race so that everyone could get a shower in the hour before the bus to Nha Trang came. It was lovely to be all fresh and clean again but not so lovely to have all of our excess gear back in our bags, gosh it makes your bag heavy. Too quickly we were all back on a bus heading to Nha Trang to get our over night train. After watching Transformers and Twilight we arrived at Nha Trang. There we sat around and waited for 4 hours for our train.
It was so confusing when our train came because all our instructions came in Vietnamese. Sarah did brilliantly and directed us all into our 6 bunk rooms. They were TINY, many of the girls were very claustrophobic and had to step out into the squishy corridors for some air. Everyone eventually got to sleep though, except for our brilliant leaders so the 10 hour journey to Danang flew by.


15th December 2009

no one can read blogs
something has gone wrong with both groups blogs as no blogs can be accessed or read as they all come up as blank screens hope you can fix problem from mother of wc group2 KB
15th December 2009

emma traynor love mum xx
Hi again. Still cant see my blog up so hope you eventually get thesee. Think dad put money into your account, but just incase I just transferred $200 for emergency. Hope you buying great stuff and enjoying this fun end of your trip. OMG 5 more days!!!!! Enjoy luv as we all luv you and miss you but once your home its all over. So grab the last few days and do everything you want to do and see everything.... 39 deg on wednesday. wow we finally seeing some hot hot weather. hope you brown. we are all white again..... luv you xxxxxxxx
15th December 2009

OH MY GOD! my poor johnston he will look so ugly :( but i hope hes ok. mum it is amazing here i have gotten 4 dresses made and they are perfect and look so good and suit my body. i spoke to my leader alec and he said dad will have an amamzing time watching and he said he is jealous that dad got tickets. i have lots of presents for us to wrap when we getback. i actually cant wait to see you all :) tell everyone at the deluca christmas i say hi! love you mum xxxxxxx
15th December 2009

Are u there Princess Leah & Koalas
Hope the blog problem is fixable!!! Cause i'm having withdrawls today..had to email Blind Freddie!! Looking forward to the photos and stories, if the blog report is any indication...what an adventure!! Well, my travel guiding is over for now, took Grace and family to fed square, tram circle ride, arcades, shopping etc they really enjoyed it all, Josef said he would love to live here and is seriously considering it!! Have finally made a dent in the xmas list and ur car is back!!!Laura tells me the shoes look too big for Luke, then get some smaller ones, only if u still can, and we will just keep the bigger ones for next year, it's ok to keep borrowing from the Bank of Iudica as i hav organised. So if u want to get Laura some stuff made with no sizing just get tops 1 size bigger than u. Keep spoiling yourself...6 sleeps to go and we are ALL coming to the airport to get u, ur rules about the orange pants do not apply to my ruling! (we're picking up Ben on the way thru) Love u heaps Goia Mia...Mum xoxoxo
15th December 2009

from alana iudica
heeyy laura all has been good around here. um the PSA after party was good, and congratulations on your most improved dancer award! i cant belive i wasnt allowed to know when you found out. you also got a KK present from karli (: and she said i wasnt allowed to waer it OR open it until you got back,, ahaha. i have been sending blogs to you but i have only realised that i have been sending them to the wrong group, so sorry about that. me and robert also sent a joint one so that he could send something to you, but i sent that to the wrong one aslwell. i will try and copy the other blogs when the website gets fixed cause i the blogs that i sent it to arent appearing anymore. ill speak to you more later on. hope your having fun, and congrats on the trek it seemed pretty hard! xxx alana
16th December 2009

mum and dad freddo
hey mum. the moeny went through the next morning. i need you here to control my spending beacuse i think i have spent it all already. we leave to go to saigon today but takign that 15 hour train. getting the last of my shopping today then i am done. hopefully saigon doesnt have alot of shopping cos i dont have enough to do any. how is the house hounting. ill be in contact soon. did you want any change????? love hannnnnahxxx
16th December 2009

judy scholes and lily
hey mum. the blog has been down the last few days or so. its should be up soon. thanks for the money, it'll be my dvd money in ho chi minh. R and R is goood. spent loads of money!! done lots of shoppppping and swam a bit too. today we are suppose to go to the beach but i dont know wat it will be like because it is raining. were in hoi an at the moment still and tonite at 8 we catch a bus to danang and then get on another over night train to saigon where we will spend our last few days. we have to be on the train all day tomrmow till 4 too. im going to try call li today. im pretty dure she lives in saigon so that will be in the next few days. tell lily i say hi and yes she has her presents ( by the sound of it kasey wrote it becayse of the presents for mummy bit too) haha well looking forward to seeing everyone on monday. love yous xx
16th December 2009

nanny joan
hey nan. good to hear from youu. its been good over here. wish i had of been at the christmas party. we tried li when we were in cambodia but i have to try get on to he ragain today. hopefully can catch up with her in the next few days. rest and relaxation is good. done lots of shopping and swimmming. ill probably see you when i get bavck though. hi mel and mick! love april
16th December 2009

judy scholes
hey mum. i tried li again today. the number isnt working at all. i tried taking the first few numbers out and everything but its jsut not goign through. wat should i do? do you think maybe nanny or you could try from melb and tell her were staying in the gold hotel at saigon and ask if she is near that or somethingggg. love you x
16th December 2009

wendosssssss traynor!!
hi wendy. im not brown at all ive tried today at the beach but no luck! im so jealous 39 degrees! thank you for the money. i wont spend your 200 dollars but i think ive spent dads. were going on the over night train tonight- 18 hours! then in Ho Chi Mihn city again. ill be home soon! cant wait to seee you. love you love emmma xoxox
16th December 2009

hey mummmmmmmmmmmmmmm!!! oh that sounds so cool i wish i was there to meet grace and all them. damnnnn its too late to get anything else made as im leaving hoi an today and i think luke will be 20 by the time he fits into the shoes.... US 4 is MASSIVE! today we went to the beach and it was amazing lots and waves, so much fun. ive defs shopped till i dropped its amazing here. i should have gotten everyones sizes before i came its way too hard to guess other peoples sizes as the people here even get my size wrong - and they even measure me!! ive got tons of presents (nicks a lost cause i could not find anything! cept sunnies...) anyways i gtg be home soon! love you, leia. xoxoxo P.S BEN IS NOT COMING TO THE AIRPORT *stamps foot
16th December 2009

ALANA!! from Laura
Hey Alana, sorry about keeping it a secret i promised Todd i wouldnt tell anyone. who else got awards?? looking at the photos it looks like it was a good day! bit unfortunate you have been sending them to the wrong group, let me know asap if you and robert want anything in particular including DVDs. dont worry New Moon is on the list. give me ideas for robert. the trek was difficult but the views were all worth it!! we went to the beach today and the water was soo nice! tonight i leave Hoi An and we are travelling to Ho CHi Minh City tonight via an pvernight train whcih takes 18 hours. i am really not looking forwards to it :(. hope everything is going well back in Melbourne, say hi to Robert and everypne for me. see you in a week. Love Laura xxx
16th December 2009

okay so ive come up with a list of questions i keep forgetting to ask you: first and most importantly... is pop okay? and how are nan, bretto and everyone else? secondly... moo who is your teacher and are you happy with your class? whos in your class? thirdly... has everyone accepted the fact that they may need to bring a lot of cash to the airport for my first chosen meal when i get home... well not home technically... i want to visit nan and pop as soon as i get out of the airport! have to go out for our last night in hoi an... will speak soon... love you!
17th December 2009

hey mummmm! yeah the blog is being soooo annoying but i can still read wat you say it just doesnt look to you like it has gone through when it has. im having suchg a fun time. tomorow we go to the cu chi tunnels it should be really gooood. I am soo excited ot come hjome but im sure i will miss it here. excited to see everyone tooo!Ill get it out of kasey or lily!! ahah nah i wont but thats no fair!! btw i dont know why i cant get on to li but would really liek t meet her. i made a mistake our hotel upgraded so were at hong thien loc hotel which is in district one if you can pass that on! missing eveyrone love you xxxx
17th December 2009

shirl and graham
heeey yeah i am loving it in vietnam. we just go to saigon after visiting hoi an and we trekked in dalat. that was my favorite! ive been really good with the food suprisingly! aha i ate a cricket one time believe it or not! yeah i made a mistake with the hotel were staying in so if you talk to nan can you tell her its hong thien luc in district 1. yeah it would be really good to meet her. yeah i come home on monday. its gone sooo fast though. i miss eveyrone and want to come home to tell everyone abbout it but i will miss it here too. Were going to the cuchi tunnels tommorw im really excitedi think it will be good. ill see you soon when i get homee! love you'se xxxx
18th December 2009

hey mum sorry i havnt written in a few days i only just got ur comment. thank you for cleaning my room :) i have surprises for u as well, we are in ho chi minh atm with the deuluxe sweet its so nice. tonight we were playing shuttlecock with these australians from adelaide and they were hot lol. tonight is one of our last nights together. i dont want to leave now i willl miss this trip its amazing, but i dont even remember your faces and voices anymore so i cant wait to see you all again + the ugly dog. have fun tomorrow say hi to everyone love you lots and get to see you soon! emily hiam xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
19th December 2009

uh oh dont show dad until ive seen it :) love you mummy im very excited to be coming home maddy said she was coming with you :) hahaha imagine dad in thermals. anyway i get to see you very soon love you xxxxx

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