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Published: July 22nd 2012
I was going to name this post ‘The day I had to dig deep and put my big girl panties on!’, but James didn’t think that was suitable for a post that also includes him!
We did the popular Laguna 69 hike on the 4th
day in Haurez, which meant that we were both pretty much acclimatized (or so we thought), and were ready for some leg stretching. It is hard to say or write Laguna 69 without inserting a winking emoticon but apparently the 69 had nothing to do with what you think – but more of a lets-just-give-it-a-number and we’ll name it later, kind of situation.
We had an early pick up from our hostel and together with a bus full of other travelers, made the 3 hour trip up to the national park. We where we were treated to some spectacular views of glacial carved valleys and beautiful turquoise lakes.
We eventually reached the hike’s starting point and were told to be back at the bus for 15:30. No problem, as that left us 3 n half hours up and 2 down, for a hike that is very similar to ascending just below the cable
car on Table Mountain – about a 700m ascent with a valley or two thrown in and some steeper zigzags just to add to the fun.
We immediately started feeling the effects of the altitude only minutes from the bus. For some daft reason I kept forgetting that we were actually at 4000m and not down at the coast, and that a few hundred metres of walking meant a whole lot of pain for my body!
The hike for me was very very tough. My head felt ready to explode at any time from the severe headache and every little cell in my poor lungs was burning from the lack of air. Those two things together were testing enough, but throw in some severe nausea and dizziness and I was having a shite oh-my-flip-I-want-to-die-right-now experience, for the entire hike...for 3 very long hours...in the middle of the day.
At one point, after coming over a hill and seeing another valley ahead with a moerse steep zigzagging path on the other side, I sat down and decided that seeing a stupid glacier lake with a stupid name was just not worth it. James was a superstar, gave me
some encouraging words and agreed that it wasn’t worth it if I was as feeling that shite.
We sat for awhile and I recovered enough to see that we were so close and that it wasn’t fair for James- he would also be missing out on a spectacular vista.
So, I dug super diamond-mine deep, gave myself a talking to, put my Big-Girl-Panties on, stood up and carried on with the hike. I focused on just putting one foot in front of the other and slowly slowly made it up the hill. James by this stage had already taken half of my backpack supplies to lighten my load but eventually just took my whole backpack and championed on as a pack mule – not that he wasn’t feeling the nauseas, dizziness and throbbing headache too. He just wasn’t being a girl about it apparently!
*side note: having a group of people on mules (!!!) come trotting past you whilst you feeling like this, can make you very creative with a few choice cuss words! Nobody told us that there was a “DONKEY RIDE TO THE TOP” option!!
We eventually made it to the top and were
rewarded with the spectacular view of the beautiful crystal clear turquoise Laguna, surrounded by stunning snow capped peaks and beautiful precarious glacier walls.
High fives and woohoo’s all around from our hostel team, and I managed to hang onto my stomach contents just long enough to have a photo (smiling, nogal) and a four step walk, I couldn’t handle any more, around to take in the vista. The rest was short lived as we had to start making our way back to the bus. The walk back was a great deal better, and as soon as we started descending, the nausea and headache subsided enough to appreciate the surrounds, which I had been ignoring on the way up.
The return time for some people on the bus was obviously a general guideline, as they strolled in after 6pm –they were met with a bus full of tired grumpily-hungry people and a bus driver who was obviously very annoyed as he was hell bent on getting back to town in record time, using the speed limits as mere loose suggestions on the precarious gravel switchback roads.
Overall, the hike was a good experience and was a privilege to
be out in such big mountains. It pushed us to our limits but we managed to come through the other side, with only a few battle wounds to soothe.
Tot: 2.444s; Tpl: 0.134s; cc: 7; qc: 64; dbt: 0.067s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb