Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 4: Camp II to Camp III

Phew today was hellish. Nine hours of muddy jungle hiking to get to Camp III. The highlight of the morning was a large river crossing on a single tree branch suspended over gushing white water. At one point I thought Ed would fall in but he maintained his balance. We got to lunch three hours in thinking 'this is hard' but also that we could manage the second half of the day. Little did we know it would be a six hour slog uphill in pouring rain. The mud situation was much worse than we had seen so far. At points it came up to our knees. But that isn't even the worst part. It's the unending slipperiness of everything. The trees, branches, vines, roots...everything is wet and slippery. It makes every step a gamble. Unfortunately I seem to be on the losing end more often than not. I faceplanted in the mud several times today. It honestly feels like I'm going from near-injury to near-injury.

I have learned several things about jungle trekking, however. First is just adjusting one's attitude to be willing to get dirty and fall. There is no way you could do this trekking without grabbing onto numerous branches, roots, or vines. I've also learned to watch every step because each one matters and can mean the difference between staying healthy and getting injured. And getting injured out here could mean death since there is no way to get out...Sugapa is the closest heli- or plane landing site and it's three hard days of climbing away. Finally, I've learned to never 100% trust the terrain I'm moving on. Many times I've stepped on a branch only to have it crack and split open, or landed on what appears to be solid turf only to fall right through into a hole. The jungle can be a deceiving  place. All in all, though, it's not so bad. It's just one big sponge really.

We are now recuperating in our tent refocusing before tomorrow--our last big day (hopefully) and also our first day actually seeing the mountain!

I don't think I've ever been this dirty in my life...

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