Last weekend I found myself on an unexpected hiking adventure. If you would like to know about it (I think you will!), our Saturday hiking schedule played out as follows:
Friday afternoon – My friend casually mentions a “small hike” and invites me to come the next morning…
7:30am – Meet at the school gate, cram down some breakfast from a shop down the street. One art teacher, 3 other teachers, 7 skinny Tibetan guys in sneakers, 1 Chinese student.
8:00am – Hop on the bus to take it as far as it will go, just north east of our school.
8:15am – Start hiking. My friend in the pink sun hat (love her!) hands the purse she brought to her boyfriend within the first 10 minutes…it’s a bit on the heavy side.
9:15am – Tibetan boys are singing nomad songs (I mean like belting it out!) while sauntering along. I, on the other hand, am trying to just breathe normally.
10:30am – Nearing a cave. I’m thinking about what a lovely hike this has been, how it’s probably almost over, yet, still a bit confused as to the ultimate destination.
10:45am – Finally realizing this hike will be a bit longer than I originally thought. And we keep stopping every 10 minutes or so.
12:00pm – Stomach is growling, water running low.
1:00pm – I’ve relinquished the afternoon plans I had made and am enjoying using the bit of Chinese and Tibetan I know to connect with my new friends.
3:00pm – I now know we are going to the very summit of a rather rocky mountain and I’ve been hearing “just a little bit farther” for the past two hours.
3:15pm – Completely out of water.
3:30pm – Made it to the top! The rest of our crew trickles in over the next half hour or so. There are plenty of snacks and water being shared up at the top (thank goodness!), some nap-taking happening, some smoking (not me), some singing and lots of picture taking.
4:15pm – Head down the (rather steep) mountain, Tibetan boys are prancing, singing, smoking, using their sling shots…no signs of being tired.
5:45pm – Make our way to a nunnery, soak our feet in the cold stream, eat some snacks, drop my camera in the water (what?!). Don’t worry, it dried out.
6:45pm – Start walking on the dirt road that will take us back in to town. The sun starts setting around 8pm and the purple flowers are lovely.
8:00pm – Stop to have butter tea near the bus station.
8:30pm – Take the bus back in to town.
Moral of the story, never underestimate the stamina of Tibetan boys in converse sneakers or sweet Chinese girls wearing pink sun hats =)