The Hike: Part II
The early morning hike started at 230am which means we have to wake up by 1am, brush our teeth (with icy cold water!), dress up in our windbreakers, beanie and headlamp before heading down to the canteen for supper. Upon waking up from the mere 4 hours rest, I found myself shivering, down with fever, feeling nausea and the worst headache ever. I stood up from my lower bunk bed and had to sit down again. Everything was spinning around and I can barely stand.
I turned to my bag and search for the strip of paracetamol that I brought along. Pop in 2 tablets, rested a while and I felt much better. The buffet supper started at 2am but as I
limped walked down slowly at 1:45am; the entire canteen was already almost filled up with hungry hikers waiting for their food. Within minutes, the chef and his team whipped up some mean spread which includes oats, hot drinks, noodles, porridge, toast, scrambled eggs and anything carbohydrate loaded food. I did not want to overeat and risk of going to the loo later so I just had a piece of toast, some scrambled eggs, a few spoonfuls of oats (mix with blueberry jam – to add in some sugar for energy later) and wash it down with a cup of locally brewed tea.
And then off we went – the final part of our hike together with hundreds of eager hikers competing with time in order to catch the sunrise up there.
The second part of the hike to the summit was tough – by normal person’s standard. It started off with a progressive hike in the dark passing by a lot of huge rocks, followed by flights of stairways and more rocks. Everyone wore beanie and headlamp and from far, we all look like those annoying minions from Despicable Me . After about 700m into the jungle, we finally reached the last 2 km before the summit which was the mother of all toughness. The difficulty level was beyond any scale you can think off.
The first part of the 2km hike brought us to a cliff where we have to use our strength to pull ourselves up using the rope available. Though it was just a 250m stretch but when you have limited space to walk and next to you was basically nothing (!!!), you kind of freaked out a little. After the rope climb, we reached the last check point where we have to register ourselves with the park ranger. I was already in front of my fellow friends as our guide asked me not to wait and just to continue my journey while I have the stamina.
From this point onwards, there were no more jungle terrain or stairways but granite rock surface. Stangers or not, each and everyone that walked that stretch encouraged and motivated each other to reach the summit. Every 10 steps felt like eternity, I have to sit down and take in deep breaths for the next 1.7km. At the break of dawn, the soft morning light started to paint the entire area and it was a sight to behold. The curve on the granite rock, the different peaks started to appear more visible in front of my eyes and as I look back, I saw nothing but scattered clouds floating from the distance all around.
For the first time, I walked above the clouds.