We did it!!
Before starting our trip we did have hesitations about our physical abilities. We knew we should / could have been in better shape, but so many people said to us they knew older people who completed the “hike” or people with knee problems etc. This made us feel a lot better, however, we did mentally prepare for the difficulty that laid ahead of us, focusing on day two of the “hike”.
I am putting hike in quotations as this four-day journey is definitely a TREK. Put aside the distance, the steep inclines and the steep descents, we were not mentally prepared for how technical the trail was. At times there were stone stairs, at times there were stones laid down as stairs, very different from one another. There were times when the trail was only a few feet wide, with steep dropoffs. We went through a couple of small cave-like passes, which were cool and past breathtaking scenery.
Actually what we packed/used
As forty-year-old adults, we were smart enough to pack some fireball (whiskey). I know the many opinions about alcohol, never mind taking some with us on a beautiful journey such as this, however, we also know that a little nip of whiskey at the end of the day would help quiet our aching muscles and allow us to peacefully drift off to sleep. We had to carry this bottle, so no, it was not a 26’er, but a mickey!! We also packed some candy to share with the porters (very well received) and some chips for the later part of the trek! We had read to pack extra snacks, which we did and didn’t use, as well as electrolytes, which we did use, and I would recommend to everyone!
When we were doing our research for what to pack, and what is included, we found that the porters who worked for our tour company carried 6 kg of our stuff for us, AWESOME!! But wait, that weight included the rented sleeping bag and our rented sleeping mat, which we didn’t know the weight of while packing. The reality is, the combined weight of the rented items were 3.5 kg, which meant that we had only 2.5 kg of weight for personal items. That seems like perhaps enough (my change of clothing, Tevas and jammies) however, my husband could only take his jammies and one Teva! That meant we had to carry the rest of the items we had planned to take with us. In my opinion, there is no way we would have been able to carry all the items that are on the packing list that was provided by the tour company.
Our plan was to have two day packs, one on Sam and one on my daughter and I would use a nice big 9 L waist bag to carry my essentials and camera. However, once we learnt about the weight we had to change that plan and I ended up using my large pack as my day bag. We had two 2L water bladders with us, which I would recommend using if you plan to do this trek. The porter boiled water daily for us, so we didn’t need the water purification tablets we also packed. We didn’t need our rain gear, but the week before they told us it hailed on the trail, so we did pack it. We wouldn’t have gotten along so easily without the headlamps we packed, they are a must. Also, we did layer our clothing as we started out when it was 7 Celcius, and enjoyed afternoon temperatures of 17 Celcius. I had a plan of doing some wash at hotels before and after the hike, but the humidity was too high, and clothing was hard to dry. I did tie a couple of items to my day pack to dry while hiking. Ladies, pack a second bra. Mine never dried, and I ended up putting on a cold wet one every morning, yuck.