A challenge

Hi guys,
As promised I will tell you about my hiking adventures in Vietnam. It all started with an invitation from Luan my co-worker at my internship place. Even without hiking experience I decided to join. However just before I joined I discovered an infection on my feet. They told me that I should stop wearing closed shoes. And so my hiking trip on sandals started.

Our destination is Black Virgin Mountain in Tay Ninh province, north of HCMC. The mountain is named after a daughter of a chieftain whom had to get married while she was devoted disciple of Buddhism. The girl went hiding on the mountain, when her farther dispatched soldiers to find her he only found some bone fragments. The girl rather killed herself than to break the vow as a Buddhist whom was not allowed to get married. That's why until today the mountain is seen as a holy mountain.

About the hike itself. We departed on Saturday morning for a four hour drive on the motorbike towards the mountain. For me, it was the first time to go this far by motorbike, so luckily I wasn't driving it myself. The first one and a half hour we needed to get out of HCMC. It was a way full of dirt and a mouth cap was no luxury. We're my glasses and mouth cap didn't cover my face it was covered by a black dirt probably from the vehicles we passed on the way.

After finally getting out of the city we drove to a landscape with rice plantations, rubber plantations and grassland were cows and water buffalo’s graze. It was a beautiful site. We also visited the Cao Dai temple. A temple which is the head temple of the Caodaism believers a religion which is founded in Tay Ninh Vietnam. It's a combination of Buddhism (yellow), Taoism (blue) and Confucianism (red). Since all those religions are practiced here, they started to combine them and there are more than 1 million believers mostly in the Mekong delta region of Vietnam.

Back to the hike. We started at sunset going up the mountain on a path which was sometimes steep and covered by rocks. On the way up we discovered many mango trees where sometimes we got some freshly picked mangos from. While continuing upward it started to become dark and the flashlights were turned on. We got a beautiful view of the city below and if we turned off the flashlights for a minute we were able to spot the fireflies. Around midnight we reached the top were we set up camp. This would be my first time camping in the wild and that on 1000 meter height. Luckily I was so tired that it only took seconds to fall asleep.

To see the sunrise I woke up early in the morning to discover there was only fog around me. After breakfast we made or way down and the fog cleared up giving us an amazing view. However the way down was steeper than the way up and I ended up using bamboo from the bamboo forest as a walking stick. But some places were so steep that you were literary hanging on roots or going down a stairs which was constructed there. Almost down my legs were killing me but in the end it was worth it. This amazing experience made me choose to hike again for the next two weekends more about that in my next story.

Write to you soon,