3:30 am . It was pitch black and everyone was up including Sebastian and the mules preparing for the day ahead. This was the day the entire trip was building up to. I had considered numerous ways to avoid completing this trek including tripping over on purpose, putting suncream my eyes and even drinking contaminated water but really there was no escape.
We set off in darkness. All was silent besides the sound of heavy boots trudging along the gravel. Today was going to be one long day.
With Sebastian by our sides we passed the spring, our neighbouring expeditioners and a small village where we saw the glorious sun rise. The day had officially begun. Several hours into our hike we encountered a small black puppy. We decided to name him scrappy. He followed us loyally up the path but we soon decided it was time for him to return home. However scrappy had other plans in mind and continued to follow. After Sebass finally chased the confused pup back home we could once again focus on trekking at a steady pace. As the altitude got higher it became more difficult but team support grew. Everyone offered a helping hand and a word of encouragement to make the journey a success.
When we reached the top there was a real sense of achievement and relief. We all celebrated and took photos to mark our achievement. After a well deserved rest it was time to head back down for lunch. Despite this being a much quicker journey it was very unstable and slippery so it was important we all took care. We stopped for lunch by a beautiful stream and after feeding our faces we went for a soak in the water.
With only a few hours left of our journey we packed up and headed down to our campsite for the night. When we finally got there we ate dinner, played games and before long we settled down as it was soon time to sleep. Our decent was to continue tomorrow!