There was not much to do though we did walk half
an hour to a vantage point to have a closer look at 'our' mountain.
My goodness it looked awfully steep! On the way we came across some
very large Cycas pectinata. Some of them must have been hundreds
of years old, and were forked and branched. At about 8pm we retired
and slept surprisingly well on the hard and thin mattresses.
Up at 7am, an hour later than planned. Breakfast
for me was a bowl of plain boiled white rice with milk and sugar,
about as close as I could get to breakfast cereal, and a cup or
two of coffee. The weather was quite cool as the sun was only just
rising. There were 6 of us inn the party: Toby, Rachun and I, Rachun's
worker and two guides who knew the way up to the top. There was
also a small dog with us the size, shape and colour of a fox, who
experienced no difficulty keeping up with us. We set off taking
the same path as yesterday. At first the going was quite OK with
the path clearly defined but as we ascended it became less clear,
more muddy, and with the vegetation closing inn. We climbed up the
muddy path, slipping and sliding, and hanging on to the plants for
support, tantalising glimpses of our goal appearing from time to
time. Up and up we went, around the side of the mountain. It was
very steep in parts and very heavy going. My boots which were rather
for walking than climbing didn't help much and even my small camera
bag began to feel very heavy. After a couple of hours' slog, we
departed from what little path there was, to make a direct assault.
At this point the going became even tougher.
What appeared from a distance to be short grass
- turf even - turned out to be 6 feet high, and studded with huge
limestone boulders the size of cars, and always the dilemma was
to go around or to go over them. Both had dangers, as you couldn't
see one foot in front of the other in either case. It was awful.
The Trachy's got closer and closer but they were absolutely on the
ridge crest and demanded a high price for access. We aimed for one
particular palm whose leaves I could see arising from the far side,
and slowly inched our way towards it. The last few metres was over
the bare rock itself, sharp ridges had been formed by erosion. I
slowly made my way towards the crest and this tree, but as I reached
the edge and looked over, expecting to see a gentle slope on the
other side, my heart stopped - the far side was absolutely sheer,
you could have dropped a brick and it would have been in free fall
for several hundred feet. Terrifying!