This is the reason why we feel compelled to travel. Before heading to new places, I always make sure to avoid all photos of anything exciting I may encounter, it was the right decision here. This vista was a stunning surprise and well worth the short hike up Mt Kupapey.
Jumping up at 6am, having had a restful first night, we loaded up on the local coffee, and with a wave at the view which was slowly becoming defogged we started on a climbing experience, that was for the first twenty minutes, brutal. Thanks, in part to the altitude and also my laziness of late with not walking too far due to the nature of the traffic around the local area. Once it levelled out and we had a rest for the obligatory selfies, it became much easier and I felt healthy, as opposed to the imagined teetering on the edge of unconsciousness.
Getting to the top generated a good feeling of camaraderie, thanks to what we were looking down on and experiencing together. It was a perfect place to just exist in the company of the few people who joined us. The terraces reminded me of Machu Picchu and I pondered how Hiram Bingham must have felt when he accidentally stumbled across it. Bizarrely the sounds of The Lion King soundtrack which was playing from someone’s mobile was oddly appropriate for the occasion.
That view alone easily justified all the travel. We then wandered over to the other side of the mountain and found yet another valley rich in beauty. It felt like a timeless place of natural rhythms, coming down the terraces it was virtually silent (which I hardly noticed at the time) apart from the odd stumble from our group, it felt like descending into a land that time forgot.
The rice terraces were pretty steep in places and the paths, a mixture of concrete or compacted soil, It made for slow going as the sun beat down but also provided many chances to take in the view and greet the odd traveller or worker who passed by. Although later in the year the terraces are a sea of green, I liked the patchwork effect and the different colours on offer. In short, it was blissful.
Passing an unassuming village, nestled into the greenery we came across an 80-year-old lady who was still working but seemed happy. At one point, whilst walking along a quiet road we saw an eagle wheeling overhead, another unexpected treat. Then we found a bridge which we didn’t need to cross but went for the usual photo session. It was only as I walked off the bridge that I noticed that the slats which connected the walkway weren’t actually fitted together properly (or at all in some instances) but were in fact just held in place by tightly bound wires every few paces.
We eventually ended up at some hot springs, which sounds great but was in reality a let down. Although a pleasant place to meet people and rest in the shade with a bowl of the local rice and whatever else you may fancy with it, the hot spring itself was hidden and a hose was used to fill various swimming pools up. I did get to take one wonderful photo when this little beast landed on my glasses (whilst I wore them) and refused to get off.
On the road back we crossed a bridge which had big signs asking people not to park on it, there were six or so cars/pickups and maybe eight or nine motorbikes. When I pointed this out, it was wearily acknowledged as being just how it is here. I have to admit I like the carefree attitude of ignoring rules, if only that applied to taxes and other such things.
Thank you for reading, if you leave a comment I will get back to you next week as I am currently out for another hike of which photos will be taken. Wand with tales of rope bridges that swing so much it actually makes climbers throw up, it could be an eventful journey.