We got up bright and early, and after our breakfasts, with our dramatically cut down 6 kg duffel in hand we met our guide Henry, and assisatant guide Rosa, and bused 45 minutes to KM 82, and the starting point of our hike. Just to put things into perspective, we had 14 porters, a cook and an assistant cook and 2 guides accompanying 8 hikers!!
The eight of us, Kim and her son Jack; Tom from Australia, newly weds Gemma and Russell; Jessica from England, and a couple of old farts that they let join them all stood for poses at the entrance gate to the park. Of course, the Super Hero Pose was in order. I knew it was going to be a fun group when not one person declined this odd ball tradition of ours!!
Today was All Souls Day, or as they say here, Day of the Dead. While it sounds quite morbid, it is really quite a wonderful tradition. You see, the families of the deceased come out early in the morning and clean the graves (which are mostly above ground) and decorate them with flowers and scarves etc. Then in the afternoon, they bring food and drink (yes, I mean the hard stuff) along with musicians or even a mariachi band and have a party in the graveyard with their ancestors! My theory is that this dates back to the Inca’s when they would revere their dead, mummify them and bring them out for special celebrations…just saying!
After another couple of hours we got to our campsite. And our team of porters all clapped as we entered the campground…it was so encouraging! The porters ( the quick and strong elves that they are) had raced ahead and had everything set up by the time we arrived. Most of you know that Dan and I are avid wilderness campers, but this was the closest we’ve come to glamping! We have a dining tent, with a waiter!
Oh, and how does one go to the “loo” in the wilderness you ask? Well they had a special tent with 2 potties…one for #1 and one for #2. It didn’t have the view of our loos on the Nahanni river, but it gave convenient privacy…of a sort!
Well, the moon is rising and time to hit the sack… its going to be a 5:30 wake up with 6:10 breakfast and a 7 am start… Day 2 is the day I dread the most…this is the day that we summit Dead Woman’s pass at an altitude of 4,215 m. If you think hiking is strenuous, try doing it with a lot less oxygen in the air!! Oh well…in for a Penney, in for a pound!