Sunday 24 March 2013 – Dalhousie.
The pilgrimage was quite loud last night, there were drums echoing around the hills all night long and a bunch of people chanting from, I guess, the top of the peak from about 5:00 and then at 6:00 the loud music kicked in. My guide book says the path up the hill is free from the ubiquitous loud music that South and South East Asians like so much. My book is out of date!
Visually the day started beautifully with a nice blue sky and by 8:00 when I went up for breakfast it was quite warm as well. We watched the crowds coming down the hill through Benne’s binoculars and I was really pleased we did not go up this morning. As we were eating breakfast some of the people who did go up at 2:00 were coming back in and they said it was packed, the monastery on the peak was so full that a lot of people gave up trying to get to it.
Breakfast was not too bad, though I have never seen butter substitute in a sachet before…
It was quite hot in the morning but we were told that it would cloud over around eleven and get quite cool so we waited until then to go for a walk down to the lake. I went with Benne and Galya, a Bulgarian girl who joined us last night and will walk to the peak with us tomorrow morning. We started down the road past a bunch of buses from all over the country waiting to collect their returning pilgrims.
And then all of a sudden it was raining, and soon enough it was absolutely hammering down, luckily we found this shelter to huddled in while dodging the water running through the many leaks in the roof. Benne was the only one wise enough to wear a jacket.
Once the rain had stopped we continued on the way but started to get conflicting information on just how far away the lake was from the various people who stopped to ask us where we were going. In the end we decided to walk back up to the guest house and get some facts – as well as a rain coat for me and my umbrella for Galya. Benne decided he didn’t want to walk so just the two of us set off again – and soon it was warm and sunny.
It only took twenty five minutes to walk down to the lake in the end. Past a reasonable size water fall.
And the river that fills the lake.
We found a path down through the tea fields that led to the lake shore, the lake is a man made hydro lake and there was a short section of what was probably the old road to Delhousie on the shore line. The lake looked lovely.
We walked along the shore line for a few minutes, but it was getting obvious there was no easy way back up to the road, so we crashed up through some bush, before a final section of tea field – stamping heavily on the way to scare off any snakes that might be lurking in the bushes.
What the stamping heavily did not ward off was the leeches and I found one on my foot when we got to the road. I tried to burn it off with Galya’s lighter, but had no luck – and I wasn’t keen to burn myself by getting the flame too close, so I decided to leave it and either let it fall off or drop some tea-tree oil on it when I got back to the guesthouse. OK, it was a small one…
I am fairly sure a reasonable amount of that sun tan on my leg is dirt !
As we started up the road towards the guesthouse, me in bare feet due to the leech, the sky just let loose again, lucky we had rain gear this time so only got moderately soaked.
I took another photo of the leech just before I dropped some tea-tree oil on it. It was definitely looking full. The oil made it let go of my skin and flicked it off with a fingernail, a nice arc of MY blood flew out of it as it shot off my foot. Though it did not hurt I was glad it was gone, funny that.
I did very little with the rest of the day, it rained for another hour or so so I just sort of hung out in my room, listening to music, attempted to upload yesterdays post, read etc etc. I wasn’t really in a mingling mood. Though I did go up and join Benne and Galya for dinner on the roof at 7:00. After eating we all agreed to meet at 2:15 am tomorrow to make an assault on Adams Peak.