As a child, every time I looked up at the sky, I thought, "The sky is so far, so high, how can I get there." Later, when trekking to high peaks, I learned that those clouds, no matter how high, go forever, sometimes people can still stand higher.
In late December, cold spells caused temperatures to drop and rain was likely. Although it was not the best time, we decided to set out to conquer this mountain. A moderate journey of White Jupiter should last for 3 days and 2 nights, but most of the crew members could not arrange it so we agreed to go for 2 days and 1 night. The shortening of the time made me worry whether the weather would favor me, whether it would be in time to enjoy the scenery, hunt for clouds, if something would go wrong...
After the night from Hanoi to Sapa, we rented motorbikes to go to Bat Xat. Our journey was 3 hours. The first signal was not very happy, causing the excitement to diminish somewhat. It's dew. The mist whitened the way. From O Quy Ho pass, we turned onto the road leading up Bat Xat, driving both shivering from the cold, and from fear from out of sight. The cold numbed the limbs.
The climbing journey starts in 1 small village in Sieve Ma Suo commune. The destination of the first day is Salt Mountain. Fog, rain and the first stretch of dirt road were muddy clinging to the foot. The bamboo forest was dim in the mist. We regret that if there is sunshine, the journey will be less strenuous and the scenery will be fresher. Then the rain appeared, making the footsteps even heavier.
I don't know when, the slopes in White Jupiter were named "Give Up" slope, "Desperate" slope ... , just heard the name and felt suffocated. After the first day of walking through steep slopes and streams, it wasn't until 7 p.m. that we arrived, spinning around the fire.
That evening, I was faced with 3 options: one was to stay for another day so that I could catch the dawn of Salt Mountain and go to the top later, two was to stay in the shack, go down the mountain and return to Sapa early and three, I had to get up early to the top to catch the schedule of returning to the mountain. Two-thirds of the delegation chose not to go to the top and returned to Sapa early because they thought "bad weather is nothing to see". That left me more or less shaken. But in the end, I still decided to keep the 2-day schedule as it was.
That morning, it took courage for me to stick my feet out of the warm blanket in the cold of 5-6 degrees Celsius. We started before morning. For the first 2 hours, we were in the dark. The section from the shack to the top of the slope follows steeply, rocks piled with rocks. My friend said, "When it's dark, you can't see it, so you're less afraid."
As the morning dawned, I could clearly see the fog enveloping me. The last glimmer of hope that the mist would clear seemed extinguished. Further confirmation of the local porters, who are very knowledgeable about the weather, I believe it was a very bad day.
Yet, at about 7 a.m., I heard the cheers of the members who preceded me. "What is this?" I muttered as I saw the sun weave up the mountainside. The mist cleared and a few minutes later, suddenly a sea of clouds was underfoot. The sun is up. The sky was clear blue. I couldn't believe my eyes. Standing for a moment the cold wind was numbing, but the feeling of lightheadedness made me forget about it for a moment. I was like stepping into another world - from a gloomy, dark world to a paradise of light, clouds and melodious harmony of the wind.
Encountering a sea of clouds this season is not difficult. But seeing the sea of clouds as soon as I stepped out of the fog, and in my head 100% sure the weather was bad until the afternoon, I still couldn't believe it. The natural world still doesn't stop bringing surprises.
Sunshine was everywhere, but for some reason, I felt the sunshine overhead, strangely warm. Perhaps it was because, the sunlight traveled a great distance, through the pure, glass-clear air, without a hint of dust to lightly touch the flesh and play with the hair.
I kept walking as I thought. It turned out that I had been fooled by the cloud at first. The sunrise, the brilliant scenery, the things I want to see are still high up waiting. If that morning, I choose to stay in the shack wrapped in a warm blanket, or 1 minute of weakness without stepping, what I want to see will not appear in front of my eyes forever.
We had 2 hours left to reach the top. Although it is very cold and even though the flowers do not bloom, the scenery in the sun is still as fresh as spring. The road was sunny, the landscape was so beautiful that my senses kept trembling. That vibration no words can describe. Clusters of shimmering sunflowers peeked through the leaves in the bamboo forest swaying and dancing. The rhododendron forest spreads its ghostly arms roaming moss.
From Sieve Ma Suo to Sapa only in time to eat in a hurry to get on the car back to Hanoi. The journey is over, whether sad or happy, it is part of the journey that has passed. For me, joy cannot stay with me forever, but sadness is over. Therefore, such journeys help me learn to accept all happiness and difficulties with a welcoming heart.
For me, White Jupiter is a trekking palace that converges all the beauty of streams and waterfalls, primeval forests with diverse vegetation changing leaves, sea clouds, dinosaur life ... However, what is visible, measurable factors - altitude, distance, difficulty ... Not the deepest lingering. If anyone suddenly asks again how high the peak is, how many kilometers ... It must have taken me a few minutes to rummage through my memory. Sensations go from surprise to surprise, from trembling to cheering like children, from fear to utter joy,... Just mentioning it is like coming back to life intact.
Writer: Le Phuong
Image source: Shutterstock