Sunrise atop Roraima - beautiful
I was so nervous about getting good weather that I hardly slept a wink. I got up and out of the tent and had a big smile on my face as I called out the others that we had a beuautiful sunrise to greet us - everyone scambled to get dressed and grab their cameras and then we just stood for a few minutes gazing at the golden yellow hue in the distance. It was pretty clear, and we were eager to get to the edge to see the views over the sides. However, Jose said we had to have breakfast and pack up our bags first, so we guppled down coffee and pancakes and after a bit of a delay we were off by 6.45am. Judith was a little bemused as we then hurried out towards the view point - quite rightly as we´d stood around for 20 minutes after breakfast waiting for the guides to sort themselves out - we were so worried that the clouds would return! Luckily we got the edge around 7am and it was still perfectly clear and oh my god, the views were just stunning.
The views were awesome!!! Made all the tired legs worthwhile!
I´ve never seen anything like it, absolutely one of the most awe-inpsiring views I´ve experienced. We took hundreds of photos trying to get every angle and pose, and of course included Jose´s famous poses, with El Tigre himself cackling away as he joined in. Just brilliant!
We started the descent and immediately I felt a twinge in my left knee, which I knew meant it was going to be a tough day ahead. I´ve never had any problems with knees before (plenty with my ankles from football, as many of you know!), so I winced in pain most of the way down. The weight of your pack and natural gravity means it puts a lot of pressure on your joints and body, so its certainly not for the unfit! We had some good views on the way down and got back to Base Camp before 11am.
A tribute to the legend Jose 'el Tigre'
We only stopped for lunch (rations were getting thin by this point so it was just tuna, veg, mayo and bread...minus the tuna for me) as we had to get all the way back to Río Tek before the evening. The afternoon was pretty gruelling, as it was up and down, up and down and back in the warmer weather it was tough going. We were relieved to reach the rivers just before Río Tek and wade through which helped to cool us down (although Will thought he could jump across the stones and not get wet, but succeeded right until the last point and slipped and dunked his whole leg in...much to our joy I can tell you!). At Río Tek we were finally able to get out of our smely clothes and jump in the fully flowing river to clean ourselves, the first time in days.
We were all looking forward to getting back to Paraitepuy the next day, and so went off for our final night in the little tents.
Mr Cockrel was back on form ensuring that no-one had a decent night´s sleep - cheers for that. My knee was stiff from the day before and I knew that this was not going to be a fun stroll home. We were up and at it by 7am, and we soon remembered how far we´d come on the first day....hill after hill after hill....and most of it was downhill, which absolutely killed my knee. By this point I was limping like a war-veteran and fell behind Will and Patrick who set off up front. I tried to block it out and think of a nice cold Coke at the end point. After a couple of hours, a Spanish group caught up with me and I followed them.
Starting the descent
...incorrectly as it turned out! I thought it was just a simple one way path all the way back, but in a haze I followed the Spanish the wrong way to one of the river crossings, meaning I had to double back, adding another half-km or so onto my hike - really wasn´t what I needed at that point!! On the last stretch and because I was going so slowly, Saleem caught me up and helped me past the ´finish´line just after 10.30am - huurraahh, the end at last! Will, Patrick, Judith and Ralf were sitting waiting and relieved to see that I actually made it back in one piece. Luckily, a shop was close at hand and there were ice-cold Cokes al round to celebrate...its never tasted so good! A quick stop at El Japse waterfalls on the way back and we dropped El Tigre back at his village, with him welcomed like a local hero...that he is! A night in a bed, oh what a luxury that would be, couldn´t wait to check in at Michelle´s!!
(PHOTOS TO FOLLOW)