mountain seated squarely in the middle of the town lies a massive radio tower pointing up from the highest peak. A trail had been built gently careening its way up the side of the range all the way to the foot of the towering structure. Eager for some fresh air and views of the city from above, we paid the 30,000 Dong (roughly $1.50) for entrance to the trail and began our ascent. The landscape was littered with miniature stone forests, sweeping verdant fields, patches of bare earth primed for sowing rice and lush cool gardens surrounded by crystal clear koi ponds. The climb was a breeze compared to our recent hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge in China and before we knew it, we were standing on the deck of a lookout point perched at the top of the mountain. The town spread out before us below like a miniature scale model with all its pieces and details alive with motion and life. It was an idyllic scene straight out of a painting - French inspired architecture giving the buildings prestige and elegance, Venetian red rooftops dotting the landscape and adding a flare of color to the canvas, sheets of green rolling mountains unfurling in the distance, and the soft masterful
blending of sky and earth in subtle shades of one another framing the background and giving depth and perspective to this little haven in the hills. We took it all in and let the welcome change of locale sink in for each of us. From this height we could see the low lying clouds rolling in through the breaks of distant peaks, bringing the ubiquitous fog that frequently blankets the city in a humid grey void. Hurrying down the mountainside to retreat back to our guesthouse, we make a group decision to leave Sapa behind and keep moving to our next destination. The small village town that holds peace and beauty will give way to the bustle and noise of the urban metropolis that is Hanoi. Still focused and dedicated to the pursuit of a soul searching ride through the misty hills and untarnished countryside of Vietnam, I’m anxious to get to the big city to find the iron steed that will become an irreplaceable part of me for that journey. Another sleeper bus and another long night of wild foreseeing dreams. My heart centered on one single purpose and the inner mirror of my mind playing it out in all its vivid surreal scenarios. God, keep me safe…
It’s going to be a long bumpy ride.
Sapa, Vietnam is a beautiful mountainside town booming from tourism with stunning views of mist covered hills and rice terraces as far as the eye can see. We decided to stop here as a brief detour on our way to Hanoi and arrived right in the middle of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year that falls during the same time as China's celebration. The first day was spent in a dizzying swarm of locals garbed in traditional dress - singing, dancing and playing in the streets with blue tinted hands from the heavy unset dyes in their robes and massive sugar cane stalks never far from their chomping teeth. It was the culmination of their holiday and it seemed as if the entire town was out in full force to participate. After a long day of traveling, trekking and getting lost in the festivities we retired early to rest up and prepare for another full day ahead of us. At the top of a