The Last Resort in Nepal. Though I was tempted to go canyoning with the Danish girls I had just met I opted out. Ever since I’ve sort of wished I had gone. Dalat, which prides itself on being both a romantic destination and the adventure capital of southern Vietnam afforded me a second chance. And admittedly, it’s a lot more fun to share an experience such as this with someone close to you. Or in my case, someone you feel comfortable freaking out around when you’re terrified of propelling your body down a 75ft cliff with water cascading down when you aren’t particularly adventurous.
I’m actually a very cautious person, so while this was generally “no big deal” for Alex, it was for me. Especially since I have never repelled down anything in my life. But in a constant attempt to rid myself of my cautiousness, paired with genuine excitement at the prospect of repelling down waterfalls (I mean, how cool is that?) I felt ready to take on the challenge.
We all know water is powerful. And through the years I’ve learned to have a respectful caution towards it, knowing if it decides to pull me under, there’s not much I can do but hope. And yet, as I was half way down the biggest waterfall of the day I was shocked at the strength of the water. I couldn’t breathe, or see anything, the flow of the waterfall felt as if someone had turned on a fire hydrant and pointed it directly at me. The guide belaying me was yelling at me to lean further back. Right, lean directly towards the overhanging cliff that wants to send me to my death. But knowing he’s probably got a better idea of what to do,I listen, loosen my rope and lean, my back now parallel with the pool of water beneath me. The hard part is, masked from limited vision, hearing, or really breathing, is that the cliff is just really slippery. While the pounding water pushed my legs backward I had to push back, slowly lowing myself assuring my position before continuing, lest I slip and slide down the damn thing. Apparently, that happens. Nothing that bad should happen of course, it might just hurt a bit. Excellent. But, miraculously neither one of us slipped and made it to the overhang where we braced ourselves against the cliff and pushed off, releasing our rope and plummeting down with the waterfall. That was the fun bit. The adrenaline rush from the whole thing wasn’t half bad either.
The other notable waterfall earned the nickname “the washing machine.” Essentially, depending on the water it had the tendency to spin you about as you lowered yourself. There was nothing you could do about this either. You were at the water’s mercy. Though technically much easier than the other about 30% of people never attempt this one. I had my reservations. Looking down it appears that you are about to plunge yourself between two walls into an impossibly small space in which a ridiculous amount of water was flowing. If you didn’t know better, you might think you were lowering yourself into oblivion. But, much like any adventure sport (and perhaps most things in life) I simply had to tell my brain to shut up and just do it. And then, as assured, I was fine. And in fact, it was a heck of ride too. Once your feet drop from the overhang you lower yourself directly into the waterfall which pulls you down and shoots you out through the two walls and into a pool. The current is the strongest pull I have ever felt, I was literally powerless to control anything, and so I just trusted I would be OK, and then, there I was in the pool, fully intact.
It was a fantastic day, aside from the rush of the waterfalls we also got in a fair bit of hiking up and down muddy embankments, sometime hand over hand. We crossed streams up to our wastes and slid down natural watersides. There was also a point where we could free jump off one of the waterfalls, though this one I opted out of given my inner ear damage.
It was the beginning to an adventure filled week. Tomorrow we set off for Mui Ne on motorbike!