Cung leo is considered the most beautiful in Vietnam and the information about the ancient stone road about to be demolished prompted us to conquer Nhì Co San and ancient stone road Pavie in mid-November.
Conquering the summit of Nhiu Co San
Nhiu Co San, in the Mong ethnic language meaning Horn Trau, is located in Sang Ma Sao commune, Bat Xat district, Lao Cai province. The Nhiu Co San mountain range has 2 peaks extending out into the sky, curving like a buffalo’s horn. This is the 9th highest mountain in Vietnam, 2,965m above sea level.
As usual to go hiking in the Northwest, our group of members from many parts of the country, arrived in Sapa the night before, and rested for one night to prepare for the next journey. We will travel 3 days 2 nights, with a total distance of 35km.
From Sapa, the group rents a car from 6 am, after about 2 and a half hours, they arrive at the gathering place in Den Sang village (Bat Xat district).
We met a group of local guides and packers (commonly known as porters) who will accompany us on this journey. After discussing and agreeing on a detailed schedule, we moved our belongings to ask them to bring them to help, then took a motorbike taxi to go to Nhiu Co San village. This section about 7-8 km from Den Sang to Nhiu Co San is very bad, rocky and jagged, only motorbikes can go.
Each person carrying a backpack weighing about 5-7kg including drinking water, snacks and essential items, begins the climbing journey at the Cha Pha campus.
The first stretch of the road is not steep, the weather is nice, the weather is sunny, but not harsh, making the team members very excited with the journey ahead.
We chose to climb Nhiu Co San top along the way through Ong Chua waterfall and back through the goat drop ground instead of going up and back through the goat drop ground to enjoy the best views of the bow.
We traveled for more than 2 hours, passed the Mong people’s Nhì Co San village, then crossed a large stream. As planned, until 12:30, we entered a dense forest, at the foot of Ong Chua waterfall – a very beautiful waterfall.
Streams of water from high above pour down through many stone steps, shaking in the sun like bee wings, perhaps thus forming the name of the waterfall. Our group has lunch and rest for strength right at the foot of the waterfall, where there is a clear puddle that can see through the pebbles below. Here the humidity is high, very cool, even cold.
The menu for lunch is traditional black banh chung of the Day ethnic group with silk rolls, watermelon, iced apple and Lao Cai pear. Resting for a while we continue on our way.
Our next target is the tent at 2,300m. Porter A Cai said that he will go in about 3-5 hours depending on the fitness of each person.
The weather was quite nice that day, sunny but very cool, the temperature in the forest was about 20 degrees Celsius. We went about 5 minutes every 30 minutes. According to the experience of climbing, you should not rest longer, the active muscles will harden and the body is susceptible to cold.
The first group arrived at the shack at an altitude of 2,300m around 4:30. At this time, the porters who had brought the luggage and food to the front were making dinner for the 48 group.
The shack consists of two bungalows with enough space for about 60 people, built by a group of 9 people in 2017 to serve climbers. Ly A Cai is one of 9 shack owners who said that the first visitors to explore Nhì Co San were in 2013 and then the number of tourists gradually increased, so they decided to apply for permission and invest in shelters.
The shack is not located next to the stream like the shacks in other climbing arcs but the spring water is led from 300m away so guests can still bathe. The porters will heat hot water for visitors to bathe (50,000 VND / pot) if there is a need. The bathroom and toilet area here are quite clean.
We have dinner at 7:30. The food prepared by the porters is delicious and varied. The temperature in the mountain is only about 5 degrees Celsius, very cold. After we finished eating, we quickly went to bed to regain our strength the next morning’s journey up and down the mountain.
After a night of rest at the shack, we woke up from around 5am, had breakfast and left at 6am to see the sunrise on the way.
The road to the top is not too steep, crossing a barren hill before entering the forest of small bamboo and old rhododendron. This stretch of road has surprisingly beautiful scenery and is a perfect hunting ground for clouds.
A Hearing floor, one of our guide, said that in the season of azaleas in March-April, the whole top of Nhì Co San mountain was immersed in red and purple, and at the end of December and early January, on top snow is often covered.
The first group of trekker reached the summit at 7:30. We rested for a while, took pictures on the top of the mountain, then quickly went back down to the shack. After that, pack up, grab a recharge and continue down the mountain to spend the night.
The road going down the foot of the mountain through the goats is not steep, but this section is almost in the bare hills and the weather is sunny so it is very exhausting.
We walked for about 20-30 minutes and stopped to drink water under the shade trees to avoid dehydration and heat shock. At about 2:00 pm, the first group arrived at Cha Pha village, Sang Ma Sao commune, where we would have dinner and spend the night at people’s houses.
Explore the ancient stone road Pavie
After 2 days and 1 night of conquering the top of Nhìu Co San, on the third day, we continued our journey to conquer 15km of the ancient stone road of Pavie.
Pavie stone road was built by the French in 1927, about 70km long connecting Sang Ma Sao commune (Bat Xat – Lao Cai) and Sin Suoi Ho (Phong Tho – Lai Chau). The road made of pebbles and boulders folded to serve the transportation and transportation of goods, minerals and cardamom by horse power, now remaining only about 20km.
We get up for breakfast early and depart from Cha Pha at 6am, when the sun starts to rise in the mountains. Before reaching the beginning of the road, we passed a very romantic valley at the foot of Nhì Co San mountain. From this side, we could see the peak that the group had climbed yesterday.
Everyone in the group spent a lot of time taking pictures in the valley and in the forest that the road passed through. Everyone is fascinated and overwhelmed by the rare primitive forest scenery on this road ..
Climbing the ancient stone pavilion Pavie does not require too high physical strength. The slopes are short, not sharp, and mainly go under the canopy of old forest trees so they do not lose strength. Many travel agencies have organized trips for tourists who want to experience this road alone, for 2 days 1 night (overnight in the woods).
The most attractive thing about Pavie Road is through a primeval forest with high biodiversity. Forests are multi-layered, cardamom and low-rise mixed trees, higher than conifers, maple and large trees above. To conquer this ancient stone path we have to cross 2 large streams. This is the most beautiful primeval forest of the creepers in the Northwest that I have come across.
On the way, our group met a family of Mong ethnic people in Lai Chau, walking over to marry a relative in Lao Cai. A family member said that it takes about 3 hours to walk to a relative’s house. If traveling by car, it will take about 12 hours due to a detour.
We had lunch at 12 o’clock by the last stream of the palace and then continued on to Sang Ma Pho village (Lai Chau) to gather and rest before heading to the bus stop outside.
The valley and the forest before entering the ancient stone road of Pavi in Lao Cai province was dreamy and mysterious, while the valley outside the forest on the side of Lai Chau province was majestic, leaving a lasting impression on us.
After resting and packing, we depart at 16:00 by motorbike taxi across the distance of about 18km including 9km of very bad road from Sang Ma Pho village to Sin Suoi Ho – the meeting point for car parking welcome us back to Sapa.
“Nhìu Co San climbing bow and ancient stone pavement Pavie is one of the most beautiful in the Northwest thanks to its rich primitive forest ecosystem, beautiful mountains, waterfalls, streams and villages,” said Manh Chien. , shared the administrator of the Association of mountain climbing enthusiasts.
Perhaps anyone who has climbed Nhiu Co San and ancient stone pavement Pavie agreed with this remark of Manh Chien.
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