Some of our hardy Hero Bears went along for the ride with our Burma trekkers. They got their paws on some pen and paper and put this blog post together!
Monday 20 February
I started my day very early. As I waited in the reception of the hotel I spotted my friend Hero Bear sitting in the side of a rucksack. He invited me to join him and I jumped into the other side pocket. We took a small plane to Heho and then hopped on another coach. Next we went to Pindaya and its golden cave. We saw lots of lovely golden Buddha statues, then had lunch overlooking the lake. We were in for a treat after lunch when we climbed onto small Chinese buffalo (an old truck) for a very bumpy uphill ride. When we got to the top of the hill we climbed out and started trekking for three and a half hours. I started to get tired as it had been a long day. We then hitched a ride on the back of another truck that took us to the monastery where we stayed overnight. I have seen a trekker called Cindy with a nice backpack, so tomorrow I will hitch a lift with her.
Tuesday 21 February
I was with Cindy to keep her company on the first full day of trekking. It was lovely and cool as we entered the mountain forests, with sun rays shining through the tree tops. I was impressed with everyone keeping up a good pace. As we made our way down the mountain, we were greeted by a cool breeze everyone was thankful for. At the end of the mountain was a little village and all the families came to greet us. The heat roared down on us as we were walking through the farm lands. With little shade and water levels getting low, we managed to reach our lunch destination just in time to recover from the heat. Our lunch crew cooked for us and the Buddhist monks. We had crackers, a vegetarian noodle dish and tomato and onion salad, which we ate with chop sticks.
With our bellies full we started the 2nd part of the trek today. We began well but some of us struggled as we walked in more farm lands with no shade in sight and lots of red earth dust giving us all an instant tan. On we marched and to our delight we reached the monastery, our finishing point of the day, one hour earlier than expected.
Wednesday 22 February
I woke early and was excited about my adventures today with Nick, another trekker. After having lots of coffee, rice and eggs for breakfast I managed to find a comfy seat on the back of Nick’s rucksack and we set off. The ground was very dry and we saw farmers working hard in their fields with old fashioned ploughs and oxen. I chatted to Nick and the rest of the other group all morning. After stopping for lunch at a monastery we marched on through more hilly ground. The last part of the days trekking was mostly uphill, but everyone did very well and didn’t complain at all. Nick and I arrived first at the hill top monastery at the end of the day’s trek and lay down for a little snooze. I stayed up late telling stories of the day, before going to bed ready for more trekking tomorrow.
Thursday 23 February
I was the first person to wake up today so I got up and went for a nice walk around the monastery. As the group woke up I could see in their faces how this magical place had affected them. After breakfast we presented our spare equipment to a monk, who was kind enough to bless us individually and give us a maroon bracelet with five knots to represent the five life rules of Buddhism. We then loaded onto the truck and drove down the mountain to the start point of today’s trek. As we dismounted from the trucks I could see how well the group had bonded. We walked for two and a half hours over hilly ground which took us through the jungle, into farm land and then to a lovely little village. After lunch we trekked for another three hours to our next monastery which was an amazing old British hill station. After our daily ritual of stretches we enjoyed another traditional Burmese meal. We stoked the fire and listened carefully to the most amazing story of recovery from one of the Band of Brothers trekking with us. This moved every member of the group. Then I climbed into bed and fell asleep, thinking how lucky I am to be here.
Friday 24 February
Not a good start to the day, somehow I hurt my left paw. Some clumsy bloke put his big pack on it! One of the trekkers, Alison, bound up my paw and I was set for the day. It was a glorious morning – crisp and beautiful. After a king size helping of banana cake, I climbed on the wagon and we drove off to our start point. We walked through the bush with lovely views of distant pagodas. Eventually we reached the end of the road… we’d done it! I’m so proud of our amazing team and I’ll remember this experience forever. We crossed the bridge in a big crowd and there were cheers and tears all around. We had a great lunch to celebrate then got in boats and reached our beautiful hotel where I was really looked after. I’m looking forward to the journey home with my new owner, Rachel, and can’t wait for my next adventure with Help for Heroes!
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