We started the day with a warm up session with our very own Dr Phil. We definitely needed it after yesterday’s hot walk – there are lots of aches and pains now. The we headed up Kulen (lychee) Mountain – straight up! And it was a long, hot climb with some scrambling and paddling to keep us on our toes.

The top of the mountain is a plateau, snaking through small villages. The villagers here farm cashew nuts, pomelo, lychee, jackfruits and coconuts. A very different landscape to the paddy fields in the valley below. This is a country where working the land is necessary and every area that it is possible to farm is utilised. Our long, hot climb was rewarded by seeing the village children who live at the top of the mountain. They were so grateful for the small gifts we gave them – pens, pencils, hair clips etc.

A long, winding walk along a dry riverbed (although in some places it was still pretty wet after the recent rainy season) led us to lunch. A little later today because the walk was hard. Many of us have trained on the Lake District hills, but a hill in 30 degree-plus heat brings challenges we couldn’t possibly have prepared for, so our walking pace was definitely slower and a few people found the heat really difficult.

It was dusk when we arrived at the picturesque waterfalls. A few hardy souls made it down the rickety steel steps to the main falls before we were transported back to our third camp. It was dark by the time we arrived so we were unable to swim in the river – something to look forward to in the morning.

Today was described as “tough” in the itinerary and that proved to be true. A hard day for everyone, we were glad to get back to camp this evening.

The St John’s Hospice Cambodia Trekkers

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