The southern ridge road

I’ve started exploring a new hiking trail. There is a range of hills running along the coast south from Quy Nhon for sixteen kilometres or so. The highest peaks are around 600-700 metres high and there’s a road that starts from the Quy Nhon end running south. I’ve hiked along the Quy Nhon end of the road several times, but only for about five kilometres. To give you an idea of the area I’m looking at, the header picture above is taken from a peak near the ridge road.

For some time I’ve been planning to see how far I can get from north to south. I headed out yesterday morning to Quy Hoa valley (just south of Quy Nhon) and started hiking up the hill up along my main access trail to the ridge road.

The ridge road
The ridge road – strolling, not hiking

When I reached the ridge road I turned south instead of north as I usually do. It’s a logging track and seems to have regular traffic judging from the condition of the road. Pretty much straight away I started asking myself, ‘How have I not come this way before?’  The road was shady, cool, easy to hike on and thoroughly pleasant.

Eventually I reached a fork in the road, and this is where my plans came undone. Although I had done some careful research on Google Earth, I neglected to transfer the waypoints to my GPS. I zigged left instead of zagging right, believing that since my compass pointed slightly left that would be the best way to go. I hit a series of dead end trails after a kilometre or so. I had a choice: backtrack or go bush. I went bush. I’ve made this choice before.  It never ends well.

Screenshot from my GPS - note all the loops and dead ends
Screenshot from my GPS – note all the loops and dead ends

This time I came out of the wooded area I’d been hiking straight into a meadow. Well, a meadow with waist-high bushes peppered with particularly vicious thorn bushes. The good news is that I now knew exactly where I was. The bad news was that I had managed to do 3/4 of a circle relative to my starting point. I thought it would be quicker and easier to make my way down the hill than try to retrace my route.  Wrong again. To cut a long story short, I battled my way around the meadow trying to find a decent trail heading down, mostly going around in circles and puncturing myself repeatedly in the process. It didn’t help that the meadow was on a fairly steep slope.

After forty-five minutes or so, I found an overgrown logging trail and finally made it down to the road about a kilometre from my starting point. The positive side is that I think I can connect the wooded area and the trail I came down on. If so, it gives me a new option for reaching the ridge road. I’ll try again tomorrow, but this time I’ll try from the southern end and see how I go.

Epilogue: I took Ellie, my dog, to the beach in the afternoon. I managed to badly stub my toe on a rock. I hope it isn’t broken, but it is looking rather swollen and purplish this morning. I’m planning a hike later this morning up the coast near the fishing village of Nhon Ly. I’ll see how I go when I put my hiking boots on.




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