I've given up on using my trekking pole and suddenly I'm moving so much quicker. It was useful going up but I find that it hinders my balance heading down. It's like I have an extra limb I don't know what to do with.
Now that I'm not fixated with trying not to fall I stop and marvel at the simple and effective infrastructure that's in place throughout the route. Steps constructed from slabs of stone, winding footpaths carved into the sides of hills, little wooden bridges that look rickety but are sturdy enough to bear the weight of humans and mules. These are truly feats of engineering.