Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Anyhow, Team Old Towners are fricking hardcore! We walked along the Tiger Leaping Gorge about a 2 and a half bus ride from Lijiang. It was quite a hardcore walk/climb: we hiked for the better part of 5 or 6 hours yesterday and 4 or 5 hours today. Today was pretty easy comparatively, but part of yesterday's trek was mental! It was an uphill section called the 28 Bends (though various other maps call it the 24, 26 or 30 Bends). Needless to say, there were a lot of bends and it was a tough, sweat-inducing, bend-cursing climb. But the views all along the way are incredible, and genuinely recollecting of Lord of the rings, from the green pastures, the waterfalls and the blackened, mist-laden, Mordor-esque mounts. Every so often we stopped to catch our breaths, take photos or just absorb the beauty.

Overnight we stayed at the Tea Horse Guest House, which for location alone made it one of the better places we've stayed at. Yes, the room was fricking cold and there WAS an electric wire hanging over my head while I slept, but when you've been climbing your little legs out, anywhere with clean shelter, a picturesque location and a generous menu including beer, your expectations are slightly lowered. We also met some nice people along the way. I, and later the others, Will somewhat begrudgingly, got up early to watch the sunrise over the peak of the Jade Snow Mountains, which stand at around 5700m, worth it completely, even if I was freezing my butt off first thing in the morning. There was also a caged monkey in the back near the simple squat toilets and basic shower facilities, a dog which barked JUST when we were trying to sleep, and a cardboard box in which there was a dog and its two immensely cute puppies.

Today's walk was a little easier, being mostly downhill but only slightly less breaktaking. After a bumpy rocky minibus ride to Qiao Tou, the starting village of the route, we got another minibus back in Lijiang, much to our reliefs. It was an amazing excursion, but it feels good to rest the legs :D

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