Jul 17 2009

Flexibility rules

Armed only with google maps (see A route with no map), we decided eventually to fold. Just like armies of other people we grudgingly found a bus. It was an awesome ride, but nothing compared to walking the route there. We had achieved most of the route, the altitude had affected Peter which was a shame for him. The grubby surroundings of the ‘restaurant’ fleapit had done nothing to help our morale that morning. The extortion of the gobbing man had added insult to injury. Let’s just get to our objective, let’s get to the gorge. (To Tiger Leaping Gorge 13 July)

Blue T shirt

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Jul 12 2009

A route with no map

I have met Peter at breakfast in the Well Bistro. We bumped into each other first in Dali and here he is again. He is American and he’s been teaching English in Taipei. With three months off before a new post in Beijing he is travelling around. Peter is keen to avoid taking a bus with everyone else to Tiger Leaping Gorge too and we agree to do the trip together. He will come to my meeting with Lily.

Lily is very helpful indeed. She shows us a hand drawn map of the area around the Jade Dragon Mountain and points out a route from Baisha up to a lake called Wenhai (3100m) and then over a ridge (3800m) dropping down towards the road and ultimately the usual start point for the gorge. We discuss this trip and she assures us we need a guide. Maybe we can do it with the help of her map I ask? No she replies, these maps are just for the use of her guides. Oh. Anyway, I think, maybe going with a guide wouldn’t be so bad, so how much will this 3 day trip be? Her price is a little high for me I explain the following day, but she is welcome to come and explore the mountains in the UK anytime, borrow my maps and if she needs me to guide 🙂

With Lily’s route in mind (and now delayed by a further day) I put on my poshest English demeanour and head to the Grand Lijiang Hotel business centre in the hope I’ll be able to print google maps. It is time consuming and frustrating, but it gives me what I need. Peter meanwhile has visited Chang (Joachim’s helpful Chinese friend in Lijiang – but who speaks no English). Chang adds helpful advice to our route including that we will doubtless find a guide if we want one en route. It is Saturday and this has taken most of the day, but we will head off on Sunday – with bags of helpful advice, tips on where to stay, where to find guides and even maps of a scale where you can read the contours. Thanks Lily and thanks Chang. (Lijiang 11 July)

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Jul 6 2009

Strollin in the sky

High above Dali is the Cloud Pass. At 2600m it runs for 13K between (conveniently) a chair lift and a cable car (don’t laugh). As an acclimatisation day I took the (scary) chair lift to go up. At the top, beyond a temple-cum-nick nack market a path winds up the hill to the Higherland Inn. Here I found the helpful woman who gave me a map (of sorts) and sold me some mixed nuts. So I set off along a beautifully kept pass weaving through astonishing gorges high in the mountain. (Cloud Pass, Dali 3 July)

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