Jul 17 2009

Down and out

Peter found the early part of the walk tough, because we had to climb 160m or so to reach the coll and get out of the Wenhai valley to the other side where we could start to lose height. Farm animals were free to roam, unconstrained by field boundaries. I wanted to advise all three pigs NOT to choose straw, but held myself back.Very slowly,we started to descend into the wide open valley below and ultimately hitched a ride on the tiniest of trucks, so small the driver chose a footpath as a shortcut down to the village below! Here we would re-plan and rest a while. (Down from Wenhai 13 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 12 2009

It’s better on the edge

P1030625Whilst the crowds and souvenirs of Lijiang may be suffocating, it isn’t hard to find a breath of fresh air and some great views on a walk out of town – through the public park and out of the back gate – onwards and upwards right away from town. Random areas of the hill are quarried and dogs bark when you pass houses. An old woman is tending her vegetables by a stream. Back down the track in the outskirts of the new town is a reservoir, people were swimming. It is the best view from a free public swimming pool I have ever seen. I eat fried potato on a stick and head back to the hordes past meticulously clean cafes in scruffy roadside buildings. Planning is underway to avoid the classic bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge and trek there instead; around the back of the awesome Jade Dragon Mountain (above)(5596m) The Chinese say it’s 13 peaks hold up the sky. This little trip needs preparation and – ideally – maps… hmmmm. Fear not, later I am to meet Lily, she knows the moutains, she runs an Eco tourist bureau and she will be able to help. (Lijiang 10 July)P1030628

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 6 2009

A change of plan

It is night and it starts to rain. Then it gets heavier until I think even my awesome little tent will give way. The rain doesn’t stop and the wind becomes stronger. In deep slumber about 8am and still very tired, I hear ‘Hallo‘. It is the Master and DanDan (who is staying with his girlfriend at the Master’s place). They have come to check we are OK. Put off by the incessant pounding rain I stay in my tent, until after half an hour I know I will have to get up. They have been chatting with Xiao Bing and as I appear they are just about ready to leave. I could have done with some more sleep – maybe the rain would have stopped before I had to come out and face it. Xiao Bing later agrees, he wasn’t ready for earloy morning visitors either – but their concern was well meant. We busy ourselves with food – more boil in the bag and some tea (PG tips from home, in the province famous for it’s black tea – hahaha). The rain calms down and we pack everything away and soon the Master reappears. I have taken a look over the ridge nearby on my walk yesterday evening and I can see that if we head in a S. Westerly direction over the hill we will hit the lake. Originally our plan was to walk from here onto the neighbouring Chicken Foot Mountain itself, but it is clear (or rather not) that the rain is here to stay, so there will be nothing to see. The Master says he and the two staying with him also want to head down the mountain, but he advises against my chosen route, saying it is very likely we will lose our way. He is insistent we come down with him. The two staying with him DanDan and his girlfriend ShweShwe are keen to reach Dali during the day. So we agree to all go together off the mountain. Soon, we are back at the Master’s house, he has a small dog that he calls Little Dog. He gets all his monk stuff together in a rucsac and brings a brass staff with him. The dog is coming with us too, in a bag, with a small sachet of milk powder in the bottom to keep him happy. So we start to trek down the mountain and after about an hour and a half we raech the mountain warden’s house again… Here we are going to call for transport. I have a feeling this will be another epic. (Mu Xiang Ping 5 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 6 2009

An awesome place to spend the night

With the well-over-the-hill potatoes cooked and finished I cook us some boil in the bag food. Xiao Bing is impressed with the Jetboil and how fast we can enjoy something tasty (I am certain his potatoes were not the best meal he’d ever eaten, although I didn’t accept his offer to try some). I find the flattest place to pitch my tent, Xiao Bing elects to sleep on the Monk’s old homemade bed in the cave itself. Soon it is nearly sunset and after a short walk, taking loads of pictures of amazing plants, I sit outside the shack as the birds sing a loud chorus. A tiny bright red bird comes to feed on the foliage around the shack. Damn, this one too is too fast to photograph. My altimeter says 3200m. This is an awesome place. It is only 8.45pm, but it has been an epic day and it is time for bed. (Mu Xiang Ping 4 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking. Heol Senni, Brecon, Wales.

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce


Jul 6 2009

The cave, a fire and some old potatoes

So, here we are on the sacred moutain Mu Xiang Ping (or as the Master says, Chicken Foot Lotus Mountain). The good thing about all the effort to get to this place is there is no entrance charge and therefore no ‘tourist’ facilities (like chair lifts, or beautifully manicured paths with picnic areas). The challenging thing is that it is all a bit random. Unlike mountains in the UK, stripped long ago of their trees and vegetation, this mountain like many others in Yunnan is a living place. There are probably ten other cow boys – like the one helping us. Everyone offers us food or tea, or just a place to rest. If we wanted to, we would be welcome to stay. There are communities and they are welcoming of any visitor. As an outsider it feels strange, but it is just the way it is – and the welcome is one of genuine warmth. Anyway, back to our cow boy and the continuing journey. We walk for about an hour and here he points to a shack in the hillside. All around are stunning views, the shack has a homemade gate and a long-deserted vegetable patch. We go into this abandoned homestead, the farmer boy bids us goodbye and says he will bring us food tomorrow morning. Within no time, Xiao Bing has lit a fire in the small ‘fire room’ and found some seeded potatoes that he proceeds to cook and eat. (He also finds some of the monk’s abandoned rice store, but he fears there is too much mouse shit in it for it to be edible – hmmm, nice) (Mu Xiang Ping 4 July)

Rough Edge Adventure Logistics mountain navigation & training & worldwide trekking

China 09 DofE Gold Expedition recce