Dali => Lijiang => Tiger Leaping Gorge (hutiaoxia)
We arrived in the Lijiang Bus Station at 9:00pm, bought tickets for the next morning to Tiger Leaping Gorge, and went to a hostel some foreigners had recommended to us that night. We met up with two French men who were also going to the gorge the next day. We made plans to meet in the morning and set out together. We stayed in the North Gate International Youth Hostel, which turned out to be a really cool place. It was an old-style Chinese mansion with three stories of staircases that led to different courtyards and balconies. We were at the most top room which had six bunk beds.
While I was in my bunk, I pulled out my kindle to read “Journey to the West.” I am reading the English version of the original tale, which means its long and repetitive, but relevant to my trip. In the “Journey to the West,” the monk and his gang of comrades reach the Kingdom of Women (which is now the nickname of Lugu Lake, my fieldwork site). I want to read the original epic to fully understand their adventure to the lake and their encounters…but that means reading the entire 1,000+ page book. So, in these posts about my travels, I might throw in what I learn about the Monkey King and his adventures.
We woke up the next morning to meet ze’ French guys, ate rice noodles for breakfast, and then before we knew it were on the bus to Tiger Leaping Gorge. We zigzagged along mountainous roads, stopped at toilet stops next to cliffs where we were in cement squat bathrooms a foot away from the edge, and bumped along uneven roads. We finally made it and immediately started our trek.
Let me begin to say that Tiger Leaping Gorge was my favorite part of our trip…the pictures will show you why:
Village in the Gorge
We hiked with our 10-15 pound bags along the trail for a total of 6.5 hours. We started out hiking with ze’ French dudes for the first two hours and then split ways afterwards because they hiked with a faster pace than Molly and I. The two of us decided we wanted to hike the trail for three days, instead of the common two-day hike, so we took our time and enjoyed the scenery. On the trail we passed many hostels and villages and would follow the fainted red arrows that told us the correct path to take.
Resting on Rock Formations
It was breath-taking looking at these peaks.
Taking a Break after 28 Bends
This was after Molly and I hiked the 28 Bends, the most difficult part of the trail. We were very, very exhausted, especially since we did not eat lunch beforehand. It was a great feeling to get to the top.
[Insert Angelic Music Here]
After the 28 Bends, it was pretty smooth sailing from then on. We reached the Tea Horse in the late afternoon and decided to rest. We ate like queens that night, since we didn’t eat anything besides rice noodles and granola bars the entire day.
View of Sunset from Tea Horse
We had a very insightful conversation with a ex-game developer that night. Molly and I reminisced about the good ole’ days of playing Dark Age of Camelot in our parent’s basement and leading raids when we were only 12 years old. It was great to talk to someone that understands the field and even knows the developers of DaoC! Also, talking about mmorpgs made me realize how much I miss videogames and computer games…I’ll have a lot of catching up to do when I am back in the states.
We slept well that night and decided to wake up late the next morning for the next day’s hike.