Leaping Tiger Gorge. At some point in the 1980’s, really adventurous Western backpackers started hiking the old trails through here. Back then, as I was told, the local villagers were pretty afraid to be seen interacting with these crazies. China had hardly started opening up, the days of anyone being labelled a rightist weren’t far behind, and suddenly in this (once) remote corner of Yunnan province there were all these hairy imperialists streaming through. No doubt they looked strange: being the time it was, they probably wore jean shorts.
Tag Archives: Hikes 爬山
Lately, I’ve taken to running. Not for fun, though, nor for the exercise benefits. I’ve started running, and by ‘lately’ I mean late, because I’m signed up for the so-called “Great Wall” marathon in May, and I’ve got a little over two months to prepare.
Distance running (to me, anything more than 13.1 miles) is a pain. It takes up a big chunk of the day, is pretty boring, and negatively impacts other aspects of fitness. It’s not a good use of my time. But the marathon in May, conducted along an eastern portion of the (albeit heavily reconstructed) Great Wall, seems like it’ll be a pretty fun challenge, and a good excuse to go see that little part of China.
And my recent training has brought other benefits. Continue reading
Ran the ridges above West Lake with a Kazakh and a Belgian today. Paths are known to exist back in those hills, but nobody’s ever bothered to make any kind of map showing where they go. So we decided to get up early and just go, figuring that it’s impossible to get too far off track when navigating around a big lake in a city of 6 million. This being China, we should have encountered nothing but slow crowds and that ever-persistent “fog.” But instead, we had the unmarked trails pretty mostly to ourselves, and didn’t seem to be sharing the air with too much other stuff either. All in all, a good fast 14km route with a view (pencilled sloppily in yellow above – click the picture for a blown-up view).
Below is a picture looking down from our path into Dragon Well village, tucked back in the hills from the lake. Those tea plants right there represent serious money for whoever owns them, given the top-ranked status of this little valley’s Dragon Well Tea among 1 billion tea drinkers.
Now continuing with the topic of hiking, here’s an action shot from Owen’s (and Mom’s) week-long cultural excursion to Jiālìfúníyà (加利福尼亚). They’ll be back in town just in time to get ready for our next hiking trip this coming weekend. Now’s the time to take on nearby mountains: the temps are cool, the crowds are small, the skies are mostly clear. And that sleeping kid in the backpack ain’t getting any lighter.