Tiger Leaping Gorge – A 2-3 day hiking trail found within the Himalayas.

Hello friends, I just said goodbye to my twin sista this morning. She is a very exceptional individual who is apart of an organization called The Fulbright. Pretty much, it means she’s very smart and dedicated to do research in China for 1.5 years. She (and all the other China Fulbrights) were invited to a conference in Taipei, Taiwan. So, she is off with her friends to hear about all the great things other people have accomplished while doing their Fulbright research. I’ll miss her a lot, but I’ll be seeing her in October. I’m still in China for another 2 days and luckily I’ve made friends of my own. I’ll actually be playing Battlestar Galactica the Board Game tonight with some buddies.

Now to the next part of Colleen and I’s travels:

Tiger Leaping Gorge – A 2-3 day hiking trail found within the Himalayas. 

The last thing you heard from me was that Colleen and I had just caught a bus to Lijiang. At the bus station, we luckily got the last 2 spots on the bus to Qiaotou (the town nearest to the start of the trail) the next morning. Well, we spent the night at a quaint hostel and we made friends with 2 French guys who were also going to Qiaotou the following morning. We decided to travel together and we became fast friends.

We woke up very early to catch our 8:30am bus with our new French friends. The ride to Qiaotou was very beautiful. There were many bends and turns because we were going up into the Himalayas, but the views were spectacular. Something cool about the Chinese bus system is that they stop often, so people can use the restroom and get food. Sometimes it gets annoying stopping almost every hour, but it is nice to hop out of the bus and see what the locals are making on the barbecue. I also have a tendency to buy a Sprite at least once (and a chocolate bar for Colleen… our guilty pleasures….).

After 3 hours of driving and 30 minutes of walking on the side of a road, we made it to the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trailhead!

Colleen and I were already stunned by the views of the mountains 30 minutes into the hike, but we only knew it would get even better. The only hard part was that the first day of hiking was almost all uphill. So, we just chugged along, keeping positive.  

Here’s a shot of Colleen early on our hike. Our French friends were still with us at this point. Also, you might notice that the distance is very smoky. That is not pollution, it is smoke from a fire. It has been very hot and dry in this area for the last couple months and fires have been an issue.IMG_6237Here’s another shot about 2 hours in. There are villages throughout the hike that we walked through. In the villages, the kids love to come up and practice their English, so we took some short breaks, got water, and talked with the kids.

So, we’re still walking. It had been about 4 hours of constant up hill, with the occasional downhill. We were still staying strong, but then we kept seeing signs written on rocks and trees warning us about the 28 Bends. The signs would say, “The 28 Bends is coming,” “Be prepared for the 28 Bends,” and “Rest here before you go any further.” They were a bit disconcerting.  We turned a corner and then we could see what people were talking about. In the distance there were a lot of switchbacks going straight up the mountainside. I’m sure if I counted them all there would be 28. So, Colleen and I took the advice from the strange signs and rested a bit before we tackled The 28 Bends. While we were resting, a friendly Dutchman passed through named Martin. Like usual, we made fast friends and he joined us on our endeavor up the mountain.

Okay, I won’t go into detail about how rough those 28 bends were, but I think I lost some of my sanity while climbing up it.

At Bend 26 there was a viewing platform (A rock sticking out of the cliff, it was pretty scary), but the view was phenomenal! You could see the raging river below and the snowy peaks in the distance.

Colleen and I chilled on that rock sticking out of the cliff for awhile. We deserved the rest. By this time Martin had kept going. He wanted to reach the guesthouse early, so to get a good room.

The last 2 bends were a piece a cake and then it was smooth sailing. The last 2 hours of our hike was downhill, towards the village that we were planning on staying in.
Here’s the last shot I took that day. We were pretty close to the guesthouse by then. The sunset made the mountains turn yellowish-orange. We got to watch it from our window in our room. What a great way to end a 6-hour hike.

We bumped into Martin again and had dinner at the Tea Horse GuestHouse. We learned that we both were super cool and played MMO’s when we were younger. Just before he quit his job, he actually worked on the latest Hitman (friends you can thank him for such a great game). I can’t remember exactly what he did for the game, but he said he was done with corporate life. That is when he decided to quit his job and escape to Asia. So, now he bikes around SE Asia and China and blogs about it. He is the epitome of badass nerd.

We shared some great stories. My favorite was sharing with him that Colleen and I played Dark Ages of Camelot as 12 year old girls (we shared a character named Zimi. She was a minstrel). The best part was that we would lead massive raids. If you didn’t know, raids are when hundreds of people come together to defeat a high-leveled monster or attack enemy territory. The normal stereotype for MMO players is that they are 40-50 year old men. So we all cried laughing, just imagining 12 year old girls leading hundreds of 40-50 year old men into battle (all of them having no idea). Man, what a good night.

Well, I’ll make a separate blog post for Days 2 and 3, since this one got pretty long. To the next post!

Love, Molly

P.S. I’ll be writing these rather quickly, so please don’t mind the mistypes.

One Comment on “Tiger Leaping Gorge – A 2-3 day hiking trail found within the Himalayas.

  1. Pingback: Lugu Lake and Lejiazui: The Land of the Mosuo | Molly's Journey to the West

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