Just got back from Rooster mountain. We decided to go camping this weekend with a group we had met on the trail a few weeks back. When they called to invite us I was a bit skeptical due to the fact I didn't know any of them. However they turned out to be a pretty good group of people.

We all met up at the bus station after work on Friday. Then we headed out to Qijiang which is about an hour south of Chongqing by bus. Then when we arrived Qijiang we stopped at a restaurant to get a snack since we had a couple hours of travel ahead of us. After that we took a couple mini van to haul the 11 of us to the camping area trailhead which was about a 40 mintue ride from the downtown. Arriving we all started hiking up the trail with our gear in the dark. The weather was very cool and comfortable for our hike. Once we got to the halfway point we stopped at a farmers house where 2 of the people in our group would be leaving thier car. The road is like a 2 track and they didn't want to drive any farther than that. You could of made it an a SUV or truck fairly easy though. Actually a car you didn't care about would also work. Anyways then they hired the farmer to carry in some of the extra gear, food, and drinks. He carried around 100 lbs. of stuff for around 7 dollars. After arriving at the lake, which was man made by a dam, we all set up our tents in a grassy area next to the lake. After we all began warming our dishes we brought from home. The first night everyone brought a dish to pass. I made spaghetti which a lot of people enjoyed and Maggie made red boiled pork which was also a hit. After we began drinking and partying to finish the night.

The next day was spent hanging out and doing a little bit of fishing and hiking. Everyone joined in a few different games throughout the day as well. Then we started our dinner with a main dish of hot pot folled by a campfire dance party with more drinking. Everyone was a lot mellower this night compared to the first, maybe a good thing.

Then Sunday we woke up thick fog making hard to see the lake that was right next to us. We bagan to make breakfast followed by cleanup. After finishing the fog had lifted and we began our hour long hike back out to the front gate where we could catch a bus back to Qijiang. Arriving there everyone decided to go eat the local fish pot which is famous in this town. I was really to interested since I don't like fish very much, especially when it's just a whole fish with bones whacked up in a pot mixed with the spices, peppers, oil, veggies, etc. However after trying it aside from the bones it was pretty good. Then it was time to head to the bus station and get back to Chongqing.


We got back home yesterday afternoon from our vacation. Seven days went by like three. I guess that is a good thing because everything went pretty well.

Day One- We got to the airport and flew out of Chongqing to Lijiang, Yunnan Province. We arrived Lijiang around 10 am then we had to wait around for the bus to take us into the city. Once we arrived there we had to take a taxi from the bus station to the ancient town. We then walked around the ancient town and looked for something to eat. The ancient town is very nice and has a really comfortable feel to it. There are many small restaurants, bars, art studios, handmade jewelery and craft shops that line the small streets. Many of which are along the few small rivers that snake through the ancient town. Also all of the very nice guest houses which are old style but very nice. They say all the small rivers come from the Yula Snow Mountain which backs the city of Lijiang. The rivers all look so clean I felt I wasn't in China any more. We ate our lunch, which was over the bridge noodles, made from a chicken like soup brought to your table very hot. Then they add vegetables, chicken, egg, and noodles that are uncooked. The soup is so hot after stirring for a minute everything is done. After eating we looked around the city for awhile before heading to Shuhe where we would be staying for the night. Shuhe is similar to Lijiang but smaller and has less tourists. Arriving Shuhe we decided to hire the locals which provide horses willing to take you anywhere. We then rode horse to our guest house in the back  of the Shuhe ancient town. When we arrived the owner of the guest house met is in the alley to lead us to her home. Her home is actually very new, many of the guest houses are, but built old style to keep the look of the ancient city. After talking with A Peng for a few minutes we found that she was from Shanghai but moved her a few years ago to open the guest house and she speaks very good English since she used to work for a joint venture in Shanghai. We then decided to look around Shuhe while the guest house owner prepared dinner for us and 6 or 8 other guests. She prepared about 6 or 7 different dishes that were all very good. We then began to eat dinner which seemed to turn into a big party with drinking games during and after our dinner.

Day two- We woke up in the morning feeling a bit hungover from the dinner party. A Peng, the owner, cooked us breakfast, local bread and baozhi (steamed buns with meat or veggies inside). We then headed out to the bus station that would take us to Yula mountain. Arriving at Yula mountain we then puchased our ticket and got on the Yula mountain bus that would take us to the cable car. We decided to take the cable car that would go to the grass meadow. The cable car took us from 2000 m up to around 2500 m elevation.  Arriving at the top we walked a trail through the forest that would take us to the meadow. I found the forest to be a little similar as Washington or Oregon with thick green, mossy forest. Then we arrived at the grassy meadow which is backed by the Yula snow mountain which is around 5400 m tall. We then hiked around the meadow taking photos of the scenery and horses grazing freely in the unfenced meadow. After that we departed to the Blue Moon River. The water color there is the bluest I have seen, not sure from what. We walked around taking photos of the rivers and Yaks which you can pay to sit on and get your picture taken. Yaks are very popular throughout the area. When then headed back to Shehe to stay another night at A Peng's guest house.

Day Three- We headed out to Shangri-la. The bus ride was around 4 hours going through the mountains heading north. The whole ride was very scenic. You couldn't help but enjoy looking out the window the whole way seeing the yaks, cows, sheep, horses, pigs, and whatever freely grazing almost everywhere. The area is full of China's ethnic cultures. Mostly the Naxi but as you head north it becomes mostly the Zang but there are around 13 different nationalities in Shangri-la. Arriving there we deiced to head to the Tibetan monastery complex which is the biggest in Yunnan province. It is a very cool place to witness some Tibetan culture aside of it being under a lot of construction currently. After that we headed to the ancient town to find a place to stay for the night. Walking around finding that almost every place was full we finally found a hostel with some space. We ended up sharing a room there with a Japanese kid that could speak English and Chinese as well. We then decided to head out for dinner. While looking for a place to eat we met up with our dinner party friends from the first night. They apparently had similar travel arrangements as us. They recommended we eat the local hot pot which is made from Yak. The Yak hot pot is brought to your table in a tin pot with coal burning in the middle to keep it boiling. You keep adding in veggies, noodles, or whatever else you decide to order as you eat. The Yak hot pot is very delicious and I hope to have it again someday.

Day 4- We headed out to Pudacua National Park at 8am. It was a little cold with light rain, maybe around 45 or 50 degrees unfortunately. We had only brought sweatshirts so we were freezing as we walked to the front gate after arriving. Luckily the local people rent heavy coats to stupid tourists like myself, so we rented two coats for around 5 dollars for the day. The park was a pretty awesome view. There are a few local people that live in small wood homes throughout the park. It also has many herdsmen with their animals grazing in the many grassy meadows. After finishing the park we had to get on a bus to take us back 2 hours south to Tiger Leaping Gorge. After arriving we found a local mini-van to drive us into the gorge. We then stopped at the upper gorge to hike from the road down to the Yangtze River. It took around an hour to hike down and back. The view was well worth the hike. After that the driver took us to the middle gorge where we would be spending the night at Tina's guest house. 

Day 5- After eating some breakfast we hiked down the trail to the middle gorge. The trail was very steep with cliffs and rock stairs. It's amazing that anyone could make the trail in the first place. It took around an hour to hike down. The rapids are huge in the middle gorge. The Yangtze flows around 100,000 cfs. Then we hiked up another trail which took around 2 hours. The trail has ladders in a couple places to get up the steep terrain. After getting to the top we stopped and had lunch at a cafe over looking the gorge. The cafe was very nice with everything in English. It is run by a Japanese woman that married a Chinese man. We had some local Naxi Pizza for lunch. It's like two pieces of pita bread with cheese and fried veggies between. We then began our hike back towards the front gate. We needed to make it about halfway back to the Tea Horse guest house. The hike goes up to the high trail overlooking the the gorge. It starts at 2080 m and finishes at 2500 m elevation. During the hike you pass a lot of sheep and mules grazing throughout the mountain side. Some of the stubborn mules like to stand in the trail not letting you through. After around 4 hours we finally arrived at the Tea Horse. We were happily greeted by the owner who spoke English as well.

Day 6- After a good night's rest we ate some breakfast before heading out. We had some apple banana pancakes, they just put the fruit between two pancakes, and hash browns topped with local cheese. The pancakes were great but I'd rather have some real cheese. Then we continued on our hike to the front gate. We had about a 200 m rise in elevation in our first 2 hours of hike then it would begin to go back down to around 2080 m. We stopped and ate lunch after around 3 hours of hiking at the Naxi family guest house. Then continued out to the front gate where we joined another group and hired a mini-van to take us back 1 and a half hours to Shuhe where our friend from Chongqing was staying. We met him for dinner then went to Lijiang ancient town to one of the bars. Then we headed back to our guest house in Shuhe.

Day 7- Waking up to the real life knowing that we are heading back to Chongqing. We headed to the airport then flew out and were back in Chongqing around noon. 

Da7 8- I am now back at work typing this and my legs still hurt from the hike through Tiger Leaping Gorge.