halfway! after an afternoon and a night, a morning viewing the ice floe, listening to the BOOM! and crackle of the ice, watching great blocks of ice break off of the mass and tumble down, carrying boulders and rubble down the slope with a great loud roar…after dinner with gezhen doje, the one monk at the lotus temple, camping, watching the sun rise orange and pink on the ice…i am heading home…but not before i visit the hot springs on the other side of the mountain…first ice, then hot water.
ok I made I within sight of the glacier, but only after an ordeal of a mountain, the white horse snow mountain. I caught a ride from zhongdian (so-called shangrila) with a monk in a minivan blasting pseudoelectro Chinese pop music, back to the crossroads.
from there it was an hour or so up and around the bend, then an awesome 40+ km downhill, meeting up with the yangtze river again in the early evening, followed by a leisurely kind of uphill to the village of benzilan. it’s always cool when I ask where I am and find I have skated further than I thought!
overnight in an ok hotel, and the beginning of a 2 day climb, 60km from 2000m to 4500! heavy duty, but the difficult part was that the road is halfway under construction, wih long stretches of dusty gritty stony dirt road full of diggers and trucks at work. basically, it sucked walking my board through a construction site for hours, skating for 20 minutes, then hiking through the dirt again. I broke down and took two rides through the worst of it, about 4km I didn’t actually skate. kind of a letdown as I had wanted to do it all on my own power, but enough was enough!
back on the blacktop, I was in a private bliss again, pushing up through beautiful forests, the rhododendron are flowering now, throwing splashes of fuschia and rose pink upon the oaks and evergreens. simply awesome, even tired as I was from incessant climbing.
I camped above the road looking across to the first snowy peaks leading up to the white horse snow mountain, really sleeping well regardless of the wolves howling in the distance and the dangling bells and munch munch clatter of herds of yak roaming about. yet the presence of free range yak eased my concerns of free ranging bears, as villagers don’t let stock roam if they know of the existence of bears in the neighborhood. anyway I hun my food from a tree 30m disant and off wind from my camp, and I didn’t leave the tent without the bearspray clipped on my pants. call me over cautious but I have had a bit to do with bears in the states, and they make me uneasy.
well, no fending off of bears to report, just another 25km climb the next morning, finally reaching the first pass of 3 above 4200m around mid afternoon.
I spent some time oggling the snow and ice and stone rising up into the sky, stopping at each pass for a breather. the air so thin up there, taking a breather is something of a misnomer.
at the last pass I took dandan’s advice and camped. I worked so hard to get up there, maybe I didn’t want to fly down so quickly. too true, and I met some medicine fungus collectors up there, who fed me rice pork and veggies in their hut, and laughed and ogled themselves as I set up my tent behind their place, surrounded by thousands of praying, fluttering flags.
dawn, and orange sunshine washed over, quickly overcome by rolling banks of fog which smothered everything but the fluttering of he prayer flags untill at least 10. I crawled back into my tent till it warmed up…
downhill, downhill, a little bit uphill, and down again to Deqin. I ran out of food and water abou 2km from the town, not bad for the planning.
restocked in Deqin, overnighted in a tiny village (that’s another story/post) and I was on my way again his afternoon.
10km only, to feilai, where u checked into the first pleasant looking guesthouse with a rooftop room, 30kuai only.
from here I can see the glacier…
come a long way, baby!
this morning heading down down the switchbacks, then I am hiking up to he town, to the ice, and beyond to the lotus temple.
I am sporting some new gear, pack, tent and a jacket. so when looking at new gear, I am thinking what worked for me before and what other people are using, namely the longtreks crew. the one man bivy thing I tried didn’t go down well, so I wanted to try a small 2person tent checking the lightweight tent options of course I hunted around, reading reviews and setting up the tents in outdoor stores. but my final decisions were in the end also swayed by name brands to some extent. I figure companies who are willing to sponsor these guys, they have my vote and I get a feel good factor supporting those companies with my purchase, inasmuch as one tent or jacket makes a difference.
bottom line: the nemo espri 2person tent I got was cheaper than the rest and fits the bill well; and Patagonia makes a good jacket in their piolet.