Since my last post here, a lot has happened. I am back in Colorado Springs and have been since the beginning of July. Among other things, I have moved into a new apartment, begun my training at the Admissions Office for my job this fall, met with my advisor about my Economics thesis, overseeing The Sound of Colorado College’s move to a new studio on campus, and spent plenty of time speaking to numerous folks about my post graduation plans. Life is
busy, but good. It is good to be back State-side. Before I launch into blogging about the summer, let me finish up my trip to China.
My final week in China was perhaps the most incredible of all. My last post was from Lijiang in the Yunan province. From Lijiang three friends and I separated from our program’s trip to finish on our own schedule. Our route took us from Lijiang to Shangri-La (only named that because the Chinese government wanted to create a tourist attraction). The town is also known as Zhongdian, but the area is noted as being very close to the Shangri-La described in the book, The Lost Horizon. From here we took a bus though winding mountain roads to Deqin. Deqin is about 80% Tibetan and going through a decent amount of construction despite the remote nature of the place.
We stayed 15 minutes outside of Deqin at Tashi’s Mountain Lodge. Tashi’s is a foreign trekker friendly guest house in a recently renovated Tibetan home. We arrived to find a beautifully rugged place that was run at the time by a couple from Italy, Phillip and Silvia. The two had stopped there a few weeks ago to find a job and ended up abandoned by the Tashi’s local staff who had retreated for a few months to the mountains to collect caterpillars that were supposedly full of medicinal value. From Tashi’s, we gathered information on a trek to a remote village, Yubeng, not accessible by road.
We payed a driver to take us to Xidang where the trail head for Yubeng is. We stayed a night with a Tibetan family in Xidang. Our host was a friendly older couple who spoke a Tibetan dialect. We communicated with hand gestures. The next day we began our 6-7 hour hike to Yubeng. The trail was surprisingly full of trekkers and locals. We had to hike over a mountain before we could drop down into Yubeng. Although cloudy, the top (before our descent into the village) was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. The magical scenery combined with the warmth of the Tibetan people gave me a whole new sense of China.
We stayed that night in Yubeng under two peaks that were unlike anything I had ever seen. As one visitor to Tashi’s had described, “It is mountain paradise.” Words are hard to find when thinking about this place. I will let a few pictures tell the story. At the same time, this is not a place I want to spoil with too many pictures for those that ever make it there.
Yubeng borders the official Tibetan Autonomous Region. The two peaks we slept beneath in Yubeng (as well as the larger, Kawa Karpa, which is not visible from Yubeng) are considered by many to be the guardians of the Himalayas. Kawa Karpa is a holy mountain and visited frequently by monks. From here, my friend Harry and I seperated from our other two friends, Liz and Allyssa. We moved onto much more travelled locations in Guilin and Yangshuo.
To be continued…