The Tiger Leaping Gorge was my first time doing a long multiple-day climb with a heavy pack. Despite the challenges, there’s something exhilarating, humbling, and calming about upland travel.
After a good night of rest, we woke up bright and early to continue our journey. The new day started with the most strenuous part of the trail, named 28 bends for its steep twists and turns. After few hours of climbing, we were rewarded with a beautiful view. And the rest of the hike almost felt like breeze, in comparison.
We caught a mini-bus out of town and stopped by Lijiang. Since over 800 years ago, the Naxi people have resided in Lijiang’s old town. Unfortunately, once the town was declared a UNESCO Heritage Site, the tourism industry caused a huge displacement of its original residents and replaced homes with overpriced souvenir shops. Nonetheless, I was grateful for the break before the trip back to Kunming.
“When you ride your bike, you’re working your legs, but your mind is on a treadmill. When you play chess, your mind is clicking along, but your body is stagnating. Climbing brings it together in a beautiful, magical way. The adrenaline is flowing, and it’s flowing all the time.” – A quote by Pat Ament