No walk in the park, but worth doing! Days 275-283
9 months we are already on the road. We use this to warmly thank all the dear people, who kindly supported and helped us before and during our journey! 🙏
On a small side road we cycle the last kilometers through the blooming landscape to Lijiang. In Lijiang we have a picnic in a park. Even in this touristy town Lijiang we check into a cheap, new hotel for 40 yuan (6.-sFr.).
We visit the old town of Lijiang, enjoy the beautiful view over the rooftops and dive once again into the bustling market. In the evening we meet Guy and Kamilla, the cycling couple from the USA and we have a very exciting exchange.
After two days of rest in Lijiang we cycle in nice, but very windy weather, off in the direction of the Leaping Gorge. We choose the way through the snow mountain national park. At the entrance to the park they charge 100 yuan (15.-sFr.) per person. Fortunately, Judith remembers the blog from a German cycling couple ride-worlwide.com that they did not have to pay. We also manage to convince the guards that we only cycle through without visiting the park and can cycle for free through the park. The landscape with the larches resembles the Engadin. The scenery with the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is beautiful and we roll over the highest pass on our trip 3200m asl. There are a lot of cars filled with Chinese tourists who go to play golf, to take pictures with the yaks or to the gondola. Some even carry an oxygen bottle. Especially at the lake with the yaks, we can only shake our heads over the scenery.
The second ascent has it, as a cobblestone road leads up to the top. We destroy some height meters until we then set up our tent on 2900m asl. The campfire warms us and a worried Chinese admonishes us that we also need to extinguish the fire well. It is very dry.
Andi is plagued with diarrhea and so we are glad that the next day we have a 1700m downhill. The view of the third longest river in the world Yatze is unique! On the terrace fields, the grain is being harvested, mostly tied by hand to sheaves. The ferry takes us in Daju to the other side for 50 yuan (7.50 sfr.). The wind whips through the Tiger leaping gorge straight into our face, while we fight up the partly sandy gravel road.
Andi does not feel fit and so we cycle to a lookout point in the Tiger leaping gorge and then turn towards Shangrila.
We rest for one day so that Andi can regain his strength. Meanwhile, Kamilla and Guy have arrived. Our paths separate again. We drive without luggage only briefly to the viewpoint in the gorge. Without luggage, it drives quickly and we fly past the ticket booth. This we notice only when someone calls us from the old inconspicuous cottage. Later we are stopped by two security men who want to see our ticket, which costs 65yuan (9.-sFr.) per person. We explain to them that we did not see a sign and that we do not want to go hiking and only want to drink tea in the Guesthouse. This is okay for them and we enjoy the view into the canyon while we eat a Naxi bread. This is a flatbread, which is baked in the pan.
Then we roll back to our hostel and with luggage we climp the winding road and enjoy the sensational view just before Haba on the beautiful terrace fields. In the cozy living room of the guesthouse, the owner cooks us a fine dinner. Andi’s belly still rumbles a bit, making the hard climbs even more exhausting.
In Dugou we visit the white terraces. The natural are very beautiful, but further down artificial terraces are being built. We can only shake our heads.
In San Ban we find a good shop with lots of vegetables and fruits to our delight. However, the infrastructure here at this altitude and in the small villages is usually poor.
We camp at 2800m asl and wrap ourselves warmly in the sleeping bag. It is very cold and the wind is blowing around the tent. Brrrrr! In the morning we are grateful for the warming sun and we bravely crank up the further altitude of today’s stage. It goes over 3600m asl! The beautiful view rewards us once more. Shortly before the last pass of 3700asl to Shangrila we camp on 3300m asl at a bus stop right next to the road. We did not find any other flat place and we were just too exhausted to ride even further and we did not want to stay even higher up! The night was cold again. In addition, Judith’s six-year-old Exped-sleeping mattress is now broken too! It has opened a bladder at the dumbest moment! So it was not a restful sleep.
Fortunately, in the morning we are greeted by the warming sun and we cycle the last few meters up to the highest pass of our travels 3700m asl. The air is thinner, the grass drought and the firs smaller. The next valley is barren than the one before. Yaks, horses, goats and pigs graze in meager meadows. The villages look abandoned.
The state farmhouses are partially decayed and some are newly renovated. Our food supply is gone and our stomach growls. Once again there is no restaurant and in a shop there are only sweets and noodle soup. We cycle on and hope to find a restaurant. We stop just before Shangrila. We eat very fine, but it has never been so expensive! So surprised and shocked by this high price we can do nothing but pay and in the future be more careful and ask in advance.
In Shangrila the hotel search becomes an odyssey! Since we need a hotel for the extension of the visa with permission for foreigners. We rattle off all the hotels that would gladly accommodate us and suit us, but it always turned out that they can not register us because they do not have the permit. Finally, we find one, which is just more four times more expensive.
Max elevation: 3703 m
Min elevation: 1612 m
Total climbing: 6023 m
Total descent: -5056 m