Saturday 01.05.10 Half Way Inn
I've had company from a chinese since Pete left me. His alarm calls at 6. But he's apparently not getting up, but he has got me awake. Well, I went to sleep a little passed 22 yesterday, so it's all right. He doesn't get up until his phone has rung long after 7, where I've already taken a shower.
We're leaving at 8.30 and it's only 10 minutes later when a yellow minibus arrives. Two israeli guys are there alredy inside. We talk and talk, Markus, Bernadette and I, I'm glad I met them. The israelis are OK too. The road goes from excellent to very bad and back again, but we arrive. We have to change to another minibus for the last couple of kilometers. It's at a bridge, the first one doesn't have authorisation to go on the other bank.
We reach the spot where it all starts. There is a description of how to find the path. 300 m to the left, then left and another 300 m. Then 2 km on a paved road. That's where the red arrows are supposed to start.
We walk about 300 m. Then comes a road that looks right and I'm on my way on it. Markus points out that the milestone at the other side of the road is missing. The other group that is some hundred meters in head of us did turn either. So we continue too. It WAS the right spot, so we waste half an hour walking in the dust from the trucks. They're constructing the road - as usual.
In the end we can see the group ahead walking to a house to ask. They turn around against us so we turn arround too and get on the right track. When we later take a break they catch up, it's a group of 8-10. While we're sitting there I examine my right boot. Sharp stones I step on find their way right up in my foot. So that I cry out.
Now I see the reason: the head of a nail. With my chinese army knife I have in a couple of minutes the thing coaxed out. One and a half cm of genuine new chinese nail. These boots have good soles!
We leave first and don't see the group together anymore.
As it's 1. of mai I've feared to walk in a line with one thousand other people
up the mountain - it's just us three.
At first we walk on general road and paths, then we get to the edge, where the bottom is far away - very far. During times quite a lot have lost their lives, but mainly under bad wheather conditions. The sun is shining, it's wonderful to be here.
It turns out as a marvellous tour. My scruples of climbing in these heights seems unfounded. I breath heavyly sometimes, but have no troubles keeping up with my young companions.
We get to a village some place not so steep, it's all in all very changing landscapes. Sometimes it's easy to pass the wooden terrain, sometimes difficult to pass the stony paths on the rock.
We reach "the 28 bends", that's where it's really steep. At some point we're resting on a natural bench on a corner. There is a magnificent view down to Yangtze's thundering waters in the distance. How far is it? Maybe up to 1 km. The outer part of the corner looks like it's coming off, there's a big crack, I don't feel quite secure, at the same time the wind rise like it's done all day from time to time. At last we get to "The Tea Horse" in a new village. We eat lunch there and are served green tea. Two german girls from the group is there already eating. They've "cheated" and used the horses, you are offered every now and then during the 28 bends. So it's not that deserted - there are money to be made.
While we're here my brother phones me. He has a habit of calling when I'm the most peculiar places. Last time I'm was in a bus in a tunnel! It's amazing we can connect those places.
Now the five of us walk on towards "The Half Way Inn". Here comes the wildest parts. The rocks rise uneven and vertical to the left and down to the right lies rocks you don't doubt where come from. It's not going to happen today, is it?
I walk quickly past the worst spots. It's now past 18 and we should have another one and a half hours left to the half way point. It fits exactly, but will there be a place to sleep?
There are two rooms left, one with a doubble bed and one with two
rather wide beds. The two german girls prefer the first and Markus and
Bernie, as she's mostly called, think 200 for the other is too much, so
we agree on sharing the room, so they sleeep in one bed and I in the
Markus started speaking croacian as a child and didn't learn german until in school, but he shows out also to be able to speak some swedish.
When we've come to bed and lie there talking among other things languages, he suddenly says: "På söndag skal min papa klippa gräsmattan", and it's perfect but sounds so funny in between all our english and german, so I have a nice long laugh.