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Nu River Mekong River Trekking


Day 1 : Kunming, 1900m 每 Fugong, 1200m (overnight bus trip)
This trekking tour was organized by a Hong Kong climber, a friend of mine. All team members took a flight from Shenzhen to Kunming. It was my first time to sleep overnight in a sleeper bus for 12 hours. At first, I was not used to the bedding. Luckily, none of us smelled, which would have made things worse.


Day 2 : Fugong, 1200m 每 Gongshan 每 Dimaluo, 1860m (mini van)

I was half-awake during the 12-hour drive. The bus stopped every two hours, so the passengers could go to the toilet. As this region was very close to the border of Burma, the authority checked our passports before the permission was granted to enter this area. 

After we arrived in FuGong, we immediately boarded another minibus to continue our way to GongShan. It took a whole day on the bus before we arrived at the residence of the local guide! 

 

Day 3 : DiMaLuo, 1860m 每 Dongbalangdan Grand Pasture, 2900m
 
We started trekking after breakfast in the local guide's home. Despite the short distance, it still took us 8 hours of strenuous climbing up the steep slope to ascend 1000 meters.

The view along the way was not particular impressive . Therefore, we all focused on our climb and drank lots of water for altitude adaptation. The higher we climbed, the better the forest was preserved. Many gigantic trees seemed to be at least 200 years old. Some of them were so huge that 4 to 5 people were needed to encircle them.  

 

Day 4 : Dongbalangdan Grand Pasture, 2900m - Sewalongba Pasture, 3300m

We only climbed 400 meters today. As a result, it only took us 3 hours to reach the camp site even though the distance was longer. However, photography buffs in the team did not arrive until several hours later because they were busily taking pictures of the enchanting landscape along the way. In Autumn, the mountains were full of trees in autumn leaves and waterfalls shrouded in mist. You could find surprises around the corner at any time. It was hard to walk quickly because every moment was cherished!

This uninhabited area was a grazing land. There were a few local herdsmens' summer cabins for us to take a rest. When we passed Chijadon grazing ground in a mountain valley, the unexpectedly wide-open land was dotted with several mountain cabins and covered by various exotic trees, flowers and grass. Some cattle and horses were grazing by the lake with reflected images of trees in yellow and red leaves. The peaceful, picturesque scenery made me want to stay forever!   

We stayed in the make-shift cabin erected by our guide after it started to rain in late afternoon and fell asleep from the lulling effect of the beautiful singing of the ostlers.


Day 5 : Sewalongba Pasture, 3300m 〞 Shelalaka Pass, 4300m 〞 Duwazhachu Grazing Ground, 3400m
 
We could not see the sunrise in the morning as the mountain valley was surrounded by high peaks. At first, we passed a virgin forest where various grasses and mosses grow on old trees. When I walked on the trail covered by grass and moss, I could feel the softness of the earth through the boots.        

After the Shelalaka Pass, we had to climb a steep slope with 500 meters in elevation. At these high altitudes, trees were replaced by short shrubs. Now trekking at this altitude of over 3500 meters started to take its toll. Only through constant rests and adjustment to breathing pattern that I managed to keep on walking.

After we reached the Pass, we immediately felt the dramatic change of weather at the other side of the mountain. The side we ascended was humid and misty with dense forest. But the side we were going to descend was dry and cool with relatively little vegetation and scattering boulders. With the beautiful autumn weather and several serene lakes, the summit seemed to be basked in heavenly tranquility.  
It was a long day as the 1000-meter ascent was followed by a 1000-meter descent. Luckily, our team members were tough enough to go through this challenge!

This was our last night to camp in BiLuo Mountain. It was a lovely evening with warm temperature and clear, starry night sky. The pre-scheduled singing competition with the ostlers was cancelled due to every one being tired. Maybe next time!  


Day 6 : Duwazhachu Grazing Ground, 3400m 〞 Tsizhong, 2400m 每 FeiLai Temple, 3400m

We started our descent early as there was a long way to go and we needed to reach Feilai Temple for the overnight. As the elevation decreased, the primeval forest showed up again. Breathing the fresh air in the forest and immersing in the beauty of the nature, we went down the mountain on a high note and brimming with energy!

We saw a new big hydropower plant on our way to Feilai Temple. Due to the mountainous landscape, there are many such hydropower plants in this region. I could not help worrying about their impact and destruction on such a pristine environment.

Due to the development of hydropower, the government built a road to reach this plant. We took a shortcut, a 60-70 degrees steep trail. Thank God that it only took 1 hour to get down because it was so steep!

Later we visited Tzizhong Church, which was built in 1909 after the original church dated back to 1867 was burned down. The friendly priest showed us around this building of over 100 years old. Most of Tibetans in this area were Catholics, which are totally different from Tibetans in MeiLi Snow Mountain. This visit changed my stereotype understanding of Tibetan religion.


Day 7 : Feilai Temple, 3400m 每 Xidang, 2700m (by minibus)
 
MeiLi Snow Mountain was made famous by Feilai Temple as it can be assessed easily by car and has the best view of the mountain range in this area. It was a pity that we did not see the sunrise because of heavy fog, which rolled in frequently all through the year.

This minibus trip was unnerving because of the raging Mekong River and the treacherous mountains. Steep cliffs and falling rocks were everywhere. I could imagine the tremendous effort of the Chinese government in building this access road for the local residents.

The hot spring cabin was a big disappointment. The facilities and services were so horrible that we will never stay in this place again!


Day 8 : Xidang, 2700m 〞 Nazonglaka Pass, 3820m 〞 Upper Yubong, 3150m
 
We climbed the Nazonglaka Pass with our big backpacks from Xidang. It rained torrentially all the way. Cold, hungry and thirsty, we reached the Pass after 3 to 4 hours of strenuous effort.  

The Pass had a religious atmosphere as it was decorated with many flying banners written with Buddhist scriptures. A miracle happened - the heavy rain stopped abruptly and the whole place was basked in sunshine! The grocery store owned by local Tibetans sold us hot food and drinks; and allowed us to sit down and warm ourselves by a fire. Suddenly, I heard other team members crying out in Cantonese ※so beautiful, so beautiful, so beautiful§! A spectacular mountain landscape emerged from thick clouds in front of our very eyes. We were all very excited!

After the pass, we reached the summit. There, we enjoyed the sweeping view of far reaching mountain ranges where trees leaves changed by from green at lower elevations, to yellow, and to red at higher elevations; with permanent white snow caps at the mountain tops. This masterpiece of beauty by mother nature made me speechless. 

At night, we stayed in a log cabin owned by a young Tibetan couple. ※When we pray, we pray for world peace, not large fortune or our well-being. We can't have a peaceful life without overall harmony!§, they said. I developed more respect to Tibetan Buddhism after listening to their simple yet profound description about their faith.   


Day 9: Upper Yubong, 3150m 每 Xiaonuon Base Camp, 3600m 每 Ice Lake, 3800m 每 Upper Yubong, 3150m
 
Although we knew that the pilgrims came to Yubong to experience Buddha's blessing in the sacred waterfall, we chose to visit the base camp and the glacial lake on foot because of their popularity. It was not an easy hike because the trail leading up there was very muddy. When we were approaching the base camp, we saw many stone cairns. They were apparently stacked up by climbers to show respect to this holy mountain.

It took us two to three hours to reach the base camp from Yubong and another one hour from the base camp to the glacial lake. To our disappointment, we could not see Karwakarpo Mountain because the view was blocked by the 16 Mater Peaks!    


Day 10 : Upper Yubong, 3150m - Nazonglaka Pass, 3820m 每 Xidang, 2700m 〞 Feilai Temple, 3400m
 
When we were leaving Yubong, we met Tibetan pilgrims of various ages greeting us with ※Jaxidele,§ which means ※wish you good luck and happiness§ in Tibetan. These words were their warmest blessing!

During this trip, we heard many climbing stories about this sacred mountain. Here's one of them: 17 Chinese and Japanese mountaineers tried to climb it despite opposition by local Tibetans. The attempt ended with the death of all 17 climbers. There were many similar disasters. The lesson from these tragedies: Beware of the desecration of local people's faith when pursuing your own climbing ambitions!   


Day 11 : Feilai Temple 〞 DeQin, 3250m 〞 Kunming (by car)

It was still dark at about 6 am. We had already got up, waiting for the sunrise in MeiLi Snow Mountain. In awe, I looked at the bright star twinkling by the shoulder of Mount Karwakarpo like dazzling eyes. Later, the sacred mountain seemed to be woken up by the sun rose behind it. I considered myself blessed to be able to see the splendid holy mountain basked in golden rays.

Later in Deqin, we boarded a sleeper bus, which was parked by a white stupa. We offered pine leaves in our prayer for world peace to MeiLi Snow Mountain. Goodbye, the revered holy mountain. Please hear our prayer of global harmony and peace. 


Day 12 : Sightseeing in Kunming City
 
When I first knew that it would take 19 hours to go from Deqin to Kunming, I assumed it would be a long hard journey. When it was time to get off the bus, however, it felt like only a minute had gone by! Perhaps because it was time to bid farewell. 


Day 13 : Departure from Kunming

All the team members felt satisfied and fulfilled with this trip in Yunnan, which left us a lot of warm memories. I look forward to the next visit with them!

 

Trekking Routes:
Part 1: Dimaluo(1860m)-Dongbalangdan Grand Pasture(2900m)- Sewalongba Pasture(3200m)- Shelalaka Pass(4050m)〞Duwazhachu Grazing Ground(3300m)-TsiZhong(1600m)


Part 2: Xidang (2700m)〞Nazonglaka Pass (3820m)〞Upper Yubong (3150m)-

Xiaonuon Base Camp (3600m) 每Ice Lake (3800m)〞 Upper Yubong(3150m) 〞Nazonglaka Pass (3820m) 〞Xidang (2700m)


Supply and Gear:

Individual Gear:

- Sleeping bag rated to below 0

- Sleeping mat

- Down jacket

- Water-proof hiking boots

- Gortex jacket and pants

- Gloves

- Sun cream

- Warm hat

- Sunglasses

- Water bottle

- Cup, bowl, spoon etc

- Headlight

- Camera


Local temperature could drop to 5 degrees Celsius.


Team Supply and Gear:

-Tent

- Food for the team

- High-altitude stove & fuel

- Utensils & kitchenware

- Dining tent

- Tables & chairs


These were all carried by horses throughout the journey.


Best Months for Trekking and Temperatures:

With tropical plateau monsoon climate, Yunnan's weather changes significantly with elevation. It is said that one can experience four seasons in a single mountain in western Yunnan. The east Yunnan Plateau has mild climate with pleasant and fair weather. South Yunnan river valleys are hot and humid with no frost all year around. West Yunnan is relatively cold because of its alpine climate. At 6740 meters above the sea level, MeiLi Snow Mountain is covered in snow all year round. Under the influence of airflows from Pacific and Indian Oceans, Yunan has distinct wet and dry seasons. In July and August, the rainy season, the mountain areas are carpeted with flowers. Generally speaking, late October and November are the best months for trekking activities.


Note:

1.      Temperature changes significantly between night and day. Make sure that you keep yourself warm and take precautions against high-altitude illness.  Put on a rain coat when raining, which could happen even in a dry season.

2.      This region is inhabited by ethnic minorities and you should respect their local customs. Do not make loudly noise in the mountains. If you meet children, old and female pilgrims on a mountain trail, let them pass at the up hill side as a gesture of respect.

3.      When you encounter horses at a cliff, keep to the up hill side so you would not fall off the cliff due to their movements.


Route Information:

Virgin forest in BiLuo Snow Mountain is well preserved because there are not many human activities. The mountain is covered by flowers blooming in spring and summer. The landscape is equally splendid in autumn when the tree are in various colors due to leaves about to fall off.    


MeiLi Snow Mountain route is along the pilgrimage trail and visitors can see the breath-taking peak, a place with intense spiritual atmosphere, all along the way.

 

 

 timeㄩ2014-09-10 17:15:39

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