Sorry for not writing that much lately. As I wrote a few days ago, I was feeling extra tired.
On Friday (1st) I woke up with a sore throat and feeling a bit groggy as we say in Norwegian, but pushed on. This was the Chinese National Day. I saw some fireworks and most of the buses heading into the countryside were packed full, whilst the ones going to towns were almost empty. Apart from the fireworks, there wasn’t that much celebration going on. They had their big 60th year celebration last year.
After eating food at a nice place, I started the ascent to the Xiangshan mountains. (shan = mountain in Chinese) I had the Great Wall to the south of me, but often I could not see it as it was a pretty misty day. I walked as far as I could on a small road and then got ambushed by locals wanting to sell me food, special drinks, donkey rides, fireworks and incense. I thanked no to everything including the donkey ride.
I had made a few marks on my GPS for a possible route through the mountains, and wanted to get as far as possible before it got dark. The forecast said rain all night and then into the next day, so I wanted a good starting point to get through the mountains.
The area was very steep and had beautiful sheer cliffs and waterfalls. After a while I sat down, talking to some of the locals hiring donkey rides. I got out the map, pointed and asking them “hui zou ma?” – can I walk/ get through and they nodded. The map showed I had to enter a steep valley. All I saw were some stairs made for tourists leading up the side of a waterfall, so I started climbing on the back side to find the valley. By the time I got high up, I could look down at the valley which was indeed where the touristy stairs led to. The cliffs were so steep however, that on my map it looked like I was in the valley far beneath me.
It was getting dark and cold by this time, and I set up my tent expecting rain during the night. Although the tent was set up in good shelter, the wind kept hammering it like mad. I went out later to fasten all the corners to keep it down. During the night I ran a very high temperature and slept little.
Saturday (2nd) woke up to hard rain a very sore throat and a runny nose. Great… Stayed in the tent all day long. Went out once to take a leak.
Today – froze during most of the night. The sleeping bag was very humid due to the rain and misty conditions. Nose running. The inner tent had loosened from the outer tent at one corner due to the hard wind. I was getting very low on food although I had plenty to drink. It was cold!! Looking at the route, I saw I had to pass about 1200 meters above sea level to get to the other side. It was still raining, although not so heavy. I wanted to get through, but considering that quite a few things were going against me, I decided to head back to Qinhuangdao and warm up, eat and get better. I had only two small sausages left, a tent that was damaged, a pretty bad cold. If I had continued, I could have hit rain and hard wind at 1200 meters above sea level without any food in my stomach. Not a particularly good combination.
On my way down, I talked to the “Donkey boys”, and they were happy to see me. I told them I would be back in a few days time.
A big thanks to a very friendly bus driver and his two friends who were leading some Chinese tourists to the site I had been to, for driving a tired, sick and cold ‘way guo ren’ back to Qinhuangdao. Thanks!!!
A big thanks to my brother Jon also for ‘switching’ the month on the Pictures from China website. Takker Jon!!!