To Your Heart's Content

Friday, December 16, 2005


I took one of the most adventurous hiking and camping trips of my life in May of this year with some good friends Erika, Igor, and Maxim here in China. We went to ShenNongJia in western Hubei province--considered the last wild and rugged frontier of China. That is, old-growth forests, waterfalls galore, the purest water in China, and the only place in Asia infamous for sitings of the Yeti/Sasquatch! At one point I felt like Gordie in "Stand By Me" due to the amount of leaches we encountered in some uncool places on our last day before we made it to the village. Below is an excerpt of what I wrote about the trip. Here's a link to some highlight pics

"The following day would lead us on an unforgettable trip, full of adventure, pain, laughs, extremes, wild scenery, pure mountain water, waterfalls, and our favorite: the unknown....

"The following day, after having rendered the policeman and ourselves quite belligerent, we parted at about 10am (originally it was supposed to be six to avoid the police but these were plans made while drinking which inevitably are never realized). Funny, we ventured out without any definite plans and with one of the worst maps any of us had ever used! We couldn't find one decent map for this place. Well, we had a general idea of our location, where the rivers were as well as the villages and we knew that we did not want to follow the paved road. So off we left down the road, amongst cars, horns, and "hello!"s. Igor and I especially were going insane and about after an hour we saw a very small, almost hidden trail that led down into a deep, dark, green valley with a river. We made sure that it was indeed a trail and while doing so the police came, stopped us and asked to see our tickets to the park. Then they asked us where we were going and we told them to the next village down the road. They left, and we got the hell out of there, practically running down the trail before they came back. Well, the trail came to an end, just disappeared, but we continued anyways, believing that if we follow the river at the bottom we will eventually come to a village. The next three hours were spent descending into this steep valley, slipping, sliding, battling trees and plants, and sometimes stopping to rest. We were now fully in nature, without any final destination, with no plans for the evening, or even the next six days. We had enough supplies to live for at least a week and enough stamina to stay forever. Freedom. After this we wouldn't see even one other person for four days. "


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