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Sunday, December 09, 2007
Sichuan Trip part 5 -vvv

Day 5: 13 Nov 2007

We rented 5 horses - 4 for people and 1 for my father’s bulky camera equipment. I got the horse with the lousiest saddle. It was practically a blanket over a metal frame. Fortunately, I had already acquired iron butt skill from those night cycling trips back home. The horse didn’t give me much trouble but it did have a habit of stopping now and then. To get it moving, all I had to do was make a “ch” sound. This I learnt from observing the local guides.

The Haizigou trail was the only one of the three valleys that offered a clear view of all the four peaks that form Siguniangshan, the Four Girls Mountain. Oddly, the big sister is the smallest and most accessible peak while the fourth sister is the highest and steepest peak. This trail is difficult because it is along the slopes of the mountain rather than at the bottom of the valley like the previous two trails. In addition, many parts of the trail were dangerously narrow, not unlike parts of Huangshan that I had seen. One false step would result in a long tumble down the mountain side to certain death. It can be quite unnerving, especially when you are further elevated on horseback. But after witnessing my horse walk down an impossible slope in the morning, I was convinced it was at least as sure-footed as I was, if not more so.

Even on horse back, it took us half a day to reach Dahaizi (Big Lake), the first of a series of alpine lakes. Dahaizi was not particularly impressive. Supposedly, the further into the valley, the more beautiful the lakes are. Regrettably, we ran out of time and had to turn back.

Instead of going all the way back to Rilong town, I decided to stay on the ridge to photograph the mountain during sunset. My family returned to Rilong with the horses and guides while I waited alone for that perfect photographic moment. I figured I was about 3km from the town and that the time between sunset and total darkness should be sufficient for me to make it back to town. Moreover, I carried a couple of glowsticks with me just in case.

As expected, the setting sun covered the mountain in a fiery hue. It was absolutely worth the wait. I must have used almost an entire roll of film in those 30 minutes. The trip back to town took only 40min but it got dark a lot faster than I expected. Near the end, I could barely see the rocks on the dirt path.

Sansao was away that evening so dinner was prepared by her daughter, Yang Qing. I found out that the tofu delivery guy just came today (only comes once in a few days), so I tried to order mapo tofu but she didn’t know how to cook that. We finally settled with something she could cook. The food was pretty good, rather impressive for a 16-year-old. Strangely, she didn’t know how to turn on the hot water when we requested it. You would think cooking is a more complicated task. Anyway, despite being covered by all the sand from the horse ride, we couldn’t shower that night.

We made arrangements for tomorrow’s transport to Danba. The driver for the past few days was unavailable so we had to make do with another guy. It was difficult communicating with this guy and I didn’t like his attitude. That’s a long story for another time.

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Yiheng made
3:38 PM


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Sichuan Trip part 4 -vvv

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Guess where I'm going -vvv

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