I got in a few last hiking trips before winter. We wanted to go back up Haituo mountain (http://china.blog.leuze.ca/2015/06/pollution-to-mount-haituo.html) but the government has closed it to hikers. There is no official explanation why but the speculation is that they want to keep everyone out while they build the Olympic facilities. And there is no notice of when, or if ever it will re-open. Here people are used to to the government making sudden changes and rulings without explaining why.
So we just hiked up the mountain out our back door. That means following the Great Canyon trail out beyond the caves that we visited in June (http://china.blog.leuze.ca/2015/06/well.html). I already had a general idea where the trail went because another hiker had given me the GPS track - so I could see it on the map. Here I am at one of the lower lookouts on the first trip (with a view of Jackson hole below):
I actually made three trips in September and October and this blog post combines them all. The first trip, Lyle and I went almost to the top but turned around early to make sure we got home before dark. The second trip it was with Ezra and Ian. Here we are at approximately the spot where Lyle and I turned back on the first trip:
Here's the panoramic vew. In the distance, through the haze is the city of Huailai (where we went to catch the train to Inner Mongolia - http://china.blog.leuze.ca/2015/10/inner-mongolia-trip.html):
Poor Ian kept asking if we are almost to the top yet. And then he asked where do we go once we get to the top. Well Ezra and I had only imagined going back down the way we came but Ian was asking if there was another way down. Sure enough, I knew from the GPS track there was another way down - so here we are at 1,775 meters starting the descent down the other side of the mountain:
It turned out going down the back side of the mountain is much quicker and easier because it ends up at a village at 1,320 meters. The third time I hiked this trail, it was with only Ezra and we planned to go down the same way but at about 1/3 of the way up I discovered my jacket had fallen out of my pack and I wanted go back to get it. We still went up to the top and on the way down we found my jacket. That was a very tiring hike, up and then all the way back down to 600 Meters.
On the second trip, down the backside of the mountain, as we got close to the village the trail got bigger and bigger until it became a road - along side cabbage fields:
and corn fields:
and a potato harvest:
And finally we arrived at the central meeting place of Yanjiaping village:
Fortunately Ian is Chinese so he could ask where we could go to have a cup of tea and call a taxi to pick us up. We ended up with a bit more than a cup of tea:
Now we weren't expecting to end up in civilization so none of us brought money with us. But Ian said "No problem I can pay by WeChat on my mobile phone". That was news to Ezra and I but now, 2 months later, I have a Chinese bank account linked into WeChat and I too could go all over China without a wallet and pay for things through my phone - even in the middle of nowhere.
Our starting point, our back door, is right about in the middle of this map: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/40.4571/115.7539&layers=C and you can see the red dotted line of the great canyon trail heading off the the left. If you keep following the trail you'll end up at Yanjiaping village: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=15/40.5318/115.7362&layers=C. From here we headed right, by taxi, along the twisty Haituo Mountain Road which is rated as one of the top 10 scenic roads in China (and the road I bicycled on to get to Haituo Mountain trail head in June).
By the way the above map links are from openstreetmap.org which is a great open source mapping site. I've mapped most of Jackson hole and entered my hiking trails by uploading the GPS tracks from my phone.
Finally, I must mention the International Holistic Centers Gathering and Conference (www.centersgathering.org) that was held here in October. This is the first time it has ever been held in Asia and it was quite an honour and privilege to be involved. I got to attend the whole week long gathering because of our friend Sean Feng who organized bringing the gathering to China this year. He wanted me there to help him represent Haiwen China and help him keep track of things. I ended up being in charge of the logistics of scheduling, meals, supplies, equipment, and technology. Here I am making room on the white board for logistics scheduling:
There was much fun, and endless amounts of food at mealtimes:
The first 5 days was basically business meeting of the centers attending. A bit of fun was mixed in like trips to the Great Wall, the nearby caves, and evening plaza dancing in Yanqing town:
The last 3 days was the conference. That is where the attending centers could present to a Chinese audience, introduce holistic centers to an emerging market. Here's Chris presenting the Process Work Institute
During the whole eight days, every morning at 7:00, Mr Liu led us in a Tai Ji practice. We learned one routine of 9 movements and demonstrated it to the conference on the last evening. Mr. Liu wanted us to look sharp so he bought us all outfits: