We are continuing our little diary series of Iva, the hiker from Australia, walking the same route, which British journalist Dingle traveled over 100 years ago. This third chapter covers the second half of June, in which she had passed Kunming and also finally dropped by our office.
Continued to follow the old S209 most of the way to Gongshanzhen. I didn't realize how high I had walked until I got to the pass and looked back towards Dongschuan. Pine forest on the top and heaps of mushrooms. Got a glimpse of local embroidery. Very tired after walking 31km, mainly up hill.
The valley heading south from Gongshanzhen was every shade of green imaginable. Rice fields and the low lying hills were terraced mainly with rice. Road G213 was one big construction site so lots of dust from trucks. Walking was a bit difficult because of the loose, sharp bluestone that cut into my shoes. Road X084 to Xundian was wonderful and there was quite a nice pine forest at the top of the hill for a rest. A number of people up there mushroom hunting.
A rather big surprise today. The walk from Tanzizhen to Niujiangzhen was very uneventful. Lots of little towns, lots of buildings along the highway, which you would expect being this close to Kunming. Got rejected by the first hotel I went to (first time this has happened) so went to the only other hotel in town. All well until I was told to go to the police station (also a first). Police had no idea what to do with me, so bundled me into the police car and took me to the Ramada Golf Resort. The staff were slightly surprised and amused when a rather scruffy foreigner hopped out of the car with two policemen and a man from SWAT. "People usually drive themselves up from Kunming" I was told. So I am staying in a rather fancy room overlooking the mountains. Much better than my 20 yuan room last night!
A very short and wet walk to Yanglinzhen following the back roads, looking like The Green Pea in my poncho and resulting in my walking around in circles for a little while until I found my way to the main part of town. Funny getting a bit lost considering how far I have walked....but it was also hard reading my map in the rain! No problem getting a hotel today.
My rest days in Kunming have come to an end. Had a great time drinking cappuccinos, exploring corners of the city, catching up with friends (hello Joy and Wooda) and generally relaxing. One final caffine and muffin fix on my way out of the city tomorrow morning as I make my way to Dali.
The weather made up for the rather mundane walk from Kunming to Taipingzhen. Just the right temperature, sunny skies with an occasional cloud to give shade. Very luckily, the old G320 still exists which made a convenient bike, scooter and walking path away from the main road. Taipingzhen a lovely area nestled in the surrounding hills. Loved the turkey and dog.
There was not much to see between Taipingzhen and Anning although I took the smaller back roads: factories, industrial sites, apartment developments and land clearing for even more roads and buildings. Anning itself is nice. Lots of streets lined with trees, parks, a river. People singing, dancing, playing cards and checkers in One Hundred Flowers Lake park.
The road to Tuguanzhen followed a valley bordered by hills on both sides and full of grapes, orchards, corn, green houses with salads. Very productive area. Tuguanzhen is basically a hotel and food stop at the entrance to the expressway. Heading into the hills tomorrow.
A long walk today to Lufeng (34 km) passing through some lovely mountains. Explored an old temple. Discovered I was in dinosaur land. Dropped over 400m in elevation. Appears that a lot of tree planting has occurred over the years - interesting to see eucaplytus trees. Dingle had mentioned a lack of trees. Rice, corn and lotus fields. Got caught in a hugh rainstorm...luckily lasted only about 15 minutes. Sheltered in a shop full of babies.
To be continued soon...
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