While Iva finished her personal 'Across China on Foot' on August 9th after a total of 1635 km, we today publish her walking route in the Chuxiong area, which she passed in the first half of July, leading her to Dali, "a great road for singing and kicking stones".
Wow...forget dinosaur land. This is mushroom land. I come from a family of mushroom collectors and I have never seen such a range of wild mushrooms, let alone the size. One of the best walks I have had. Totally in the tree covered mountains following a river. I again followed the old G320 so stayed away from the trucks. Only glitch was two bridges under construction so I had to scramble down a couple of ravines to get to the other side. The skies totally opened up at one stage. Lots of birds in the forest..I saw at least three different types of finches. Saw a fledging looking lonely in a rock. Passed a small village before getting to Yipinglangzhen.
One must take the bad with the good. The bad: the first four kilometres of road from Canglingzhen to Chuxiong was a brown stretch of fine, powdery dust with trucks going too fast. I was a dust ball when I finally reached the paved section. Not an interesting stretch of road.....train tracks on one side and expressway on the other. Did like the frescoes I saw on the buildings. The good: having chicken nuggets, a cappacino and chocolate cake. Rest day tomorrow.
Most of G320 to Lvhezhen was under construction and with last night's storm and rain today, I was a mudball. None of us walking on the road appreciated the van that drove too fast and splattered us with mud.
Gary....couldn't decide which rock you would like so didn't put any into my pack. Sorry.
Lvhezhen an interesting village.
Nothing to complain about today. Paved road, sunshine, very few trucks so very little dust. Visited the pagoda in the park just outside of Nanhua. The 18 km walk to Shaqiaozhen passed a few factories making clay tiles, went up and down wooded hills and through small villages. I very much liked the fresco with the lady carrying baskets of mushrooms.
A great start to the day. The first time I have woken up to blue skies in weeks. How lucky. For some reason, the locals were totally amused this morning with my trying to speak Chinese. Whatever I said was repeated by all with a chuckle and a smile at the end. It was all uphill yesterday and all downhill today to Xiazhuangzhen along a very windy road. Lovely smelling pine forests. Big wind farms on the tops of the hills. Some of the hills are badly eroded but tree planting was evident. Construction on the road going on, as usual.
What started out as a very hot, tedious walk along road G320 to Xiachengzhen turned into a fabulous afternoon as I had decided to take a side road. Most of the time I was in small villages surrounded by corn and more corn. By chance, three young ladies on a motorbike stopped to talk to me just outside of town. Thank you Ping Yan Ling, DuJuan and Zhangxue for taking me to the tea house, dinner in one of the old buildings and to the hotel. I greatly appreciated your kindness.
The first five kilometres of the road out of Xiangchengzhen to Hongyan had a ghostly feel as the hills and trees were covered by a fine, white dust. This was due to the saws and grinders being used to make crypts which lined both sides of the road. Once I was out of that little valley, the walking was bliss: good road, hills covered with pine trees, virtually no traffic, clouds of dragonflies and the odd butterfly. It was me, the cows and a couple of guys biking to Tibet. A great road for singing and kicking stones. One village had a very impressive fig tree and I enjoyed a rest while eating my ice block. Once I got close to Hongyan, I saw the mountains that separate me from Dali. These are tomorrow's challenge.
It was nice leaving the hot valley in which Hongyan was located and move into the cooler air of the mountains to Dali. The road to the pass was not steep, but it was a long uphill walk. Passed a very nice village on the side of the mountain and an older looking temple. Once over the mountains, I took a local bus from the expressway interchange to the business section of Dali...and glad I did as the road into Dali was a 10 lane strip of cement.
To be continued soon...
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