Well done, Iva!. We congratulate you on finishing your amazing trip across China on foot! After walking over 1,600 km with a 30 pounds backpack, we today publish the last episode of the long-distance walk, following Dingle's footsteps from Tengchong to Yingjiang at Daying River, close to the Myanmar border (August 2016). We are now looking forward to her book about this adventure and of course to her return to Yunnan next summer!
Arrived in Tengchong today which took me three days from Lujian. I took road X197 as this seemed to be the closest to the route taken by Dingle. I discovered that this road is also the Burma Road. First day was leaving the Nu River valley loaded with fruit and walking up into the Gaoligong Mountains. I stayed in a farmhouse my first night - no electricity but a very nice meal cooked over an open fire. I finally reached the pass at 2413 m the next day and then started the descent into the Longjiang River valley through some magnificent rain forest. I had one more set of mountains to cross today before I finally got to Tengchong. Tomorrow is a rest day as my feet are tired after three days of cobblestones. Then, I will head south to Yingjiang where I will cross the Daying River in about four days' time. This crossing will mark the end of my China journey.
I spent the last two days as a guest in Mu Lu's guesthouse which was a very short 12 km walk outside of Tengchong. I was given the opportunity yesterday to visit the ecological park at Diantanzhen, about 50 km north of Tengchong. The village sits in a bowl surrounded by mountains. The two highlights were the water wheel and the ladder made of swords which gets climbed during festivals. Thank you Mu Lu, Su Wei, Liu Gang and Gong Chao Lo for sharing so much with me. Tomorrow I start walking again.
It was a short, but wet walk to Lianghe. The valley is lined with mountains, but you could not see them because of the clouds. The river was swollen because of all the rain. Lots of rice and lotus root paddies. Big purple grapes are ripe and there are many stalls selling grapes along the road way. Viewed a number of Buddhist temples along the way. A small village to the north of Lianghe had quite a number of older, traditional houses.
Dingle did not describe the Nandi River valley, only that he did not have to walk over more mountains. The valley to Jiuchenzhen is beautiful, lined with some high, densely forested mountains. The valley is mainly planted with rice which is beginning to ripen although corn can be seen on the hills. The road passes through a rather deep gorge at one point and there were a number of rock and land slides in this area which partially covered the road. Traffic was total chaos. Lots of durians for sale. I can tell I am getting closer to the tropics: it is getting hotter and more humid, and the women are wearing sarongs.
My crossing of the Daying River today marks the last day of my journey across China following the route of Edwin Dingle. I started in Shanghai, travelling to Chongqing by train and ferry. I then walked over 1,600 kilometres from Chongqing to Yingjiang through sunshine, rain, heat, mud and dust. I can now recognize the different types of trucks on the road by the sound of their engines. I passed through lush, fertile valleys and over densely forested mountains, and walked along roads seeped in history. However, what really made my journey was the people I met along the way - some which I now count as friends. I cannot express my admiration and appreciation for the hospitality, generosity and kindness given to me. I can only say from the bottom of my heart - thank you.
Epilogue: My original intention was to cross the Taiping River near the border of Myanmar as this seems to be what Dingle did. However, I could not walk because there were no villages with accommodation. However, with the help of Mu Lu and the driving skills of her friends, I was able to get to Hutiao Stone on road X055 where the bridge crossed the Taiping River. My journey through China is now truly complete.
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