Shitoucheng and Lugu Lake - Whistling Arrow

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Shitoucheng and Lugu Lake - Whistling Arrow

‣ Setting the sceneThe trek from Shitoucheng stone village to Lugu Lake, offers a remarkable glimpse into a part of Western Chinaseldom visited by travelers. The recently opened route through the Himalayan foothills of Northern Yunnan is bothwild and remote. The six day trek undulates through untouched forests strewn with acorns and pine bark,dramatic river gorges hemmed in by high mountains and hidden valleys dramatically sculptured with rice terraces.Here the quaint rural villages are largely cut off from the modern world and home to traditional Naxi and Pumifarmhouses.The adventure begins close to the ancient stone town of Shitoucheng, precariously perched above the steepYangste River gorge. The scenery is beautiful and varied and is walkable for most of the year. There is also afascinating mix of minority groups en route. The cultural melting pot includes the sky blue aprons of the Naximatriarchs and the pleated rainbow skirts of the pipe smoking Yi. Perhaps, most intriguing of all, are the Musuo,and their enduring tradition of “walking” marriages. The women open their doors to their lovers every evening,and the men walk home to work in their mother’s household at dawn.The trek finishes in the Musuo heartland, near the tranquil shores of Lugu Lake which lies on the border betweenYunnan and Sichuan. This is a perfect spot to put your feet up and relax while reflecting on a corner of China thatis real, honest and undiluted by the passage of time. Some additional images can also be viewed at:http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.277776098934978.67237.192207107491878&type=3‣ Experience required and flightsThe altitude and daily distances involved on the trek are a little challenging but well within the capability of mostreasonablly fit people. The majority of the gear will be carried by pack ponies.Of more importance than physical stamina is a real appetite for adventure. This trek takes you well off the beatentrack to remote, unspoilt corners of Northern Yunnan. The families and farmhouses in which we stay areincredibly hospitable but basic. Most evenings there will be a proper bed to sleep in with warm blankets but veryoccasionally we may need to sleep on the floor in sleeping bags. On three of the evenings it will also be difficult tohave a proper shower and we will have to make do with a basin to wash our faces and clean our teeth. Toiletfacilities are rudimentary. For dinner we will largely eat what the locals eat, tasty traditional cooking. Lunches aretypically fruit, walnuts, Naxi baba (a delicious local bread) , boiled eggs and various cakes and biscuits that wecan provision from the local villages.Flights for most travellers will be via Kunming to which there are daily flights from many Asian destinations. Thereare several daily connecting flights from Kunming to Lijiang where the trip begins and ends.‣ The bottom linePricing depends on the numbers in a specific group but will work out at approximately US 2000 – 2400 pp.

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