Shitoucheng and Lugu Lake - Whistling Arrow

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Shitoucheng and Lugu Lake - Whistling Arrow

Day 3: Monday May 28 th 2012After breakfast, we will hike down the valley for an hour to the stone village of Shitoucheng perched precariouslyabove a narrow gorge. It is here in 1253 that the army of Kublai Khan crossed the Yangste River on inflatedsheepskins and established a garrison, the walls of which can still be seen today. The views along the valley andup the towering mountain side are spectacular. We will spend the morning exploring the cobblestoned alleywaysand the traditional courtyard homes of the Naxi.After lunch we will begin the gradual ascent along the precipitous valley. The path continues through untouched,ancient villages. Old Naxi women amble along in their sky blue aprons while pigs and chickens roam freelythrough the narrow streets. The views from the ridge offer panoramic views in both directions down the valley.Shitoucheng and the other small villages cling to the steep gorge while mountain peaks tower above.After two and a half hours we arrive at the photogenic village of Rashourou. Sitting at the base of the massiverock face and surrounded by emerald rice terraces and walnut trees it is a beautiful spot to wander around andexperience a rural way of life unchanged in centuries. Here we will sleep for the night in a local farmhouse._________________________________________________________________________________________Day 4: Tuesday May 29 th 2012Today we will hike for five to six hours through stunning mountain scenery. Hiking up the magnificent gorge wewill arrive at the first of two tunnels that were blasted through the rock in the 1960’s. Sixty and ninety metres longrespectively, the herculean feat took the local villagers three years to complete. The precipitous pathway isspectacular with vertical drop-offs that help to concentrate the mind.After emerging from the tunnels the route levels out again through lovely pine forest. The more gradual gradientsand fresh mountain air allow for a more contemplative, relaxed hiking rhythm before we arrive in the Naxi villageof Liu Qing. Again we will stay in a hospitable, local farmhouse and have dinner with the host family around theglowing fireplace._________________________________________________________________________________________Day 5: Wednesday May 30 th 2012After breakfast we will jump in a van and drive for two to three hours through the Yangste River valley and crossthe mighty river itself. Eventually the river will be dammed further upstream which will result in a colossal volumeof water forging through the gorge.We will rejoin the path along a recently scouted and unique route through a remote side valley. Green riceterracing hugs the small stream while either side the gorge rises dramatically and we follow it, climbing higher,until we reach a pass at approximately 3000m. The views back towards the Yangste valley are unforgettable. The

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