Trekking Wenhai

8 October 2009

We were picked up at 9am by Kerry, after another wonderful breakfast
at Tea Boutique (for whatever reason this morning they brought up
breakfast to the table on the deck overlooking the old city). Driven
for 30 minutes to Baisha village, we started our trek up and over the
mountain. Starting from 2400 meters we rose to 3100 meters (a climb of
2100 feet). Needless to say, we were exhausted from the altitude and
lower oxygen levels. Along the way we learned that Kerry was 21 and
had been guiding for a year. The tour company (which is not affiliated
with Avia Travel – the agency that had arranged most of our trip) she
belonged to was very small with only 3 guides.

As we reached the summit, the air became colder and became increasing
colder as we headed down toward lake Wenhai. We circled the lake
walking past many farms, grazing pigs, donkeys, horses, cows, and
dogs. Our destination was a house for a Taiwanese citizen, which
serves as a hotel when he is not here. We were supposed to stay at the
ecolodge but currently it is in disrepair; however, Kerry's company
had bought it and plan to fix it up. We took a look at it later in the
afternoon and it appears to have great potential.

Lunch was cooked for us by a local villager and consisted of eggplant,
corn, scrambled eggs and tomatoes, chicken and veggies, and rice. It
was absolutely delicious and a welcomed meal after our 3 hour 45
minute hike. Kerry says the hike usually takes between 3 and 5 hours,
so we were rather surprised to be at the faster end of the spectrum.

After lunch we took a nap and then went exploring. Scotty's rain luck
had a momentary lapse and it started to rain a bit. However, as usual
when it rains for Scott it results in good opportunities. We ran to a
farm and huddled underneath a ledge. The owner, who is the brother of
the woman who cooked for us, invited us into his lodge and showed us
around. He had a cool old stove. We also saw a strange animal head
mounted on his wall. It appeared to be a deer but it had huge front
fangs … a weredeer perhaps?? Hua had shot it in the mountains. I
managed to do some very rudimentary conversation with Hua (at least I
think that was his name), who's primarily language is actually Naxi
but he could speak some Mandarin as well. It probably worked out for
the better anyway because he spoke very simply. After the rain had
passed he showed us his puppies and pigs. Later on the evening we came
back to watch him feed the animals. He threw in a bunch of slop to the
pigs who came running out of their pen and scared Scott. They enjoyed
their meal immensely, snorting and squealing. He also fed the puppies
and dogs and chickens.

We watched cartoons and soap operas with Kerry who translated for us.
The cartoon involved a bunch of wolves who were always trying to eat a
village of sheep. It was kinda like the Roadrunner and Coyote
cartoons. It was pretty funny and easy to follow even without
understanding the language. We were then served dinner, which was the
almost the same as lunch but featured a mushroom and seaweed dish that
I loved and Scotty ate cautiously.

After dinner we took a quick shower and nearly froze to death trying
to get into pajamas. We also made the wonderful discovery of an
electric blanket in our bed! Tomorrow we hike 4-5 hours to Lashi Lake
where we will stay with a Naxi family.