24 Dec Hiking In Yunnan
When the homo erectus yuanmoensis went north from the side of the Jinsha River 2 million years ago, the first group of hikers in China began to travel in Yunnan. When backpackers turned mountain in Meili Snow Mountain 2 million years later, hiking has become popular in human world. It is said that the barbecue was also invented by the homo erectus yuanmoensis, and the ashes and fish bones are evidence. Nowadays, backpackers are still keen on barbecue when hiking, but the standard equipment has been changed from walking barefoot to hiking shoes, tent, sleeping bag, GPS and other high-tech products.
Let the mind and body return to wilderness, return to the jungle, and return to the true state of nature, many people will definitely choose the simplest way to travel – hiking. However, compared with the ancestors, though the same is the physical temper, the latter has nothing to do with survival, it has been sublimed to the spiritual pursuit. The real charm of hiking is every step can be a landscape, every step can be a destination.
A lot of people have asked me how many outdoor hiking routes are there in Yunnan, though I have analyzed thoroughly from the geography, climate, customs,folk customs etc, I got a conclusion finally: the number is beyond counting. In Yunnan, we can only discuss classic routes: several routes in Dali, Lijiang and Shangri – La, the Nu River – Dulong River route, the southern Ailao Mountain route, the Xishuangbanna route through the rainforest, etc, however, even the numbers of classic hiking routes are equally uncountable, what’s more, there are so many secret territories in Yunnan, who can tell what is the real classic line?
Many of the routes are simply travelers who have walked through and sighed, there are still many other routes that across the high mountains and rivers in Yunnan. So many unparalleled routes that backpackers can’t eventually experience completely, but Yunnan people have gone them through countless times for thousands of years, for example, Bonan ancient road, Tea – Horse Ancient Road, Yongchang Ancient Road…etc.
If you don’t take into account of the migration of ethnic minorities and Han immigrants, Xu Xiake, the singular in Ming Dynasty, should be the first person that on foot in Yunnan, As a real hiker, he almost measured Yunnan on foot all the way. The thousands of kilometers of Yunnan mountain roads he walked, act as a matchmaker, connected the beauty of different places of Yunnan. This “Xiake Road” is also the first hiking road in Yunnan, it spanned the whole territory of Yunnan and completed the entire experience of mountains, lakes, caves, rivers and villages. For many years. Lots of people want to pursue his footprints to walk again along the roads, but no one has actually realized this ambition. Many backpackers called themselves hiking talents when posting online, in fact, they only finished a small part of the route.
There are several types of hiking in Yunnan. One is called Chaoshan, with the theme of hiking, climbing and worshiping around the traditional famous mountains. In the Buddhist Holy Land of Jizu Mountain In Binchuan, there are hundreds of thousands of people roll up the mountain like ant colony; in Meili Snow Mountain, whether 3-5 days of turn inside the mountains, or dozens of days’ turn outside it, there are always hikers on the rough road. In Cangshan Mountain of Dali City, the young walkers completed a hike quickly by the weekend.
The other is purely natural experience, with the mountain “crossing” as the main form. Often the outdoor teams called friends and followers online, then they gathered and went to nature with travel bags or backpacks. Such routes are concentrated in northwest Yunnan’s Hengduan Mountains and south Yunnan’s Ailao Mountains. The most popular routes including South Zhaigongfang line in Gaoligong Mountains, Dulong River line, Biluo Snow Mountain line. All these routes are difficult journey – great altitude drop, most away from the human world but closest to the natures. Besides these, there is also a camera-themed hiking route, which often concentrated in large scenic spots that with magnificent scenery. For example, the so-called Tiger Jump gorge world-class hiking route, walking half-waist in the 3000-meter drop Grand Canyon, on top of the head is the snow peak and under the feet is the running river, there are different sceneries with every step, you will become too busy to take photos.
Another similar route is Central Yunnan’s Jiaozi Snow Mountains, which is less than 200 kilometers from Kunming city, famous for winter snow and spring flowers. Well matched scenic spots nearby are so-called “a god’s palette” – Dongchuan Red Earth and “China New Zealand” – Huize Dahai Grass Hill.
In my opinion, in terms of the nature of hiking, there is no essential distinction among the hiking routes, whether it is famous or not. The physical abuse caused by high intensity of walking is also the source of the pleasure of hiking itself. This is also the charms of hiking: just walk with your heart, whenever and wherever. In fact, only foot walking can realize the so-called “go on a trip at will” immediately.
In the course of many years’ of hiking, there are two experiences that can prove this view: One is the Haba Snow Mountain, 700 kilometers away from Kunming, it will takes a whole day on the road. The whole trip will pass through waterfalls, mountain lakes, cuckoo jungles, the profusion of wild flowers and meadow…etc, the guide reminded that we may also encounter wild animals such as black bears, monkeys. It needs about three or four days to cross, every campsite on the way is a beautiful resort, but takes a lot of physical effort to get there. Once, we, a team of five people, went to and camped at Heihai lake side- a mountain lake that at an altitude of 4000 meters, we lit a bonfire in the night and told ghost stories around the fire pond, in the extreme exhaustion, all ghost stories became warm and touching jokes at that time.
Another time was about the Snake Mountain(on the outskirts of Kunming), several people sit together and drank tea after dinner, suddenly someone proposed to climb the Snake Mountain in the night, we packed up the travel bags quickly and went up in the dark, one hour later we arrived at the top of the mountain, in an instant, the superb prospect view of the night of Kunming opened below us, far away from din and bustle, we stood there quietly, the distance between body and heart was so close and so far away at that time.
Tips: Minimize the equipment and materials as much as possible, shoes are important, walking shoes or sneakers are recommended according to route, quickly dry and breathable clothing, necessary food(proper quantity and easy to carry), backpack or travel bag, tourist brochure, optional equipment including medicine, rain gear…etc.