While we were looking around for things to do in Yunnan Province, we came across an outfitter owned by an American called Rock Solid Adventures. After many back and forth communications,we booked an overnight camping adventure in the foothills of the Himalayn mountains. I would totally recommend them! They were prepared, enthusiastic and patient with our group of four kids and two adults.
Our guide provided all the gear and a lot of the brawn to carry it up into the mountains. There were still sleeping bags and pads to carry, plus our own personal gear. Even the kids packed their things in!
I must say that camping and hiking in China on this trip helped me find a new appreciation for China. Not being raised in a city, I often find my day to day life vary unfamiliar to me. But finally, I was able to relax and enjoy the outdoors in in clean air, a slower pace, and just “be”.
It wasn’t too long before we were out of the village and into the mountains. We followed donkey trails for most of the way – several mines up here – looking for marble! Locals also come up here to harvest bamboo. Farther up you’ll find coffee and yaks!
Spring in Dali meant we got to see special things like fern fronds unfolding…..
While our guides got camp set up (and made sure to keep some campfire wood dry), we explored. The gorge and its breakdown was a memorable natural playground for our hiking crew. Playing here was one of the highlights of the trip!
Just before dinner time, the rain, which had been teasing us all day, arrived. In spite of it all, we had a hot dinner, warm (albeit smokey) fire, and SMORES! The kids loved it, rarely complained, and slept warm and dry in tents. It had helped that they were very tired from the big hike in! Plus, we all got to sport our rain poncho gear – mine being styled in case I find myself riding a motorcyle in the rain.
The next day, we woke up and packed up camp, then headed out – but not the way we came in. Our guide wanted to take us out via the gorge – which meant hiking/bouldering down the gorge, and the route also included two rappels through waterfalls. It was really fun and we were thankful for their experience on this trail! This part of China is so beautiful!
Finally we reached the regular path on the way out and the kids were full of stories, songs, and alive with fresh air and thrilled with being in nature. One of our kids was having a blast mimicking bird calls that he heard along the way. I, too, was at enjoying being in nature and trying my hardest to soak it all in. Since it was the first blush of spring, I found myself lagging behind the group because of my distraction with the wild flowers. The twinges of homesickness I felt were a surprise to me….oh to be in the woods in the early spring.
Here’s our brave group with Dali and tis lake in the background!
And Superboy, with a fresh camping scar on his chin, and his carefully picked bouquet that he began collecting at the top of the trail and didn’t finish until the end….