Monday, March 21, 2016

Yading Big Kora preparations

I'm due to be landing in Daocheng around the 12th of June, flying in from Chengdu. This is a first for me as I've usually taken the bus in via Kangding and Litang. But with limited time, I'm hoping I will not be too much affected by the sudden arrival at altitude.
My other concern is finding a guide to help me round the mountain. I don't actually need a guide - I know the way pretty well by now ... but to help my carry my gear and provide protection. I hope I can find somebody good - not like the clowns we hired last time, who didn't know the way beyond the second day and didn't bring tents or sleeping bags. It's hard to find guides in May/June because it's the caterpillar fungus collecting season. The locals can make more money from chongcao than from guiding. Maybe I will just have to go it alone - which is a bit of an ask at my age. Ah well, we shall see.
It's been five years since my last trip and I hope there haven't been too many other ugly developments around the Yading site. Last time I was shocked to find that an eyesore of a concrete  road had been laid all the way up tranquil Luorong pasture to accomodate the electric golf buggy-style tourist transport carriers. With a bit of luck there still won't be any of the hordes beyond the 5000 first pass.
The picture above shows the stone 'bothy' above Luorong at the beginning of the ascent  to the first pass. This is intended to be my first night's stay.

UPDATE: I corrected this post to show that I'll be trekking in June, not July. The rainy season starts in mid June - by July it will be overcast and wet at Yading - not good for trekking.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Why did Joseph Rock lead such a solitary life?

It's often said that Joseph Rock was an eccentric. He was an irascible man who lived alone in the wilds of China. He never married and seemed to have few real friends. I've sometimes wondered what made him choose that kind of life - especially given he was an accomplished botanist who could have led a life of the well-regarded expert in the US. Was he a repressed homosexual or a tortured soul who never recovered from his strict Catholic upbringing? I don't think so.
Perhaps this musing from his diaries may explain what really motivated him: