The next morning I woke up by the noises from outside. Some people from a tour group were trying to get everyone in the guesthouse up. Outside the day was already bright but the sun was yet to be seen. I ordered my breakfast and went to the balcony. Quite a few people were waiting there. Honestly I never find sunrise exceptionally attractive. It is just a process, like making a toast with the toast machine. But since I was there on the mountain, and rays of sunlight could already been seen from the back of the cloud, I got my camera ready for it. Then my pancake with chocolate was brought to me. That was de.li.cious. After my brief enthusiasm on food I looked up again and found that the sun was already there.
The rest of the journey that morning was delightful. I ran into several cute waterfalls, and some Korean old men who kept talking to me in Korean.
By 11 am I arrive at Tina’s guesthouse, a vulnerable place among trekkers for its hospitality and great food. The room was spacious and cost 25 per night. The little girl asked if I mind sharing the room with the others and I said of course not. It was a dorm with only two beds in, the bed was cozy and sheet clean. Windows on both sides and a balcony facing the mountain, this place resembles heaven if heaven is good.
After lunch I decided to do a tour down to the river, which turned out to be one of the unforgettable journeys for me. I asked a Danish girl who had just got back from the river at lunch, about her experience at the “ladder to heaven ”—so called by the tourists referring to one part of the routes down there. She laughed and said, no it’s not ladder to heaven”, she said, “its ladder to hell”.
Well, that is good enough a reason to try. I went down by the route with the ” ladders to heaven”, to the Middle Tiger Leaping gorge and then the Lower Tiger Leaping Gorge, after that, I went up by the route with the “stair of the brave” and it was extremely exhausting–my legs were shaking after I went down, and on my way down there, there were people who were coming up and they were saying that I should take another route down , cause this one is too steep to go down, but that was at the beginning of the hiking so I wasn’t listening. But after half an hour, it became extremely difficult to go down, most of the time I was sloping down. I was covered by dust, and fear. The only thing that kept me going on was the knowledge that when I get to the bottom, there would be another route which would be easier. After two hours I reached to a big rock by the river. I was too worn-out to feel any accomplishment or to take photo. I stood on the rock, seeing the river roaring by, wondering what would be happen if I had fallen in. two minutes afterward I decided to get back.
But when I really went down and took another route up, I was so drained and the other route was not any facile at all. I check my watch, it was about six already and I thought I probably have to spend the night there-I don’t want to move an inch at all after dark, and all those shelters along the way which used to have local people selling waters were all empty by then. It was at that moment that I desperately wanted to see another human, or even a horse or goat. I suddenly realized why the human choose to live together-we just love to watch the others in the hardship as we are, and that makes us feel safer. Unfortunately I was alone all the way up until I reached the Zhang’s Guesthouse in which there was a old Naxi lady ready to point the way for me. It was really comforting in times like that. The journey afterwards was more or less like a casual walk in a park. I was on a decent road, going gradually up to the Tina’s guest house, knowing a dish of fried noodle with yak meat and as much as cold beer were waiting for me at the destination.
My roommate never came that day. At night I took a chair and sat by the door of my room. Above me were millions of twinkling eyes watching closely at what was happening on earth. I can’t remember since when I could not see such starry night anymore, not even in my desert hometown. The hostel is on half way up to the mountain, there is a road going higher on a mountain nearby. But at night, the road on the mountain hid in the darkness, When I saw a car, it was only the light of it, so what appeared to me was a car flying higher and higher under these numerous shining stars, as if among them there is a destination for the car. It was breathtakingly beautiful. And lying on the bed I hear the river flowing just as what it has been doing for thousands of years.