Changshan

Nicholas Quirke was in adventurous spirit on 3 September 2020 and planned to tackle Changshan Mountains he could see the range from his hotel and the clouds that seemed to continuously hover at its peaks gave them a sense of mystery. To delve deeper into the enigma of the hidden 4000 metre summit he was going to have to take a cable car and after breakfast he embarked in tee shirt and shorts on the hot summer day to enjoy the mountain. He was a little alarmed by the steep 300 yuan cost but he felt it would be worth it though as he climbed into the cart to get to the entrance to the cable car he had his first indication that he might be a little unprepared when he spotted some people with coats. When he was queuing to get onto the cable car and he noticed people were hiring thick coats and buying oxygen tanks was he still felt it was stuff and nonsense, English and made of sterner stuff. There was some problem at the entrance as he only had one ticket and they were not going to let him on but with the aid of a young woman who could speak English he was given access and he began the ride to the summit. There were two parts to the cable car ride and as the climb got steeper the view was more and more dramatic and when his ears popped as they were nearing final station he started to wonder about his blaze attitude to the altitude. It was cold. The scene was engulfed in mist and as he moved to the steps to start climbing up to the highest point he started to feel the biting wind and even felt a belittle dizzy. Thankfully there was a place to hire coats and so he indicated he wanted a coat and oxygen. He got his coat, not the oxygen and so went on his way. The landscape was utterly mystical in the mists. The trees and green shrubbery were haunting then dazzling in the patches of sun when it emerged and he could not get over the range of vegetation that survived in the high and clearly harsh environment. At 3920m he was stopped and asked to have his photo taken, as he climbed higher and found himself getting short of breath and made the effort to breathe deeply and slowly, he was asked for his photograph and when he finally reached the highest point they could go, 3960m he was asked for his photo. It was disappointing that the path stopped there and they could go no further. He was dismayed that he did not see any of the extraordinary wildlife that populated the mountains, from Brown bears to tigers but even this disappointment did not detract from the exhilaration the scenery and the altitude gave him. On the descent he was delighted to make the acquaintance of Angus and Betsy whose command of English was excellent and they realised they had actual lay encountered each other the day before in a coffee shop where they had cooed together briefly over a dog , within minutes they were friends and arranging to move onto the next location together. Anlu had made a time lapse video with her GoPro which she kindly gave Nicholas the right to use. They walked to the old city where to his astonishment he discovered it was 16.30pm, he had been on the go since 10 and as he hadn’t eaten they had some tea and coffee and some had some snacks. All good things come to end and he had to get to a shop which was not in their direction to buy some cake for Peng. It was less than a kilometre away to a renowned restaurant and with map directions in hand he headed off through a dirt track to find and enjoy a very tasty meal. He was surprised that throughout his journey he had encountered very few people able to speak English, yet here in Dali he had already encountered at least 6 people who were able to communicate fluently with him. He had taken the opportunity he had been given to be garrulous by the horns and once he was back at the hotel and had tended to the ever changing state of his burn, he went to bed and allowed himself to drift into oblivion.

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