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Published: July 25th 2018
July 20th - The Qilian Village - Dia 30
Walking up in an extremely foggy morning. But as the sun warmed everything up the clouds departed slowly, making for some espectacular views. The camp invited us for breakfast before heading out. It was a really simple meal consisting of rice porridge with a piece of bread. A lot of carbs, classic for Chinese cuisine.
As we headed out they gave us around 3kg of dried dates for the road, my new favorite hike snack.
The mud road was pretty empty apart from the construction trucks driving back and forth. Based on Google maps we still had around 30km of road and 1000 meters elevation gain. The views were sensational so Leonardo and I wanted to walk it all, hoping that the sunny weather stayed. Meanwhile Bean, due to the precautionary comments from the construction workers , wanted to hitchhike. We had to go up to a pass with an elevation of 3800meters and we did not want to be caught in bad weather while doing so. After a lot of arguing we finally convinced Bean to walk it all. We had the dates and some pieces of bread to keep the
hunger away, the weather seemed stable and currently there where no cars to hitchhike with 😂. So off we went.
Some beautiful landscapes on the way up, rolling green hills with steep rockfaces. We were following for the most part the muddy road so the elevation gain was slow. Some instances we tried to cut path and head through the grassy hills, finding ourselves having a hard time catching our breath due to the elevation. Especially with the big packs on. Not happening again,stiking in the road we heard ouselves say. A couple of hours later we found ourselves trying to cut path again and regretting it. 😂
Almost at the pass but still far away from our objective we got the opportunity to jump in a truck each. We had already walked around 20km and were all pretty beaten. We decided to accept the ride, jumping in a truck each. From that point onward everything went really fast.
This was the first time we each were hitchhiking on an individual car, felt weird not having the company of Leonardo and Bean alongside me. Not much to talk to with the truck driver so I just enjoyed the beautiful views
roll by. The tucks where not carrying any weight so in a couple of minutes we where passing the highest elevation point of 3800meters and heading all the way down the other side. Pretty fast drivers especially with a big truck, I felt scared while on the curves. Tried to put my seat belt on in one occasion and the truck driver just repeatedly sayed no. Not listening I tried to put it on and realized it was stuck...maybe that's why he sayed no jajaja.
Passing some incredible landscapes while following a flooded brown rapid river the truck drivers took us all the way to the outskirts of the village of Qilian. The three of us feeling a bit overwhelmed with how many things had passed the last couple of hours, decided to find a nice shady tree to lay below and relax for an hour. Me and Leonardo took the opportunity to do some nice stretches. Oh how nice did they feel, especially after the long hike up.
Feeling relaxed we jumped back in the road to hitchhike the last 20km to the town. Amazingly as we got in the road and lifted our fingers up the first car
that passed us stopped and we jumped in. How easy is it to hitchhike in China, sometimes it's been faster then even looking for a cab.
Finally arrived to the town of Qilian. The town that was named after the mountain range, representing the start point of it all. All of us were honestly too tired to spend to much time around the village. It had some incredible views of the mountain range with yellow crop fields on extremely red soil. We walked around the town a while, until finally settling down for dinner.
After a quiet dinner we realized we were too tired and went in search for a place to sleep. We looked at the nearest grassy hill outside of the village and decided to head over there. Halfway up the hill I wondered why we're we doing this to ouselves? More hiking? 😕 But it was all worth while when we reached the top. Ended up being one of the best campingspots so far in the trip. Felt as if I was in the Alpes.
July 21st - Haibei City - Dia 31
Waking up overlooking Qilian Town and watching the shadows cross through the grassy
hills as the sun raised through the sky. We all wanted to take advantage of the place before heading out so we left out tent and bags and went on a short stroll. We explored some little caves that the farmers built years ago to either protect them or their sheep from the bad weather. They were much bigger then expected, with multiple compartments. All build in extremely fragile soil, wonder how many ended up collapsing.
Getting hungry we headed back down to the town before heading towards Qinghai Lake, our final big stop before Xining City. While in the town we walked into a store when they were making canola oil. Never knew that it was made from the seeds of a local yellow flower they cultivate. Really interesting to watch.
The road we wanted to take to Qinghai Lake was unfortunately closed due to a landslide in the road. So we had to take a less traveled one which was much longer.
Worth it! No one of us knew how beautiful the road was going to be. For the most part we where traveling through Tibetan Communities, through beautiful green rolling hills around 3 500 meter above sea
level, through fields filled with white Yaks and Tibetan house yurts. We crossed various passes and valleys throughout the way. All of it in company with a Tibetan family, a long ride indeed, around 3-4 hours. I honestly would have enjoyed to be dropped in one of this valleys to spend the night, but we never did 😢
The views while traveling through the mountain ranges these past few days have been unforgettable. Such incredible landscapes which I recommend everyone to go and see for themselves!
The Tibetan family dropped us off in a city called Haibei, just a few kilometers from the lake. The city is quite desolate, the reason for the visit was to meet up with one of Beans friends, Max. Whom will be joining our adventures around the lake before heading to Xining. He is supposed to arrive tomorrow.
As we arrived to the city we of course did our usual, finding where to eat. We ate some good noodles in this restaurant the Tibetan family had recommended us. While we ate, I noticed, a couple behind us ordering way to much food to eat for themselves. As predicted as the couple left the restaurant they
left many dishes untouched. This is not a common thing to do in China I noticed, as other families eating around the restaurant commented on it. Seating immedietly next to the empty table with the untouched dishes, a family nearby saw how interested we seemed about the food. I told Leo and Bean about taking some of the leftovers and eating them ourselves. After their approval I went for it. This of course would be ridiculed in Western countries, but here we actually received approval from the nearby family! Amazing. We even got invited to take a shot of their hard alcohol after 😂
Feeling full and happy we payed for our dinner and went in search of a camping spot. After jumping a fenced grass area we found a flat spot and went to sleep.
July 22nd - Waiting for Max To Arrive - Dia 32
Today we spent the day waiting for Max to arrive, he used to be Beans co-worker. He had been traveling through China for a buisiness trip and managed to make time at the end to join our adventures for a couple of days. It was hard to meet especially with our nature of moving around all the time. So we decided for the sake of meeting with him to stay around the city for the day. It was not the most interesting day to be honest. A lot of looking how to spend the spare time. Max did not arrive until like 6pm.
We went for breakfast and stayed there for a long while. Long enough that for the first time they actually kicked us out 😂😂. I was in the middle of washing my shorts in the bathroom so I had to leave that midway through. Defiently colonized that restaurant like no other jajaja. After that we still stayed around the perimeter of the restaurant to keep on using the free WiFi 😏
With still a lot of time in our hands Leonardo decided to shave his head. We had recently bought a razor so we went to a nearby river and shaved everything off. Leos hair was so dirty, since we had not taken a shower in a long time, that white dead skin appeared as we shaved it off. 😷🙈 Defiently need to find a place to shower in the next few days, we are getting rather sinky.
After the hair incident we went in look for an outdoor gym, which you can usually find many around the cities. And we did find ourselves our own little outdoor gym. Joining two old grandpa's we started doing different types of calisthenic exercises. Situated around 2800 meters above sea level it was a hard workout. Happy to be traveling with people, Bean and Leo, which are also into working out. So I have actually not lost upper body muscle, but gained ☺
With maybe an hour before Max's arrival we walked closer to the bus stop. By now I was actually becoming a bit desperate since we had not done a lot with our day. But I had to stay positive and keep on looking forward. Not every day is going to be exciting, some you just have to relax.
Meeting Max for the first time, an extremely tall guy maybe almost 2 meters in height, stands out anywhere in China. I liked him from the start.
We went for dinner and then as we finished we disappointingly realized that it was starting to rain. In a hurry we decided to head to the same camping spot as the night before. Hopefully the farmer owning the land wouldn't mind having 2 tents for another night. To rainy to worry about that . Again, jumping the fence and setting up the tents in the exact same spot, we crawled into the temporary shelter completely soked. At least dry shelter at last.
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