Day 14: Three Phases and some Tips

I am going to talk about our amazing hike (6 hours 40 minutes) yesterday. Our hike from Zhong He Si to Gan Tong Si via the Jade Belt can be split into three phases.

The first phase: physical endurance.

Our hike began at a few sandy hills next to a local prison in the Zhong He area. At the start, when we went uphill, our pace was very fast. Every five minutes of marching, we would spend three to five minutes resting. After a discussion amongst ourselves, we decided to slow down the pace by at least half the current speed. We went pretty well afterwards. As the terrain became more and more complicated, we occasionally had to use our hands to support ourselves in the slippery dirt. Some of us decided to use sturdy branches as a "third leg" and that supported them through more than half of the trip. Something that successfully distracted us from the tiring walk was the alphabet game, where we bombard words that start with a specific letter.

The second phase: mental resilience.

The Jade Belt itself is a flat path that stretches along Cangshan, the famous mountain of Dali, just as important as the mother lake Erhai. Although the walking is not physically challenging, it is an exceptionally long process that requires a lot of mental support. Personally, I blundered before I hiked: I decided not to bring comfort food when I was packing the previous day because I thought that I did not need any external energy for my body. Clearly, I was wrong. Future Microcampus students, please remember to bring your comfort food on the hike! Anyway, the second phase requires a lot of reminders to yourself that you can do it and that you will do it. 

On a side-note, the Jade Belt is where rain, hail, and storm may attack the group. Fortunately, we did not encounter any adverse weather conditions. I put on my hunmongous rain coat anyway. It made me look like a surgeon...

The third phase: conquest of the nature of the human mind.

Humans usually treat the finish line less seriously. When a finish line is clear, they would spend all their last resources and sprint to the destination fo the journey. However, the finish line is also the danger zone. The lack of self awareness and the distractions may cause detrimental impacts.

As soon as we began to head downhill, we thought we were finishing up the hike. A lot of us were trying to be encouraging and repeatedly said "We are almost there guys!". However, when we drank our last sip of water and spent our last bit of energy running down the stairs, mindless of our stinking, sore feet, we realized that we still have at least ten more hills to climd up. No one was ready, so many of us started panting badly and was increasingly sweating. Our motivation was the stream of water flowing by the road, swooshing past us. After some final struggles, we managed to see our green van, the one that will take us to the organic farm, where we will have our dinner.

Tips:

Bring your comfort food

Bring your comfort food

Bring your comfort food

Never ask how long you still need to go for, just keep walking.

Hey I am Clark! Microcampus has been a spectacular experience that I will remember for the rest of my life. This experience transformed me and taught me many life lessons. Now that I am in Shanghai, I miss the clear skies, the amazing food, and all the loving memories the Voyagers crew had together. To future Microcampus students: cherish your time in Xizhou and always listen to Mr. T and Ms. Mai, as they are trying to stop a problem before it becomes one.