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Cassandra's picture

I am so excited for tomorrow’s hiking trip! We are going on a three day trip up to a valley called hua dian ba. I know it will be very challenging but I am excited to stretch my physical and (maybe more importantly) my mental strength. The first day we are supposed to hike for SIX hours! That is a really long time! What am I going to think about for that long? I don’t have my MP3 anymore so I can’t listen to music. I guess I could talk to people but not for six hours! Hmm... I will think about what to think about tomorrow.... well that sentence made more sense in my head....

Christopher's picture

Nothing too interesting today, just a standered day that we go out and work on our inqury project. Today I went to see Mr. Yang, a person that raises plants. Although if you ask for Mr. Yang in this village you'll find about half the population. This is the second time I went to his house, he had grown more plants that I could count. There were several plants that flowers were actually leaves, and there were a bunch of what we think were azelas and camelias. There were also a good amount of plants from XiShuangBanNa, the tropical area of yunnan about 400km south of XiZhou.

Clara's picture

Today was a better day. It was sunnier, shorter and i had music to distract myself. We were planning on camping at Xiao Hua Dian Ba but we couldn't go with that plan since it was short of snowy and the weather didn't seem that good for camping outside. After that we were given two options. To go to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and camp in the courtyard of the inn we were staying in the previous day or to head back to Xizhou. With voting about five times, we decided to go to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and come back to camp.

Cassandra's picture

Yesterday was a pretty low key day. We had a delicious dinner at Mr. Yang’s. What a friendly man! He was great and gave us some of his customer favorites. It was delicious and all I can say is full compliments to the chef! Not just that but Mr. Yang himself is such a spirit! He has so much life and excitement in him and being around him just puts a smile on your face. Those kinds of people are special! I will definitely  be going back on a regular basis! Also, I just want to make a comment to the comments... (?) Thank you so much all of you!

Cassandra's picture

What an amazing day! Today was the day we met our new home, and what a place it is! Our house, Yang Zhou Ran, was dropped from the heavens themselves for us. This place really is like a storybook and I am honored to be able to stay here! We went for a tour around the town and that was beautiful. I was so surprised at how open people are to tell their stories and how willing they are to allow us into their house. One of the places that we went to made rice noodles and the unshaped, raw dough was delicious!

Cassandra's picture

Though the travel day was long, it wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be. I imagined lots of music though earphones and short, uncomfortable naps, so thank you Ethan for keeping me engaged during the plane ride! I also realize that I should never doubt the teenager’s ability to find ways to keep boredom away on long trips. There was far too much action for any kind of napping on the bus so I was thoroughly entertained but sluggish when the sun went down. I am so excited for the real parties to begin!

Cassandra's picture

Here it comes! It is really hard to believe that lift off is so soon! A few nights ago, I realized that a month is a long time! It is a REALLY long time. So I had my first freak out. All I have been up until this point is excited. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I'm not STILL excited, just that.... a month is a long time. I am actually glad that I had my little nervouse attack because I, and my family, was finding it a bit strange that I hadn't already. I will be so more out of my comfort zone than I have ever been before. And I am SO PUMPED!!

Cassandra's picture

What a full day! This morning we were going to the Sha Ping weekly market to go... Shopping! It turns out that the Sha Ping weekly market is on Mondays, not Wednesdays but it was alright because in Sha BA there was another weekly market that was considerably bigger than Sha ping. The Sha Ba market was so full of color and life! What a culturally diverse and unique place! How can I describe this place? First of all, it was bigger than the eye can see! The produce section was filled with every plant imaginable and more plants I have never seen before than those that I did recognize.

Jason's picture

We woke up today to a long, 6 hour hike down the mountain once again.  This time, it was the same routine.  We went down the same way we came.  My ankles and knees were aching, and blisters were forming on my foot.  Nevertheless, we did not run into any adverse weather conditions and descended smoothly back into Xizhou. This time around, the trip was more mentally tiring than a physically tiring.

Armin's picture

Very few words can describe this morning...VERY COLD! When I opened my eyes my back was in so much pain, I could not feel my toes or fingers. I tried opening the screen door but the zipper was stuck so brandon and I started yanking on it until it forcefully opened, when it opened frost feel into our sleeping bags so you can imagine the chaos after that. After that we had to take apart the tent which wasn't that hard. We then sat in the sun and watched the frost melt off our shoes and clothes.

Clara's picture

"I FEEL ALIVE" quoted from Sujin Han. Yes indeed, I did FEEL alive but if feeling cold and extremely tired meant I felt alive, I'm not sure if I wan to feel it all the time.....I have to say we experienced all four seasons in a matter of 8 hours. Yes not even one day, EIGHT HOURS. We went through the heat, the windy, rain, lightening, thunder and HAIL. Hail as in giant ice cubes falling from the sky (okay I'm exaggerating now  it wasn't giant ice cubes falling from the sky but small pieces of ice).

Jason's picture

Xiao (little) Hua Dian Ba is one of most open spaces I've ever been to.  We hiked through an opening in the mountains and were met by howling, blasting, 50 km wind and were rewarded with a fantastic panorama of the vast valley.  

Armin's picture

After a cold chilly night of sleeping with 4 guys on one big bed I wasn't exactly ready for another day of hiking but I didn't really have a choice. The original plan for Day 2 of hiking was to go to Xiao Hua Dian Ba which was 600 meters higher and stay there until the next morning but locals told us that there was lots of snow from the day before. So we had two options; either go up to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and come back down and camp in the courtyard or head back to Xizhou. I did not think either would be fun so I did not vote.

Nike's picture

 After a rough and cold night of camping, Peyton and I woke up we could not feel our hands or toes. We packed up our tents with frozen hands but it took a very long time because we could not move our fingers and the tent just did not want to fit in the bag. After an hour of packing, the sun came up and we began to thaw. Thats when a giant sheep heard joined us in the sun, and the adorable sheep dog puppies were great entertainment for our not-so-happy selves.

Nick's picture

We are heading back to our home away from home. Today our hike was much more pleasant than the first hike. Before I talk about the hike, I should talk about the night. We woke up in our tents to see frost outside and temperatures under 0 degrees Celsius. Anyway on our hike back we enjoyed a beautiful day with no clouds and a gentle breeze to keep us cool enough in the heat. Once we were almost down from the hill we encountered another school group from Shanghai. I thought it felt nice to see other kids my age that are not in microcampus.

Clara's picture

Its one day before the BIG hike we're going to do. It's going to be a three day hike/camping trip. I very excited yet kind of nervous because I'm not used to very long hikes and I can't stand the cold for too long. Today we managed to pack everything we need for the hike. This consists of sleeping bag, rain jacket, wind proof jacket, clothes, food, phone, toothbrush, water bottle, notepad and other things too (I can't really remember everything at the moment).

Nike's picture

When we woke up in the morning in the local farmhouse in Hua Dian Ba, we were given two options: go back to Xizhou or hike up to Xiao Hua Dian Ba, have lunch there and then camp in the courtyard of the farmhouse. The original plan for Day 2 of the hike was to hike up to Xiao Hua Dian Ba and stay there till the next morning, but another hiking group told us that there was heavy snow, and that that they had a very cold night when they stayed there.

Nick's picture

Today we went up a very steep mountain and past 10,000 feet. It was a challenging hike because not only was the mountain steep, the rocks were loose and I fell and scraped a knee (not that bad of a cut). Once we got to the top, there were winds that were so powerful, it made yesterdays 45 km/hour winds feel like a breeze. It reached up to 51 km/hour! This made me feel like I was flying in the air! Also we climbed an extra 50 meters to reach the height of 3,232 meters. The air is so thin and the wind was blowing hard at you, it felt like we were climbing 500 meters.

Jason's picture

A ten minute bus ride led us to the trail head.  I stared up at the near 45 degree incline of the trail and wondered aloud, "this for 6 hours?!"  We were about to start and epic 6 hour hike up the steep mountains north of Xizhou on our way to our final destination of Hua Nian Ba.  The first portion of the trip was a pebbly, gravel filled uphill battle up an incredibly sheer incline.  There was barely any stopping to admire the view, as my head was down watching the ground ahead.  

Peyton's picture

The three-day hike was intense. And by intense I mean, really intense.
On friday, we woke up at 7:30, and ate a delicious meal of bacon and eggs. It was very scrumptious because bacon and eggs was a delicacy we didn't have before. After breakfast, we left YZR and started our hike. The moment we arrived at the foot of the mountain, I saw these gigantic mountains in front of our tiny green bus, I thought to myself, "This is going to take a longgg time."

Nick's picture

Whoever made the phrase, 'it's the journey that matters', then they never been on our trip. It started with a nice trip up the side of a mountain, with fresh air and green plants all over the place. We thought the first half was hard by walking up an angle of 20 degrees, but it was nothing compared to the second half. Our first problem was we had to duck under a tree to stay dry from rain. This made me feel a bit insecure because it started to go from rain to sleet. It stopped after 5 minutes. Than we encountered winds that go up to 45 km an hour. It felt really cool, nothing else really.

Nike's picture

Friday was the day of the hike. The hike! We were all so excited when we stepped on the bus at around nine, with our giant hiking bags, after having a humongous breakfast of bacon and eggs. Once we got to the bottom of the mountain, the mules showed up! Soon enough, Peyton and I were leading the way up the mountain. After hours of sweating and working extremely hard, with aching calves and backs, we got to the top of the mountain.

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