Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Xi Shan (West Hill)

After I left the Bamboo Temple, it was still fairly early in the day, so I decided to head over to the West Hills. There's a saying in Kunming that you haven't seen Kunming until you've seen the West Hills, and you haven't seen the West Hills until you've seen the Dragon Gate. 

I glanced at the map and thought it would be fairly quick and easy to hop a bus over to the entrance to the West Hills hiking trails, but I was wrong.  I had to take a bus back down into town, then two more buses and a minivan to get somewhere I wanted to be.  It took me a couple of hours to figure all that out, but it was worth the trouble.

Fortunately I met up with a local woman who pointed me in the right direction, to start at the top and hike back down. I was smiling as soon as I walked in the south gate up near the top of the mountain.  The ridge was rather barren, with no trees until I got a bit further down, but very rocky.  It reminded me a bit of a landscape from the first Hobbit movie (I spent the weekend before I left watching the two Hobbit movies and the Lord of the Rings, and now I am reading the Lord of the Rings, so it's not surprising that that's what everything reminds me off).  It seems like I ought to be able to come up with a more poetic way of describing it, but you can see a picture at least. 

I hiked down the trail through the woods to a pavilion on a rocky outcrop on the top of the cliff.  From there the entire city lay below, with the Dian Chi lake stretching off into the distance to the south. 


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