Reringkha : ELEVATION!
Deqin Travel Blog› entry 159 of 268 › view all entries
Our predicament of the night before is heavily compensated when we arise to clear blue skies and unimpeded views of the Meili Xueshan mountain range. What a perfect start to the morning. I’m dozy as heck, but prizing one’s eyes open for the sight of such treasures is worth the pain of early morning bleariness. So bright! Such a fantastic view you almost feel that, sensitive as they can be so early in the day, like those of a new born babe, your eyes might almost burn up a little, unable to cope with the light of so much that is of unexpected awe and beauty so soon in their nascence. The tone has been well and truly set for what will be an amazing day of mountain watching.
Fairly simple plan today. Walk back along the dusty-as-f**k road to Tashi’s Lodge in Reringkha.
[ Just flicking through my notebook (07/06/09) I can see that the 'mini-mountain' is called Rhibungi - so this entry relates the adventures of the Rhibungi Trek :) ]
And it’s good that we’ve been able to stuff our greedy eyes full with the magnificent views straight off the bat this morning as it must be said, even averting our eyes from the disgrace of The Great Wall of FeiLaiSi (as we choose to dub it) the walk; the road that runs between here and Deqin (Reringkha bein’ in the middle) is also a horror show right now.
Nick and I also experience one of those more curiously contradictory good/bad China moments. Walking along a taxi car with a young couple in pulls over and very kindly offers us a lift to wherever we‘re headed. “Bonza!”. Just starting a faltering conversation, barely 200 yards down the road when the driver stops the car. Hmm? There is a police patrol car up ahead and it is apologetically explained to us through translation by the couple that he is uncomfortable to be seen by the cops driving foreign travellers so “Sorry! But you’ll have to get out… so sorry!”.
A pretty simple trek today. It’ll be a round trip of approximately 10km. I can be fairly accurate on such points today as Marcel is packin’ some awesomely useful little GPS gadget thingamy that constantly tells ya how high you are, how low you are, how slow you are, how far you’ve walked, how long you’ve been stationary (the ‘Lazy Sh*t-ometer function' ), can do cartwheels, tell you the sum total of 2 + 2 to equal 4 and more, predict your future, provide the answer to the question of ‘What is the meaning of Life, The Universe and Everything?‘, maybe steals your wife, maybe steals your life etc, etc… it’s a clever little gadget is what I’m sayin’!
We are joined for the ride by Ernesto from Spain too.
The trek up the hill provides one of my favourite little treks to date. Not too super challenging but at the same time, the elevations we’re reaching mean that the effects of altitude can be clear and present, so’s we have to take it nice and easy. By the time we reach the summit we will be sat at 4,250 metres above sea level. This is the highest I will ever have trekked to with me own two feet and pinkies. Approximately 120 metres higher than Annapurna base Camp in Nepal. My previous highest reach for the skies. Yesterday at 4,300 metres was in a bus. That don’t count. To date I’ve not experienced any symptoms of altitude sickness. Not knowingly anyway. The same is true heading the other way.
Firmly into Tibetan territory now. Not even so many kilometres from the border up here - which makes The Authorities twitchy around these parts.
Once we crest the ridge, to our left and all the way up we are treated to stunning, stunning panoramas of the wispy cloud-teased Meili Xueshan range. The three main magisterial peaks of Mount Miancimu ( 6,054 m), Jiariren-An or ‘Buddha Head Mountain’ ( 5,470 m) and the awesome Karwa Karpo with the Minyong Glacier shining all the way down its flank.
Our route to the summit today is accompanied by sunshine, birds and yaks and also a curiously conducted group of locals who scurry around with tiny little picks and shovels, hugging tightly to the ground… ears and eyes almost to the very dirt like troops under fire in some war flick or something.
To cut a long story shorter (but not short enough I know!) and you’ve heard it all before from me, we reach the summit and sit and stare for a long, long time. Our spirits singing with happiness at the 360 degree panorama that is the priceless reward for all our efforts. “Worth the pain, huffin’, puffin’ and strain right Nick?”. In its completeness and variety of peaks and views both up, down (Deqin visible way back at ground) and around this is the finest view I have yet had in my life yet.
It is so fantastic to be back above the snow line. Nick and I were giddy as little kiddies to achieve this goal today. Standing proudly for photos upon the first virgin patch of icy white we came across whist the others carried on.
So what was the plan again? Oh yeah! Trek up the mountain. “Tick!”. Say all together “Ooooooo! Ain’t that pretty!”. “Tick!”. Trek back down. “Tick!”. And have a beer. Which is about precisely what we do. “Tick!”. I love it when a plan comes together etc…
On route down we lads amuse ourselves by inventing (for the 50 millionth time in the history of the evolution of the indisputably complex male psyche no doubt) the game ‘Yak-Shit-Kick a’Poo’ whereby the contestants see how far they can kick and cause a dried yak turd to roll down the hillside. This draws forth Kathlyn’s statement “Ya see, this is why I so prefer to travel with boys! Girls would never do that!”.
Anyway, less chatter. Time to sip our celebratory beers with Satan, the cloven-hoofed overlord of Reringkha. (This last point will be made clear by the relevant photos).
* This last fact gleaned from www.travelwestchina.com whilst checking mountain spellings.