Huije was leading this hike, and she hadn't been out here for a long time. Our local guide was very happy to see her, and we were happy to see him again as well – he'd been ill for most of 2012, but now he's in better shape and has regained his health with a lot of walking and working on his fruit trees. He told us that the trail we'd follow today was one he used to walk when he headed over to the next village to watch opera performances.
The first part of the hike went up a long, bouldery canyon. There are lots of loose stone and rocks in the valley, and we had to be careful about where we were putting our feet.
It had rained a lot the day before, and all the streams and pools were full of clear water. Usually there's just a trickle of water coming down the canyon.
Because it was a hot day we took it slow, stopping for a rest several times on the way to the top. The trail down from the top was shaded, and we made better time heading down to a little hamlet where we stopped for our lunch break.
At this tiny, mostly-abandoned village we spotted some sheep, and counted seven donkeys still living with the local farmer's family.
After following a bushy trail through the hills we finally arrived at the Yunmeng Gorge, another rocky canyon. The canyon is larger and wider on this side, with tall cliffs. We crossed the river and hiked out through a park.
On the way to the end we spotted some other people swimming in the pools of water. It was too much for some of us to handle, and quite a few of our hikers threw off their boots and clothes and jumped right in!