Original plan for this morning was to go for a short run in the old town using the tourist map. I had quite a tight time window to do this in - first light isn't until about 7.15 (China doesn't have time zones and Lijiang is far enough west that it should be an hour behind the east coast), and I needed to be back before 8 to give myself enough time to get to the bus station for a 9.30 bus. The plan was scuttled when I headed downstairs to find no-one around and the front door locked (I could have got out, but wouldn't necessarily have been able to get back in). Well, it wasn't as if I was going to be lacking in exercise today anyway, and I'll have another chance for this run (under less time pressure) on Tuesday.
The main activity today was the first part of the Tiger Leaping Gorge walk - this is where the upper Yangtze has pushed through the range between two 5000m+ mountains. There's a road sort of along the bottom (of which more later), but the walking track climbs well above the valley floor and then goes through three villages on the slopes - I think historically this would have been the donkey/mule track to access these villages, although all are now connected to the valley road by road. Spectacular views of the river and mountains as you might expect, on a brilliantly fine day. Two big climbs (about 400-500m apiece) which were hard work - particularly the top end of the second one, where I also suspect I was starting to feel the altitude (2650m) a bit - but generally a good walk, and not too many exposed bits (regular readers will know of my discomfort with heights). Pulled up in the second village, a bit earlier than my original plan, but I'd realised that if I'd pressed on to the Halfway Inn, it was actually well beyond halfway and I'd be sitting around at the end for half of tomorrow waiting for a bus. Probably didn't drink enough and felt a bit dehydrated at the end of the day.
Had a potentially embarrassing gear failure at dinner - the button on my pants came off. I'd packed a pair of O pants in my bag in case the others were too hot to walk in, so it looks like that's what I'll be wearing until I get back to the hotel in Lijiang. Hopefully the locals aren't too perturbed. (Part of my travel kit is a couple of old-style nappy pins for emergency gear repairs of this nature, but they were in the bag I'd left back in Lijiang).