Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Mountains! Tents! Campfire! Rain! Chernobyl!

That was my 五一, the four day weekend bestowed upon us as a tribute to all those workers working on work.

I took Chernobyl on our first outdoor adventure, two days and two nights at 冰峪沟, the ambiguously-famed "Guilin of the North." To be fair, quite beautiful. I'd actually been there once before in the fall, but this time I found the golden canopies replaced by gorges of green and wildflowers of every color, a rushing river and hordes of tourists.

I was nervous about the Chernobyl situation; though she was very enthusiastic about going, I was worried that my CREED mode of travel (that is, aiming to be as Cheap, Reckless, Extreme, Exhausting, and Dirty as possible) would clash with her no-less-than-five-star princess mentality.

Is it wise to bring a nuclear princess to sleep at a farmer's house? To climb a mountain straight-backed after losing the trail? To pitch a tent and a sleeping bag and ask her to try to ignore the rain beating down heavily through the night?

No, it's not.
But, miraculously, the meltdown was avoided. In fact, despite all the achey legs and unsanitary living conditions, Chernobe kept a great attitude and had a lot of fun. We broke away from the crowds, got ourselves good and lost, and cheered each other on through a series of obstacles and snake-traps to the pagoda-topped summit of an incredible Guilin-gorge-esque mountain (see, if you can, the tiny dot on the top-right mountain in the big pic above).

Though we left sleep-deprived, hungry, tired, filthy, and wet, we agreed it was a great escape from the city and vowed to return to the wild together again in the future.

In the meantime, however, she's off to Russia, England, and France for her much-anticipated Euroxperience.

(and I have my own Euroxperience to tell you about soon.............oooooooh!)

Enjoy the pictures!

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