"... raises hopes of euphoria that cannot be met and it’s time to return to reality. Euphoria is available in pharmaceutical form but it’s nothing to base a life on. It tends to lead to stupidity."
Dealing with various package delivery companies, finding my dependable SF does not deliver to the remote towns of Kham, I finally discover one who will -- for 4x the usual price. Grateful, my resupply provisions are on the way to Bathang. Begrudged, I am not.
Pack is ready, my mind is not, my body is impatient. The rains come. I've spent too long in preparation, too long in Shangri-la. I've spent too long moving between doubt and determination.
I finally found some route guidance through these mountains in the form of -- unknown to me at that time -- a well-renowned author*. Trek routes and maps are near impossible to find within such a secretive state; search results consist mainly of Chinese tour companies; no published routes are available. One spark in the Google black hole came from a source expert on the Tea Horse Road. When I glanced at his site, quickly noticing his trek through the mountains of Yunnan and along the tea road, I read no further, but simply sent a desperate email, not even expecting a reply. Yet reply he did and quickly, giving me some route ideas. I felt elated and ready, once again. Turns out he has written two books, works with a well-regarded tour company, and has work published in numerous magazines, including NatGeo! When I later read his bio, I was surprised that an IT MAN so famous responded, and felt grateful.
I was supposed to leave yesterday, but the whole shipping extravaganza took up so many hours and so much mental energy, that I postponed one more day, berating myself, but relieved that my provisions, clothes, and laptop would make it safely to Bathang. Looking for information on a Tea Horse Caravan Museum of which I had read and planned to visit, Serendipity led me to another site, that of a local expat outfitter and guide** in town. He also responded to my WeChat enquiry so quickly that I was once again taken aback. I received more in the way of explicit instructions on routes leading north from Shangri-la, which was so helpful. After this exchange, my hope rose again and my confidence increased proportionally, even feeling a bit euphoric that I could finally begin. If I hold only a teaspoonful of local mountain knowledge in shaking hands, I feel much more comfortable about upcoming movement into the unknown. I felt I had not wasted another day, my Goddess Serendip coming through for me once again.
But some God higher than Serendipity is usurping her authority-- the rain acts like it was invited. If the damn rain stops, I can take action on the advice i received yesterday. I really, really do not want to take a bus north. I really, really want to trek an overland pass through the mountains and reach the Yangtse. And I stubbornly adhere to this plan, delay or not. Conversely, I stubbornly stand firm in my decision not to start this phase of my trek in a downpour. That would create such a dispirited inner attitude that it might cause a landslide in the area around me. If I accept defeat and take a bus north, I will escape the rain. But if I wait one more day, I might be able to begin on a sunny day. And the third damn inner voice reminds me that I will have to begin my research in earnest again of another area. Damnit, I just want to strap on my pack and go.
Why don't I?
** Nathan at Turtle Mountain Gear and Outfitters, Shangri-la, Diqing County, Yunnan Province, China