Trekking amidst the tranquility and nature that is Abujee, a sacred region in Shangri-la, Yunnan, was a rewarding experience that garnered many new friends and beautiful memories. On this trip, our group studied aspects of Buddhism through a visit to a monastery and a private meeting with a lama, a spiritual leader. Interaction with the local horsemen also allowed us insight into Tibetan culture and lifestyle. On a particular night, we were warmly welcomed into the home of a Tibetan friend of our guides’ for dinner, where we sampled the delightfully explosive yak butter tea and enjoyed their traditional song and dance, which we reciprocated with a hilarious rendition of the “Hokey-pokey”.”
After chilling in town and a “leisurely” hike on the first day, we began our trek on the barely-touched-by-foreigners path to Abujee. The physical demands of the trail called for mutual encouragement and individual strength that drew the group closer, both to each other and to the majestic terrain of Shangri-la. Through sweat, burning muscles, and the amazing leadership of Jeff “The-Guy-with-the-hair” Fuchs, Sonam “Beast” Geleg, and WildChina’s David and Max, many of us surprised ourselves with our own ability to push onward and succeed.
Amidst games of Big Two, sing-offs, campfires, and appalling encounters with monstrous bugs, we laughed and learned and grew. Thus were born “Goat-girl”, “Sugar-boy”, “Falcwynn”, and the sophisticated and refined game of “Abububall”.
On that dreaded last day, each one of us looked wistfully at the distant mountains, waving goodbye with a bittersweet smile and a heavy heart, reluctant to leave the place that would henceforth cause us to smile fondly.
And so, I ruefully conclude that the trip was a lot like this passage—a process both fun and funny, albeit a tad trying at times, and regretfully, much, much too short.