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A student practices working the fields with a water buffalo. Photo by Ming-Jiu-Li, China Summer Program.

Trek Through Tibet

14,000 feet up, gazing at the rolling hills and jagged rocks, a group of four set out to witness the hidden beauties of China.

The day of exploration started in the small town of Langmusi seeing the unique Tibetan monastery. We walked through temples, spun prayer wheels, and watched monks at work, before retreating to the mountainous gorge for a picnic and hike. The local kids were excited to play frisbee and run around with us, even riding on Rishi’s shoulders and splashing Tingting in the river. At the onset of our hike, one of them led us deeper into a cave, showing us a sacred Tiger’s den. After the interaction with the natives and the exploration of holy sites of the town, our group commenced our trek through the beautiful mountain ranges of Langmusi.

Before coming on the trip, our perception of China soley consisted of large metropolitan cities marked by rapid economic development. However, this hike brought light to a side of China that neither of us had ever expected. As a group, we trekked up a river that had carved a canyon through the mountains. Our feet were soaking wet, and our falls got progressively clumsier and more dramatic. Eventually, we emerged into a ravine that could only be described as something out of Narnia to do our silent, reflective journaling. Against the serene atmosphere of the gorges, the reflection period consisted of meaningful dialogue about our relationship with nature and the importance of hiking. After the journaling session, our group split in to two: a trek back to the hostel and a trek to top of the mountain range.

The group who hiked towards the top of the range included Rishi, Page, Jose Miguel, and Jonas. We immediately decided to veer off the beaten path, choosing instead to fight our way up the grassy mountain side. After 40 grueling minutes, we found ourselves covered in mud, thorns, completely out of breath — and loving it. We collapsed at the top of the ridge, looking out over the entire town and surrounding yak pastures. However, after the group regained our breath, we started to truly appreciate the view. Words fail to describe the beauty and our awe of the valley. Even though we were tired and sweaty, we laughed the whole way down as we walked under prayer flags and through a goat herd back towards Langmusi. It was so incredible to truly experience the amazing nature that China has to offer for the first time this trip, and we’re so glad we went the extra miles for the view.