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2016-08-17  
Yulong Snow Mountain Yunnan China, WW
mini location map2016-08-17
6 by photographer avatarDennisWilliams
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Yulong Snow Mountain Yunnan China, WW 
Yulong Snow Mountain Yunnan China, WW
 
Hiking avatar Aug 17 2016
DennisWilliams
Hiking0.60 Miles 600 AEG
Hiking0.60 Miles
600 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
A short hike in an extraordinary place as part of a larger rampage through western China in the company of my wife and two granddaughters.

Yulong (玉龙雪山) or Jade Dragon Snow Mountain is located near the city of Lijiang in the western Chinese province of Yunnan. The mountain is 18,360 feet high and has been climbed only once. Lijiang is a good sized city built up around the old-town, a picturesque and charming collection of old buildings in the classic Chinese style with many shops and restaurants. My granddaughters loved it. The capitol city of Yunnan is Kunming, my wife's home town. I have visited about half of the Chinese provinces at one time or another and of all the provinces Yunnan is my favorite. Kunming is a clean city of 5 million in a wide valley on the shore of Lake Dian with good air quality and great weather, being far south and at high elevation. It virtually never snows and summer highs are in the low 80s F with afternoon rain showers. Going to Yunnan means going about as far as you can go from here without getting closer.

The hike begins with a tram ride to an elevation of about 14,700 feet. Very scenic and dramatic. From there a wooden walk-way leads upward for maybe a third of a mile to a high viewing platform at 4680 meters, or 15,354 feet, a new elevation height for me achieved on my own two feet (well, sort of). Not much of a hike, really, but worth commemorating. It was spectacular. The walk-way was crowded with Chinese tourists so this was hardly a wilderness experience, but it is good that there are a few places in the world like this where average folks can get up there and get a taste.

I relate the following color commentary in the interest of comparative pricing of health services. The squeamish need read no further. No junket through western China and off the beaten path would be complete without suffering a good case of Mao Tse Tung's revenge. I did just that on the overnight sleeper train back from the ancient city of Dali to Kunming. The train ride is an adventure in itself, there having been nothing like it in the US for decades. There may still be sleeper trains, but not like this I can assure you. My wife was concerned with my health after 20-odd trips to the bathroom on the train (only someone familiar with China can appreciate just how squalid the bathroom on a train in remote western China can be) and called an ambulance to take me off the train in Kunming in the early hours before dawn. I confess to being fully, as in fully, dehydrated and too weak to walk more than a few paces. They conveyed me to the local hospital where I was treated with all due sensitivity and professionalism by staff in crisp white uniforms in a facility that reminded me of a very modern and well accoutered hospital from 1960. After admission I was given IV fluids, blood testing, an ECG, an injection of anti-diarrheal that promptly slammed the door shut, and attentive care by doctors and nurses. Improving rapidly I released myself later that day. The total cost including the ambulance, private room, and other services was 1000 RMB. At an exchange rate of 6.67 RMB to the US dollar that was just less than $150, without insurance. Try getting that here. I offer this vignette not as an indictment of US health care, merely as the observation of a world traveler.
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