Today we got the earliest start since our last border run, on the road just before the sun was rising at 8:30 am. Fitting that this would happen on our last day of walking for this section. Having reached Jiayuguan, we are closing the second leg of our journey. This city is the end of the Hexi Corridor, sort of. In the past, Jiayuguan demarcated the end of China itself as travelers would venture to the west, here they would have to pass the end of the Great Wall. What an experience nowadays, but imagine the feeling a few hundred years ago, a millennia ago.
We cruised through the day using our walking system of walking for two hours then taking a break. We remarked about how we had begun the trip with this plan, then as we got more accustomed to being here we dropped our structure. Now we have re-implemented it with the realization that it was a good plan from the beginning. This system has allowed us to travel much farther in a day lately without any minor injuries coming up. My foot even healed during the last eight days of straight walking. It might seem a little ridiculous that we have just dropped our plan and then realized it was a good one. I see it as an important step in the evolution of how we are doing this expedition. In the beginning, everything was new, and we simply needed to have fewer decisions to make each day. As the trip went on and we got into a flow we had the time and space to question these aspects and then try different things. We tried with, we tried without. Turns out we were better off with.
This allowed us to know that it actually is something we want to keep. My Outward Bound instructor friends are probably thinking 'duh' just like a course, but it definitely just went that way naturally and not intentionally. We also have not picked back up aspects of our structured plan. In the beginning, our breaks were regimented and timed. 30-minute snack, hour lunch, thirty-minute snack. Now we rest until we feel cold or simply that it is time to go. It also helps that we are now consistently doing 10 km every two hours opposed to the eight km we naturally did in the beginning. So many things about this trip have not been as I imagined and this is one of many examples.
Distance: 31 km
Total: 1575 km
End: Jiayuguan (嘉峪关) - Herdsman International Youth Hostel (Highly Recommended)
Written by Timb