Day Two of our hike through the Tiger Leaping Gorge was a lot more enjoyable. There were many reasons for that, but I think one of the main reasons why it was so good was because we were primarily going downhill for today. We had the chance to observe so much more of our surroundings because we weren’t distracted by little things such as trying to breathe.
One of things that sets Tiger Leaping Gorge apart from other walks that we’ve done so far was how “undeveloped” it is. The roads are not paved and there are no railings at the side to prevent us from falling over. There were parts of the walk where we actually had to find footholds to clamour over collapsed pieces of rocks, and narrow footpaths that we had to balance our way through.
To be honest, the Singaporean in me was slightly terrified when I first realized this.
I actually caught myself thinking about the worst things that could happen and what we could do to prevent them. And what if we couldn’t prevent them? What was our contingency plan if this “worst thing” did happen?
I know. I sound like a paranoid old man.
But I can’t help it.
A shiver literally ran up my spine when I realized that the answer to the questions above was “not a lot”. We were half a day’s hike from anywhere civilized and there were simply a lot of high places around us. We had no safety net.
Strangely enough, this realization, pardon the cliché, kinda set me “free”. Once I resigned myself to the fact that I just have to be a lot more careful when I jump over that little crack and watch my steps when I wade across the mid-mountain stream, the walk became a lot less stressful for me.
Today was also the day that any illusions we had about being excruciatingly slow was wiped clean. Claudia decided to walk on ahead of us and say that we’d probably meet at Tina’s Guest House, a four-hour walk away. Tina’s is where almost all trekkers through the Tiger Leaping Gorge will break for lunch/admire the Tiger Leaping Rock.
We never saw Claudia again that day.
I think it might be because it took us eight hours to reach Tina’s Guest House.
Anyway, by the time we reached Tina’s for lunch (at 3 in the afternoon), we figured we were too tired to go down to the Tiger Leaping Rock. Don’t judge us, we’d (more or less) been walking for eight hours at this point already.
So we decided to stay one more day within the Gorge. And since Tina’s tried to charge us a cut throat SGD15 a night for accommodation, we walked a bit further to Walnut Grove where we spent the night at Tibet Guest House for a sweet SGD10.