Yunnan LTX

Corey, Pascal.

We took the afternoon flight from Shanghai Hongqiao to Lijiang airport.
The flight was around 4 hours and we drove around 3 hours and half from Lijiang to our final destination Liantiexiang (LTX).
With the summed delays, we arrived around 2am at the village. During this time of the year, the night is quite cold (around 0 degree).
After a short and chilly night in our local hotel room, the Yunnan adventure could start…

Day 1

Meeting at 9am for a quick brief with Mike.
Today is potentially the best day and we will go to Baimachang for XC.

We meet Albert from Kunming that helps us to find a breakfast in a local noodle shop.
He also advises us to get something for lunch. We get a massive spicy sweet potato baozi each.
Mike's chinese Jeep allows us to drive offroad up to a few hundred meters to the takeoff.
Piece of cake final walk… until after a few steps I realize that we are at 3000m from the sea.

We arrive to the top, fill our stomac with the baozi and get ready for a crispy XC.
And this crispy XC is damn crispy! With two layers of gloves, the fingers are still freezing.
The air is chemical and the thermals are very rough. We get a couple of collapses. The valley breeze is pushing us to our target, Shaxi village.
We eventually reach 3900m height but nobody hits the Shaxi village this day.

We decide to have dinner and a couple of beers in Shaxi before driving back to LTX.
Shaxi old town is a touristic place with a lot of small shops but also bars which is not common in chinese old towns.
We bump into a few foreigners hanging around. Back to LTX, we finally hit the frozen bed at 11pm.

Baimachang - Corey's flight
Baimachang - Pascal's flight

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Day 2

Today, we decide to check the 2 local takeoffs.
We start with the highest one since the wind is usually too strong there later in the day.
After a small hike from the road in the shadow, we reach a nice plain with a cyclic breeze.

The takeoff is smooth and we head toward the propeller hill at the north.
The thermals are cyclic too but we can wait in between using the dynamic lifts.
The cold however is still there and we decide to go to land at landing #3 after less than an hour.

For the second flight, we use the lower takeoff that is an excavated part of the mountain.
I can reach the powerlines above and after a little gain, cross them up to check for lifts at the top.
I find nothing but a strong wind from the valley.
After crossing back the powerlines, I decide to probe the valley in the direction of the landing and take a few pictures.

Once landed we walk down to the village as it is not far from landing #3.
Today is a special day and the hotel family is having a new year's eve barbeque in the backyard.
We eventually get pulled into the ganbei and feeding session.
Later, we walk to the local muslim restaurant to celebrate the new year's eve with beefsteaks.

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Although we booked the last flight of the day to Shanghai, we still need to leave LTX quite early.
We decide that instead of doing one or two drop flights, we can spend the day in Lijiang and do some tourism.
We leave early at 7am and can enjoy the sightseeing on the way back to Lijiang.

The big thing in Lijiang is the old town and indeed, that is the biggest old town I've ever seen in China.
It is filled with many similar shops. The tea shops, the djumbe shops, the folding lamps shops, the food shops (of course!)
I pull Corey into a Puer tea tasting session and we try both the famous raw and ripe Puer cakes.
Time is running and we slowly head toward the airport, around 40min south Lijiang.

The flight takes off on time and arrives on time.
The traffic is quite smooth in Shanghai.
I am still dreaming about Yunnan's mountains.

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