Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tian Mu Shan and the Leeches

The graduate department of our university put together a wonderful trip to Tianmushan, a mountain nature preserve that has two peaks approximately 1500 meters high. The department arranged a bus and allowed me to fill it with some friends and past students.  Here we are:  Amery, Chris, Peter, Tim, Anita, Sophie, Rebecca, Jack, Sue, Danny, Lisa, Sarah, Jenny, Vincent, Sara and Blue!

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Xiao Zhou has been so great all year - I send him all of my copies via email every week and he has them printed and ready to go for me every Tuesday morning!  I feel quite spoiled as all of the other teachers have to make their own copies.
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Sue, with my student Lisa, a 2nd year law student.  Since this is a preserved area, there are many large trees and it is SO green!  It was also very hot today, probably 90 degrees, and cloudy.  Very humid and warm!
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Sue found some sort of chrysalis from some long gone resident.  We saw these all over the place, and the forest was abundant with butterflies.
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Maybe this fuzzy fellow will build one too!
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Xiao Zhou, and another one of my past students, "Blue".  I think she always wore blue in my classes, but today she wore red!
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Peter and Jack took a break and hung out by one of the many waterfalls we passed on the way up the mountain.
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"Sara" and "Lisa", two of my law students...
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Peter and Jack talked to Chris, who is studying for his masters in Precision Measurement.  He is also a very fast runner and is the fastest hurdles runner in Zhejiang province.   They like the same video game, Warcraft 3, so they had plenty to discuss.
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Rebecca and Anita came with us too, and it's always a pleasure to have them around.  They get on so well with the boys and Sophie LOVES them!
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Peter with Jenny.  He is now about the same size as most of my students :).
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Here he is again... I think he's now taller than Rebecca and Anita.
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... but he hasn't passed me up... YET!
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Jack found a creative way to get across the stream - shimmy across a fallen piece of bamboo.  I was SURE he was going to go into the water but he made it across without a problem.
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Here's Chen Ye, "Sara" next to one of the large trees in this dense forest!

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Sue and Anita admiring the foliage...
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Now we're half-way up and it's very warm out.  Everyone is soaked to the bone with sweat and we're all hot as you can see from our red faces!
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We found a nice resting spot beside the trail and sat down for some lunch.  They brought a spread of duck-wings, some sandwich fixings, cookies and other munchies for lunch.
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Then Peter noticed something on Jack's leg.  It was a LEECH!  Yuck!  I managed to pry it off of him with my fingernail.  Here it is stuck to a chopstick.  One of the other teachers at the university warned me that leeches are prevalent at Tianmushan and I should take great care to wear long pants.  I took it as so much Chinese folklore and thanked her for the advice -- but it was TRUE!
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When we got home tonight, Sue pulled off her socks to find a leech had bitten her through her sock and her wound bled for quite awhile.  They are really amazing creatures.  They put some kind of anesthetic on the bite area, so you don't feel them bite.  Their saliva contains anti-coagulants so the wound bleeds and bleeds.  Sue's was still bleeding a couple of hours after we got home and treated it! 

The green path that we were walking on - so tranquil - it looks deceptively cool, but it was so HOT!
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Sophie found a little fountain and tried to splash me the best she could!
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The fountain comes down this bamboo trough that originates near the waterfall.  Many people drank from it but I wasn't going to risk it only 7 days before going home!
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We did however put our heads under it, and it felt GOOOOD.  Thank goodness for short hair.  The girls with all of that long black hair decided not to have a go.
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Taking my turn... so refreshing!
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We took a little side-trip to a really stunning waterfall...
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Here we all our for a group shot!
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Making our way up the slippery rocks...
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All the more difficult with Sophie on my shoulders.  She decided that riding was more fun than walking.  I can't say I blame her!
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... a view up the ultra-green path!
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Finally a break at the lookout point.  It was a bit cloudy so the view wasn't that good, but it sure felt good to rest after carrying Sophie up here!
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Anita, having a break after a tiring hike!
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... and here we are, 2/3 of the way done!  Rebecca and Anita are standing in front of a tree that died about 80 years ago and is more than 2,300 years old!
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We're all egging Sophie on. "Sophie, can't you please WALK?  You're so LAZY!"
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We made it back to the bus down the mountain and transferred to our bus back to Hangzhou.  We all had a great time today being out in nature!

1 comment:

Bob & Amy said...

Ack - the LEECHES! It sure was a beautiful hike tho, was it worth it? Hope you are enjoying every last minute - time flies, doesn't it??? Safe travels to you!!
The Mahers