February 16, 2014

Mountain Village & Lugu Lake

From Thailand I took a flight to Lijiang with a 12 hour layover in Kunming, just enough time to run home, repack, shower and get 4 hours of sleep. The next day I arrived in Lijiang and took a bus and a van with my friend's friend to Shuhe for the night at her friend's hotel (so chinese all these friend and friend's of friends). The next day we took a van to a truck and then traveled for about 4 hours on a terrible and winding road. From there we took motorcycles through the only road leading up a particular mountain. Then it was on foot, down the mountain and into the river valley and then back up another mountain to finally reach our destination! For almost 2 weeks I was a farmer/village/mountain girl, doing everything that they did. What fun! These pictures are just a glimpse into the astounding beauty that living in a secluded mountain gives you. Enjoy!

I'm in love with this place.

On the top floor are the bedrooms and underneath are the animals.

This could be one of the ones we ate while I was there, so fresh!

Helping with the load.

Giving the horse a rest. He also slept under my room.

This guy may look friendly but not when he sleeps right next to you and wakes you up too early!!!
Thank heavens for ear plugs!

I love when you can see the moon in the daytime.

Every night, fire stove. 

Mischievous little nugget.

No wifi, no TV, just family time <3

Every single night. They just got electricity a few years ago...

Look up!

Where ever we went, she went. We worked and she played.

Just lovely.

Taking a break to drink rice wine. They don't drink water while working, only tea and "wine".

Couldn't keep her clean if you tried.

Everywhere beauty.

This is in winter, I can't even imagine how green it gets in summer.

Everything we planted had to be watered,
so we always started every job by
finding a water source from the mountain.
Sometimes near, sometimes far.

How do all Chinese have the same kind of funny hats? I don't look happy,
but I think it is because I was starting to
feel my sunburn. At such a high elevation (same as Tibet)
I had to really learn to be careful of sun exposure.

Every day we worked in a new place on different mountains.

Sometimes it took over 40 mins to walk there. The paths along the mountain sides were very narrow,
in some places only a shoe wide and on falling, gravel rock. I swear I almost fell straight down the
mountain more than a few times. I kept wondering how the horses were making it!

Looking down into the valley.

Weeping Willows are beautiful all over the world.

I found a stick bug.


Her poor teeth.

There is always something to be done.

Everyone always knew what to do and sometimes I felt lost
and thought that maybe they thought I was lazy. That would not do!
So I went in search of a project. These are windows,
which I didn't know at first because they all looked like the top three.
I had to use the edge of a huge butchers knife (I only cut myself once...)
and a lot of soap, but over time...

...you could see out of them again. My friend said in all the years she lived there she never
saw out of those windows until I cleaned them!!! I can't imagine.

Giving a depth of field lesson.

I love teaching photography. They haven't quite learned the manual focus yet...

One of the cousins stopped by to drop this bird off for the little girl (she is crazy about meat).

It didn't seem worth all the work to me (removing the feathers and hairs etc), but they enjoyed it and don't
really considered taking apart a bird much work... 

We could do this for hours.

The beauty in log cabin cracks.

I did a color study while I was there. These are just a few.
The camera can't quite capture the truly amazing depth of color I found everyday.

A little complicated but they cut off the branches of this tree because it was
producing chestnuts with shells that were too hard, then (what you see here)
they were taking branches from trees that had a better harvest and putting
them into this tree. There is probably a name for this, I just don't know it.
I thought it was pretty amazing, he learned to do it from a video on the
internet and is the only one who has had success in the surrounding villages.

Hard to get any work done when you have this amazing view!

Chestnut trees, I liked to call them angel trees. We planted over 60 of them while I was there.

Just trying to stay out of the sun.

Creating our own irrigation system. 

Taking a break from getting food for the pigs and horses.

There's always something to take a picture of.

Sometimes we got to nap in the last rays of warm mountain sunshine.

Everyday dirty and no makeup, I like it haha.

Good morning little nugget!

Hate to ruin the picture with an arrow, but I wanted to point out the incredibly awesome fence we built in one day!!!
Someone's goats kept getting into the crops so we decided to not only mend the fence, but extend it to another
mountain! We worked all day cutting down small trees and prickers and dragging and placing them strategically
to create this 'fence'. After we finished we all sat on the opposite mountain and admired our hard work.

Tender moment in the lunch prep madness.

I believe great things to come for this precious family.

Trying to find ground that wasn't still frozen.

Planting trees on a cold, snowy day. At least we got to watch all these birds.

"I've seen people just like you before....on TV!" -that dear man

One of the best weddings I've ever been to, who needs a stereo when you have a flute?

The flash was a bit much for them.

That lady was so dear! At the end of the night she tried to take me home with her.

She was my favorite! They are laughing because I am speaking standard Chinese and she is speaking the local
dialect, but somehow we managed! 

I made too many friends to count!


The men inside drinking, singing and toasting. The groom wasn't even there! They have 3 or 4 day weddings
and each day is different. On this day the groom's family came and brought gifts, etc.

Next day we were off to Lugu Lake. I've never been so cold for so long in all my life!
Don't get on a motorcycle in winter unless you are so prepared!

.....But the views were seriously amazing.

Taking a boat to the island.

Temple on the island.

Make a wish for 10 yuan.

: )


As you can see, it was hard to leave the mountains.


  1. Lindsay, I feel like I was there! Amazing!!!

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