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Black Dragon Hike

Sometime at the end of January I got it into my mind to go on an overnight hike. 2013-01-28@11-12-51
A friend of mine and I chose to hike the Black Dragon Pool trail. The beginning of the trail, leading up to a Dali marble quarry, is well worn by pack mules.

The views from the hike overlooked Lake Erhai.

Some of the trail went through groves of ferns.

The trail was worn into rather “deep canyons”.

The Dali marble quarry. It was quite a hike just getting here. I imagine hiking here daily would be a pretty good workout.

However, your office views would be amazing!

A rock wind shelter for workers when the weather turns bad.

I could get used to a view like this! But we weren’t at the top yet…

Above the quarry the trees start thinning out and the mountain gets steeper.

We started to encounter snow.

As we approached the Black Dragon pool, I noticed that the trail was well maintained. I found out from quarry workers that the trail was built twenty years earlier as the route to get to the mountaintop TV station.

It was an alpine environment around the pool.

The pool itself was completely dry. No water to be found aside from the snow.

We found a nice place to hang the hammocks at 12,500ft and cook dinner. Actually, in hindsight I shouldn’t have hung in this gully. I’m quite sure I was catching some katabatic (cool air) drafts coming down the gully. I had a good ground pad as my under insulation, which kept me plenty comfy underneath, but it would have been better elsewhere. The temperature dropped that night and the bag I had (in addition to my coat and other clothes) just barely kept me right at the egde of comfort. I had some trail mix next to me that I would snack on during the night to give me a few extra carbs to keep warm.

Dawn came. An unbelievable display of red followed by a golden sunlight as the sun crested the distant clouds. Glorious.

As the sun rose, I packed up my stuff and went up again to get a look at the pools.

Nope. Still dry. 🙂

We started our hike back down, trying not to slide on the icy snowpack.


On our way we found a pile of rocks left by travelers over the years.

We ran into the quarry workers doing their morning commute up to work. We sat down an chatted with them while the workers had a smoke break and explained the history of the trail. All in all a really good hike. I look forward to making it again when the weather warms up.

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