Meredith and I spent our Saturday running a few errands and exploring the surroundings area a few minutes walk from Duyun. While picking up some DVDs for the evening the day before we noticed some pagodas on the hills/mountains surrounding the city. The following day (this morning) we set out to to find them. After getting a bit turned around, finding an outdoor public gym (common in China), and crossing the river a few times (we later learned there are 2 rivers) we were able to find our way out of the city. We picked a street that headed up, seeing that was the general direction of the pagoda (above) and continued on our way. The street quickly turned from a street into more of a road and headed into a forest. We were eager to walk in the forest rather than on the busy street so we continued on. After another 20 minutes of walking we find the lake that was mentioned on a sign a little earlier. Now, the standards for a lake in Asia are much different than in the US. We have come across a number of "lakes" in Nepal and now China that would hardly qualify as a pond in the states (okay, thats a bit harsh, definitely a pond but not much of a lake). The lake did have a dam though, which I suppose boosts its credibility a little bit. At the far end of the lake we saw a boat and headed to investigate. Near the boat we found a path and continued on up the hill to the ridge where we found stone steps, lots of stone steps. We continued along the ridge and up to a number of false summits before finding the pagoda overlooking the city. It was a good view of the city on a fairly bright day (for Guizhou standards). If you look at the pictures posted you will notice all sorts of construction going (no new housing development can be built unless each building is 30 floors!). The city is undergoing tremendous growth with almost all of the buildings in the picture built since 1997. Most of the old city has been demolished and wooden homes have been replaced with concrete apartment buildings. After resting from our hour and a half ascent we headed down from the other side of the pagoda. We were back in town in an astonishing 20 min; we may not have taken the most direct route to get to the top, but we did get the most scenic. As we were exiting to the main road we say a sign proclaiming the enterance to Qing Yun Lake and Duyun National Forest--I guess we missed it earlier.
I have uploaded a number of photos from the trek, nepal, and our day hike today on a website. Click the link to view them if you like.