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I absolutely love all the fabulous people we get to meet through running this hostel. Recently, we had a photographer from Colorado, Dan (Dan Ballard Photography, dan4242.zenfolio.com) stay with us for about a week. Somehow he convinced Kris to wake up with him at 4:30am on several occasions to catch the early morning light on the mountains. I especially enjoyed having him around, having grown up in Colorado and with my photographer father who loved to find remote and beautiful places to catch just the right lighting… For one the trips, I was considering taking the group out to photograph near Ya Jia Gein, one of my favorite locations near Kangding, but Kris ended up going…and in the end, when I heard what happened that morning, I was so relieved I hadn’t been the one driving. As it turned out, they hit a patch of black ice around a curve, and nearly drove off the side of the mountain. Incredibly, the front of the car hit a rock that was right on the edge of the drop off. They moved the rock a foot, but that wonderful rock prevented them from going off the edge. Kris said he thought for sure they were going over. His thought was, “I might survive this, but there isn’t going to be anything left of this car.” Oh, I love that rock. Thank you, thank you rock for being there. Because it was there, there was no damage to the car or anyone in it. And they all still chose to continue on?!

Outside the car after the skid off the road.

The skid marks left from our car…and the rock they hit.

Dan being videoed by the surfer brothers.

Trying to get into the lake on the road but there was too much snow.
They parked back on the main road and hiked into the lake.

Click to see some of the photos Dan captured in the early mornings with Kris. He photographed #6, #9, #10, #13, #22, #25, and #28 all from locations near the hostel. Dan, your photos are absolutely stunning. Come back again someday! Here are some of Kris’ own photos from those mornings:

Despite the near run off the road!??, we did enjoy these early mornings full of quiet, stunning beauty. Thanks to Dan, we may just end up making these a regular event at Zhilam.