Sunday, September 1, 2013

Yessi in the USA ~~~ 在美國yessi

No matter how big the sea may be, sometimes two ships meet.
  Chinese Proverb

Yessi came to live with me this summer for 4 months.  Time went fast, too fast, and has now returned to China.  Our plan was that I would return home to China with her, but this dream was contingent on us both getting jobs for Tutwo which didn't happen unfortunately.

Christ Church Earthquake
Damage from Demolition, first at the hand of God, then at that of an excavator operator.
We had a wonderful summer hiking, camping, traveling, spending time in our little cabin in the woods, visiting with family and friends, seeing the sights, and just being together.

Yessi Ye and dbBrad in Hong Kong.
As of this point, we'd spend less than a week actually together, but almost a year since we'd met.
We met in the spring of 1012 in New Zealand, just before I was finishing the Te Araroa trail.  She followed me on my adventures on the PCT as I hiked from Mexico to Canada and then when I was done, I decided to go visit her.  This was prompted by the need for a root canal.  Such circumstance that we met in NZ at McDonald's of all places, spent one week together hitching to the other side of NZ, one day walking Crist Church and then said good by, only to meet again over a tooth ache.

Hong Kong from the water.  A magnificent city.

Somehow I have a knack for adventure and Yessi seems to like this.  She is caught between two cultures, the traditional stereotypical Chinese patriarchal family she was raised in, and one of travel, democracy, equal rights and opportunity she has glimpsed in her extensive traveling.  Adventure is within her grasp and she's ready and willing for anything.

Yessi (Chan Ye) and her family under the covered porch
that serves as entrance and outdoor living on the top floor of their building.
So we turned our quick trip to China into a quick trip to Nepal where we headed into the Himalayas and hiked the Annapurna Circuit (December 2012).  This was wonderful, with ups and downs, but we are a good pair.  Since I was to be hiking all summer for Green Trails, I suggested she come and hike with me.   A good deal, to be together, to travel hike ad adventure, and to get paid for it!  And so we spent the summer of 2013 together in the U.S.

Chan Ye, Yessi or Lil'Sherpa at 3000m elevation along the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal.

My relationship with someone from another country on the other side of the planet has taught me to make the most out of the time you have.  We don't know our future, but we had 4 months together and we wanted to make the most of it.

Freestyle and Lil'Sherpa spinning prayer wheels.
At this point, she was 4 days into her first backpack trip ever and I was at 4850 miles into my year of hiking.

I think a person would be hard pressed to get more adventure, more sight seeing, more experiences and more love into 4 months. Here's a quick synopsis of our summer together ~~~

Yessi and Freestyle at PCT kickoff 2013.
Yessi and I did a lot of traveling this summer.  We also did a lot of hiking.  We hiked near the Mexican border in the desert; along the Pacific Ocean in California at Big Sur; in the Olympic mountains; in the Cascades;  and at Mt. Rainier.

Yessi in Glacier Peak Wilderness
We went up and down the pacific coast from Mexico to Canada and were able to intersect the PCT in many places.  Yessi has now hiked on the PCT many miles and is interested in doing the whole trail, inspired by my hiking the trial in 2012, and our visits to some of it's most beautiful places along the trail.
Yessi along the PCT at Lake Campo, about 25 miles from the Mexican Border.  This photo was used in the
 TuTwo Magazine that  is seen all over China.

All totaled we hiked over 650  miles this summer.  She says she still loves it and wants to do more in fact she keeps talking about hiking the PCT.  Perhaps I'll be on that trail 4 years in a row!

Yessi on the PCT at Chinook Pass, about 2200 miles from Mexico

Besides hiking, Yessi seemed very interested in a variety of activities.  She took well to glacier travel and desires to climb mountains and to learn rock climbing.  She was an outstanding cycle passenger, our mode of transportation from one end of the West Coast to the other.

Brad & Yessi in the faithful BMW.  We put 3000 miles on loaded with backpacks and camping gear on our road trip to PCT Kick off and then all around the Ventana wilderness up and down Hwy 101 and the surrounding roads between Big Sur and King City then back up the coast to Washington.

Yessi at REI, Seattle

She has my fascination for tractors, cars, motorcycles and all things that go.  Yessi wanted to drive everything from tractors to lawnmowers.

Yessi driving a tractor at North Bend at my dad's home
Yessi mowing the lawn at our cabin on Whidbey Island

Family time included a camping trip at Hamma Hamma Campground in the Olympics together with the celebration of my birthday. 

Ed, Benton, Brad & Yessi

A very, very happy birthday spent with Yessi
Somehow, we were also able to squeeze in a TuTwo tour of Langley, Seattle and many outdoor shops, including Wander on Whidbey on Whidbey Island
TuTwo visitors at Langley's Second Street Market

And with the spirit and freedom only afforded in America, she wanted to go shooting.  So during our last visit to my dad's, we got out some guns and went shooting.  She did amazing well, never flinching, unafraid, confident and she hit the target every time.

Yessi giving target practice a whirl

We managed to squeeze in lots of other fun activities, like lily fighting, a game of wit and strategy with a face eating flower!
Yessi's face lost the battle
Swimming in the lake and catching crawdads in a home made trap which I can't take credit for but wish I could.  Pretty ingenuous and made by a guy that didn't finish middle school.

A tour of Boeing's Museum of History and Flight and how they make the airplanes that got her from China to Seattle, and took her away again.
Brad & Yessi at Boeing in front of GE's largest turbine which utilizes carbon fibre blades.  Hard to believe plastic can be used in a jet engine, but this is some of the finest most reliable and efficient engineering in the world.

Meeting the man behind Hong Kong's number one coffee chain, Pacific Coffee.  Gary's home and business are located right here on Whidbey Island.  There are about 1200 Pacific Coffees, almost 400 just in Hong Kong alone.  Several 40' containers a month get filled with coffee roasted and packed right here and sent oversees. 

Brad, Yessi & Gary at Mukilteo Coffee
We visited one of the tallest falls in Washington, 270 feet in Snoqualmie, a town I grew up in.  She didn't believe the Salmon can jump that high!

Yessi at Snoqualmie Falls

We took  ferry rides where we could see Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountians including Glacier Peak, Mt. Rainier and Mt. Baker, two volcanoes, and the Olympic Mountiains where we spent several weeks hiking.  On the evening of the 4th of July we took the Edmonds Ferry to Kingston and on the way were rewarded with spectacular fireworks displays from Seattle to Edmonds, to Everett, to Kingston.

Yessi, Ed and Fran on the Mukilteo ferry.
Yessi & Brad arriving in Clinton on the Mukilteo Ferry

We went to Ibex at University Village in Seattle to shop for the best outdoor clothing you can get, made from Merino Wool, right here in the USA.  Yessi  returned to China with some fashionable new clothing, made in America!!

Yessi at the Ibex Store
We had a picnic with lots of Whidbey Island locals at the Maxwelton Beach, and enjoyed beautiful views watching the sun set as a variety of local musicians filled the air with their music.  Our feelings were warm and magical as one can only get at a gathering of friends and family.

Maxwelton Beach picnic

She even got to see 'the bear'!!  Quite a coincidence to see a brown black bear with a view of Mt. Rainier, wildflowers and beautiful Yessi all together!

Mt. Rainier in all its glory

All in all, we had an amazing summer.  I sure do miss her, but we will be together soon, either here or there, but we are committed to finding a way to make it happen.

Incongruous as this seems -- sweet Yessi with a fierce weapon.
Probably very few Chinese not in the military have ever even seen a gun, let alone held one and fired it.
If this doesn't assist her visa approval, I don't know what will!!


It is by chance that we met, by choice that we became friends.
 Author unknown

dbBrad poses with another Heart drawn this summer hiking for Green Trails.
Heart On The Trail has a whole new meaning now, thanks to Yessi!