D12: 直罗 - Me China Red - CycleBlaze

March 30, 2021

D12: 直罗

From a news report about leopards in Shaanxi
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During my strenuous efforts at "refusing to get out of bed" this morning, I took the opportunity to look up the occurrence of wild leopards in Shaanxi Province so as to convince myself that the oilfield workers had, in fact, been trolling me; and that "wild leopards" were a standard in joke for them the way "left handed monkey wrenches" are for job sites in the US.

And.....

Well....

About that....

The wild leopards in the Ziniu Ridge Nature Preserve are doing very well with a documented population in the triple digits.

There was also video. Of a leopard. Of a leopard casually strolling down a road I recognized from having biked it the day before.

At the time the random security camera on a pole had seemed strange to me and I'd just assumed that the nearby camo colored  infrared triggers at ground level had something to do with the nearby building (signposted in both Chinese and English as "watch tower").

Which means that while the hoofprints I saw in the soft dirt probably were horse as horses are a truly amazing and versatile method of getting around mountain areas, the paw prints that I'd convinced myself to be "dog" likely weren't.

Filled with a renewed gratitude for my incredible ongoing luck at successfully not being dead, I went out for lunch and explorations of the nearby pagoda. I thought about trying to find a vehicle to take me back down the road to the more findable of the two sets of Grottoes I'd missed (more findable being defined as "anyone I spoke to had ever heard of it") but, by the time I'd finished the 397 steps up to the pagoda, the 397 steps back down, and the nearby museum to the "world famous" Battle of Zhiluo Town, I was done for the day.

Today's ride: 3 km (2 miles)
Total: 491 km (305 miles)

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