He has been on the road for 11 years; his hiking adventures have taken him three times to Lop Nor, known as the "Sea of Death" in northwest Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and Danggula Mountains in Tibet.
Now the 76-year-old Li Dong is taking a short break in Shenzhen before he heads for the final destination in his latest journey, a 3,200-kilometer hiking trip from Lanzhou in Gansu Province to Hong Kong.
Shenzhen is Li's last stop before he leaves for Hong Kong, the end of a trip the man had designed to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's return to China. He left Lanzhou on July 1.
His hair cropped short and skin tanned, the weary Li was greeted by his niece in Nanshan on Thursday. With only a small bag on his person, Li looks much younger than his age, but the man said that when he retired 16 years ago as a druggist, he was suffering from arrhythmia, cholecystitis and arthritis.
"My obsession to hiking actually began with my own treatment to the diseases 16 years ago, which was walking," said Li.
But with his health problems eased and his vitality restored, Li was not satisfied with walking to maintain his health anymore, he wanted to see what the limit of his endurance was.
In 1996, after a successful 29-day tour on foot from Lanzhou to Shijiazhuang in Hebei, Li was inspired. "The trip brought out the tremendous energy inside me and I think I found a project that deserves all my time and energy in the rest of my life," Li said.
Soon he planned another trip to Lop Nor and finished it in 66 days.
Li does not plan to hang up his hiking boots after visiting Hong Kong. Next year, he will walk from Lanzhou to Beijing to mark the Beijing Olympics. Taiwan is another place he plans to visit.
(Shenzhen Daily October 16, 2007)