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Trekking Tiger Leaping Gorge

This was one of the highlights of the trip trekking in this outstanding inspiring scenery of the gorge. It is one of the deepest in the world, is 16 km long & the sides are 4000 metres above the Yangtse River. ( the longest river in China)

We left on a mini bus at 8am from Lijiang for the town of Qiaotou ( Chowtoe in pronounciation!!) which took us 2 1/2 hours. met some great people on the bus that we hung out with for the next 2 days. There was Nick & Laura on their honeymoon from London. He works in IT & she is spanish & is a producer for CNN in London. Also was, Jung from Germany & Delfina from France both vets working in Bangkok for an Animal Welfare NGO.

We paid our 50 Yuan each ( $10) & were pointed up the hill we needed to start walking. We were walking the High Trail & not the low road where cars could drive. We all had our mud maps & there were painted signs on rocks pointing where to go ( mind you they wre easy to miss sometimes). We had a stalker with a horse that had a loud bell ringing behind us & he kept saying we or our bags could hop on if we were tired. After the first couple of hills I gladly gave him my backpack to put on the horse & we negotiated 50 yuan to take it to the top of 28 bends. This was the best $10 I have ever spent!!! This was approx 4 - 5 hours into the the 8 hours we needed to cover today to reach Half Way Guesthouse before dark. We didn't leave till 10.45am so we knew we would need to walk at a good pace. What a difference it made without the backpack - so much easier but still hard!!!.

We made good time on the first leg to the Naxi Family Guesthouse ( 1 1/2 hours) to have lunch. The views just kept getting better & better as we continued to get higher above the gorge below. At lunch I invited a girl sitting on her own to join us - she was Alison from Sydney & had been working for a year at the Australian Embassy in Beijing & was taking some holidays before going to India to work in the Embassy there.. Had a good lunch & rested & chatted for an hour before the next stage which would be the hardest for the day. They call it the "28 bends" - a series of switchbacks that takes us vertically up to 2800 metres above the gorge & we had a tough 900 metre ascent to do.. It was hard work & I had to step every couple of switchbacks to get my breath back. The horseman was behind all the time urging me to hop on the horse ( to get more money!!) but I was determined not to give in!!

Great views of course from the top point of the path. We were still no where near the top of the mountains that towered over us & the other side of the gorge had mountains with sheer vertical sides with their snow capped tops hidden in cloud. Got my bag off the horse & it was easy to take it the rest of the way as there were no more steep uphills today just fairly flat as we walked along the ridge of the mountains. Sometimes the path was terrifying as it narrowly hugged a cliff & the drop down was 1000 metres or more at times. No tripping allowed here at all !!!.

We stopped at Tea Horse Trade Guesthouse for afternoon tea & a rest & then on to finish the last 2 hours before dark. This part of the walk we passed swveral waterfalls tumbling down the mountain side We arrived at 6.30pm with half an hour of light left. Nath & I got a dorm for 15 yuan for the night ( about $3 each!!) The air was VERY chilly now & we neded to rug up as we sat on this rooftop deck to look over the huge mountains so close & straight opposite us. It was such an amazing view over Jade Dragon Snow Mountain that was impossible to catch on film. We sat & rested our weary legs & had a cold coke after our hard days walk!! ( we did around 20 km)

Met the rest of the people staying there, a group of Israelis, 2 mad aussies ( a husband & wife who climb mountains with ropes & hang off cliffs just like the ones we were looking at!!) They were here in China for 2 months to climb as many vertical bits of rock they could find!! Then there was Wolfgang from Austria who was about 6 1/2 feet tall & travelling in Asia for 5 months & his hobby is to climb mountains. He found this trek a " walk in the park" - does BIG mountains in Austria!!

Had a yumy dinner & tried for dessert a chocolate Ba Ba which is a local food & very nice Also tried wood fungi - tastes like mushrooms. Everyone sat around & talked till we strated drifting off to bed. The bathrooms were outside & it was too cold to have a shower so decided to skip it. The squat toilets are " loos with a view" & are open looking over the hillside down the gorge.

Glad I had my thermal underwear to wear to bed as it was cold!!! Nath & I went to bed about 8.30pm & at 8.45pm this group of 5 chinese people arrived & had walked the last 2 hours in the dark!!! Pretty scary as they could easily have fallen off an edge. Talked to them for awhile ( they were in the dorm with us) & as we all planned to go to Shangri - La tomorrow they invited us to join them & we could all hire a mini van together.

Starting out

Starting out


The pack horse

The pack horse


Nath, Jung & Nick & the horseman

Nath, Jung & Nick & the horseman


The journey upwards

The journey upwards


Delfina & the horseman cheating

Delfina & the horseman cheating


Nath & Laura

Nath & Laura


Nice flat track

Nice flat track


The river keeps getting smaller

The river keeps getting smaller


Nath, Nick & Laura - surrounded by mts

Nath, Nick & Laura - surrounded by mts


Nath & I

Nath & I


Looking over the mountains

Looking over the mountains


Nath near one of the scary drops

Nath near one of the scary drops


More mts

More mts


Another scary drop

Another scary drop


Lunch stop at Naxi Family GH

Lunch stop at Naxi Family GH


More views

More views


More walking

More walking


More walking

More walking


Around more cliffs

Around more cliffs


More scary edges

More scary edges


Steep cliffs

Steep cliffs


View from Halfway GH Rooftop

View from Halfway GH Rooftop


Towering mountains

Towering mountains


Nath on the swing

Nath on the swing


Loo with a view

Loo with a view


Rooftop view

Rooftop view


Our dormitory

Our dormitory


Outside the dormitory

Outside the dormitory

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in China

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