Nancy & Tony's Little Break travel blog

The scary ride into the gorge (note the recent landslide!)

Start of the walk down the gorge

Above the middle rapids

Scary drop!

Try white water rafting here!

The Middle Rapids - where the tiger leapt the gorge

A well deserved beer.....

View over to Jade Dragon Snow

View from guest house

The Middle Rapids

Waterfall at Middle Rapids

Safe Bridge?!!

Down at the rapids, hope these give you an idea?

Same

The start of the walk up

Dont look down

Tony at top of ladder

Looking down the gorge

The tramper!

One of those cicadas (dead of course!)

Jade Dragon Snow - up to 4000m above the rapids!

Our guesthouse and bridge above waterfall

Walk down to lower rapids

The walk down

The walk down

The walk down - waterfall

The walk down - bridge over waterfall

The walk down - bridge over waterfall

The middle gorge

The middle gorge - rapids

The walk up - ladder top right

The walk up

Flowers back at the top

Tony

Bridge


Nancy doing this for a change.....Tony has decided Planet Rugby is more important :) We are so so happy we decided to make the effort to come to Tiger Leaping Gorge, the weather was stunning as was the scenery, we did loads of walking or should I say slipping and sweating but we felt great at the end of both days. Was great to have got the muscles moving and heart pumping. The gorge is breathtaking. It is where the Yangzi River starts its long journey into China, and the large river squeezes itself amazingly between two huge mountains - the Jade Dragon Snow (as mentioned in Lijiang) at 5,600m and Haba Snow Mountain at 5400m! For 16kms, the mountain sides literally plummet down to the raging torrents below. No white water rafting here! Actually the drive into the gorge itself is heart pumping enough! In parts there have been mudslides and the road is reduced to rubble, and as the car is bumping over the potholes you get a view over the edge to the rapids way way below roaring past. And above us, not only the occasional falling rock, but also waterfalls crashing on to the road! We both had clammy hands and sweaty brows by the time we got to our guest house! Tony's footnote, this went on for nearly the whole 16kms of the gorge and is the first time on our journey that Nancy has said those words "I do not want to die!" Although I think when she was flipped out of the raft on the Zambezi, she was too gobsmacked to say them! We found our guesthouse, but had been not sure what to expect. Had seen a few buildings hanging on to the sides of the cliffs, but thankfully ours was in a little clearing, but still in a dramatic setting. On our first day we did the walk/slide down to the the bottom of the gorge to the middle rapids where the mythical tiger supposedly leapt across, the water was racing through the gorge, because there has been a few mud slides the water is very brown, if you fell in there is no way you would survive, these rapids made the ones we did on the Zambezi River look like tiddlers! If you had to give a rating I reckon at least a 20!!! It was amazing to get down so close and at times the pathway was so precarious with the rapids below it was truly frightening! although the walk down was nothing to the clamber back up the other side, will get on to that once finished bleating about getting down... The views up and down the gorge were breathtaking and for the first time in China we were on our own, only saw about 5 other people on the track and it was so peaceful (so good to not feel like you have just had 20 smokes in the space of 20m's, or be avoiding spit at every stride) When we got down to the bottom there was a really high waterfall flowing into the rapids below, which made them even stronger, hopefully once I get to load the photos (China proving to be even harder than Africa for doing this) it will show how big the rapids were... At the bottom you climbed over an old plank bridge(which they charge you 5Y each for) then charge you another 10Y each to go up the ladders, (as with everywhere we have been in China so far, nothing is free!!) These costs are on top of the 50 Yuan each to enter the Gorge. Anyway back to this ladder the walk to the ladder was adventure enough with signs saying "Danger of falling rocks - go quickly!", this was after the lady you pay below saying, "Very slippery at the moment go slowly".....Great!! Needless to say we made it up the path and the ladder safely. The ladder was vertical on a sheer rock face, and was 20m high. By the time I got to the top I was taking such huge loud breaths, if anyone had been around they would of thought I was giving birth... I'm not embarrassed to admit I was shit scared, the lady at the bottom said don't look down, I was so scared I was almost not even able to look up! It did not help that the ladder steps were too high for my short legs so I was a sweaty mess with the effort (very attractive picture I am painting of myself for you..) Tony said I was white as a ghost at the top, and of course he was fine!! To think I used to be a real adrenaline junky, not anymore!! Finally we made it to the top, walked back to Tina's guesthouse where we were staying and rewarded ourselves with a couple of Dali beers, they had these cane chairs that leaned back like lazy boys (but looked a bit like wheelchairs) and we sat back looking up at the gorge and the peaks of Jade Dragon Snow mountain and decided that this place had shot up to our No.1 beer drinking spot, most relaxed we had felt in a couple of weeks!! Tremendous and we felt like we had earned it as well. The next day the weather was still being good to us and we set off on another walk, this time we got a wee bit lost going up the sides of Haba Snow Mountain and did not make it to our destination, but the views were spectacular again, so we did not mind the backtracking. Was still fantastic to breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the tranquility of being in the mountains. By the way, they have some wonderful large butterflies here in the mountains, and some not so lovely very large cicadas. They actually look like small birds, and sound like chainsaws! They were everywhere and fly like maniacs crashing into everything, including us! Like something out of Jurassic Park. Finally, we walked along the road to Sean's guest house, saw the lower rapids and sampled some of the local food, and especially local herbs, and spent the rest of the day very chilled indeed..... It did start to rain early evening and a couple we spoke to at dinner said the taxi ride they had into Tina's a hour earlier was pretty dangerous, rocks tumbling down and really hard to see, I can only imagine how awful it was as we were nervous enough when it was sunny!!! Lucky us again as the sun was out this morning when we got up and the drive out of the gorge was uneventful (IE no rocks or landslides..) we were feeling a bit sad to leave our little oasis and the madness of Chinese tourism hit us at about 12kms from where we were staying. Most of the Chinese tourists just bus it to the upper rapids of the gorge, go to the look out and turn around and go back, which is why it is paradise further up into the middle of the gorge. When we got to the upper rapids look out, there was at least 40 big buses all queued along the road and when we got to the entrance of the gorge about another 10kms along there was at least another 20 buses waiting for that lot to leave.....very happy to have done it the way we had, much much more enjoyable.

Tony's 2nd Note: Better come and enjoy this place while you can. The Chinese Government wants to dam the lot! Its a 2nd project on the Yangtze (after Three Gorges) and covers over 500kms (displacing over 100,000 people) including Tiger Leaping Gorge. Its not a done deal yet, but by all accounts this wonderful gorge will be gone by 2009......



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