Thursday, December 18th, 2003 – Day 303

Thursday, December 18th, 2003 – Day 303

I was up at 7.35am and packed. I woke up the house. The daughter sleeps in the shop floor to allow more beds for guests. The granny sleeps in the storage room. I saw her behind some boxes as they stored my bag. I walked down to the bus station. I was in plenty of time. There wee only two other people on the bus. They were Daniel O’Hara and his wife jenny from Scotland. He directed Best First Irish Short at Galway Film

Festival this year. His short called Yu Ming is Aimn Dom. It was two hours on the bus. Very few tourists do the trek this time of the year. That suited me fine as I wanted a quiet walk and fresh air. After nearly falling to my death in Ecuador, I was very very happy to walk with Dana and jenny. We got there at 11.00am. Our bus was at 8.30am and it cost 13.50 Yuan. We purchased our ticket (30 Yuan) and headed off.

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

Click on the picture to see it in its original size

Lijiang – Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek (day 1) (18-12-2003)

We walked for one hour and stooped for lunch at a Naxi house. The food was excellent. The potatoe and pumpkin soup was excellent. We walked on up the 28 bends. We only met one group of Chinese tourists. Five Shanghai girls and one guy. They were fine. Some of the views were great. The walk it self wasn’t that hard. The weather was great with strong heat and blue skies.

Often billed as one of the most spectacular sights in Lijiang and a must-hike for trekkers, the 30km (18-mile) long Tiger Leaping Gorge, which sits between the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain of Lijiang and the Haba Snow Mountain of Zhongdian to the north, is a tad overrated. To be sure, this canyon, reaching a depth of over 3,000m (9,842 ft.), is pretty enough, and occasionally breathtaking; as treks go, it is a moderately interesting, occasionally strenuous, and infrequently dangerous trek taking 2 to 3 days, but by no stretch of the imagination is it the ultimate of sights, as its renown may have led some to expect.

The gorge is divided into upper, middle and lower sections, with two main entrances, one at the town of Qiaotou at the upper gorge and the other at the town of Daju at the end of the lower gorge (30 Yuan; open 8am-7pm). Most hikers now start from Qiaotou , as all foreigners traveling on buses from Lijiang to Daju are required to pay the 48 Yuan entrance fee to the Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Scenic Area between Lijiang and Daju. For most visitors short on time, the gorge can be visited as a day trip from Lijiang or on the way to Shangri-La. Recently, instead of going all the way to Qiaotou, many private-hire taxis and tour buses like to drop off visitors at a newly constructed parking lot on the south side of the gorge across from the town of Qiaotou . After paying the entrance fee, it’s a 2.6km (1 1/2-mile) walk along a wide paved path to the gorge’s most famous sight, the Tiger Leaping Stone, a large rock in the middle of the raging river which gave the gorge its name. The legend goes that a tiger being chased by a hunter escaped capture by leaping over the river with the help of this rock.

For trekkers approaching from Qiaotou , there are two paths: the lower path used by buses and cars as described above, which is a relatively easy and flat, if exhaust-filled, hike; and the higher path, which is longer, more strenuous, and more dangerous because of falling rocks and narrower paths. Check with the travelers’ cafes in Lijiang beforehand for the latest hiking conditions. It is possible but not advisable to do the hike in a day. Basic but charming guesthouses along the way, all with hot water and restaurants, make overnighting at the gorge a relatively painless affair. In general, hikers on the high path can overnight, 6.3km (4 miles) and 2 hours from Qiaotou , where the Naxi Family Guesthouse charges 10 Yuan ($1.25) per bed. Or you can stay at Bendiwan village, 17km (10 miles) and 4 to 8 hours from Qiaotou , which has several guesthouses; the Halfway Guesthouse has beds for 10-15 yuan and some of the best views. ).

Daniel and Jenny were tipped off to stay at FIVE FINGERS guesthouse. Its is seven minutes walk after HALF WAY. What a great place. As we arrived, the sun was setting on the mountains in the background. The lady of the house borough out rusted walnut’s and home produced Honey. We cracked the nuts with a hammer. We then ordered the food while they set up an out door water boiler. They used corn hobs and wood to boil tank of water so we could use it to wash. Very basic but effective. The food was fab. I had Ba Ba pancake with egg and fried rice with egg. My room in a 4 bed dorm (I was the only person) was 8 Yan (.80 cent). Wow. We had a good night and had a couple of beers. The Chinese group we passed also stayed here. They were so loud and hard on the family as they wanted reduced dorm prices. For diner, they picked one of the chicken that was strolling around. After examining the piece of flesh, the man f the houses cut its throat, plucked it and cooked it for them. Excellent.

The stars have never been so close or so bright. It was like Bolivia again while on the trek from Chile. There were thousands of stars out and guess what, I saw three shooting stars. I made my wishes. Pity, I did not know the consolations. Its a cool place,

Four 2 storey blocks surround a courtyard. The houses are built so that they have basements with a door leading to each of the four basements from a courtyard. Within each basement they keep the animals. So while you sleep, 2 meters below you there would be cattle and pigs. Seems like methane heating to me.

There is a husband and wife, a daughter who laughed at us uncontrollably if we did or said something silly and a dote of an old granny. She was only 77 but looked and acted like 117. She welcomed us all individually. She wore her traditional NAXi clothes.

It was not very cold but I only slept OK. I had access to 4 duvets.

One Reply to “Thursday, December 18th, 2003 – Day 303”

  1. Hi,Dear friend:
    It is so wonderful weater and trip in Tiger Leaping Gorge 2003 for you .The pic snow mountain behind you is the most fantestic pic I saw. I live in Lijiang,I hope we can be friends. I am the manager of CITS here,my web is http://www.impressivechina.com. SKYPE:impressivechina

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