Tiger Leaping Gorge I

The first time I read about Tiger Leaping Gorge was from  a book written by J.Maarten Troost (2008):  lost on Planet China.The author talked about his pretty amazing experience  adventuring over the canyon on the Yangtze River  located between two snow mountains  (the Yulong Mountain and the Haba Mountain) in great detail .

All the dangers encountered by him sounded tempting to me, so after some brief planning, two hours flight from Jinan to Kunming, an overnight train from Kunming to Lijiang, and four hours bus from Lijiang to Qiaotou, I arrived at this place where the sky was bluer and trees greener. Together with me were a French couple, an English couple and a Spanish couple whom I met on the bus. We decided to stick as a team at the first ten minutes but after we have started, our team separated into couple I, couple II, me and couple III. The route was dry and full of dust. The sun was burning and we had have nowhere to hide before we reach a guesthouse called Tea Horse, and a man with a tiny horse followed me all the way up, hoping I could get exhausted and pay him to get me to the top. By the time we reached the notorious 24 bends I was already pretty far left behind. The 24 bends were a steep 600-meter switchback ascent to the one of the many summits where you can take a photo after paying five kuai. The sun was definitely merciless, and equally cruel was the route that never seemed to end. I began to feel nauseous and dizzy and the deep canyon in the middle of which runs the Yangtze River looked like hell to me before I finally joined the other at the top for a Snicker. However, after the numerous bend-to-the lefts and bend-to-the-rights the rest of the trek for that day went in smooth landscape and shade under trees. My mother called me when I was alone on the route and she told me she could hear my heart beat. That was one of the few wonderful moments in my life. The tranquillity was touching my soul and making a music-like sound with it.

When the sun started to set we reunited at a guesthouse called half way. It was an extremely lovely place that had cheap rooms, hot shower, and a toilet from which one could have a nice view of the mountains. They made nice ginger tea as well as fried rice. The place is often packed with backpackers from all over the world with a common desire for cold beers. The joyful talking and drinking ended my entire day of exhaustion and all I needed was a good sleep.


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