Trekking Tiger Leaping Gorge - Wow
Trip Start Jul 21, 2006
62Trip End Ongoing
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Where I stayed
Five Fingers Guesthouse
There were a couple of things that I looked up before we came out to China, places that I was intrigued about and keen to visit. Being a very simple person, they were two places that had a little folklore, and lovely stories attached to them. The first was Jiuzhaigou (I spell it differently every time), and the second was Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Jiuzhaigou's emerald green pools were created (honestly), when the Tibetan god of war, enraged by the goddess Semo's vanity and lack of attention for him cast down her mirror from the heavens - shattering it into 100 beautifully broken slivers forming the lakes we have seen... Quite a story... not sure if I mentioned it before.
Now - Tiger Leaping Gorge (well it's all in the name isn't it really). The truth ("story") here is that a huge and noble tiger, after being relentlessly pursued by brave local hunters was cornered and took a remarkable jump to safety by leaping the gorge at it's narrowest point
The gorge is a few hours north of Lijiang by bus, and we arrived in the evening according to plan so we could be fed, sleep, and be breakfasted before starting our trek. I ordered Yak burger for breakfast but unfortunately they didn't have any so it was porridge instead. The gorge is the 3rd deepest in the world apparently.. according to the Chinese anyway.., with peaks on either side reaching an average of 4,000m (13,000ft) - The river Jinsha Jiang roars through the gorge, and the section that we walked skirted fairly high along the northern side of gorge, before decending at the end of our walk to the river.
We took two days and walked about 10 miles per day. We have been extraordinarily lucky so far with the weather on our horse riding, camping, national parks and walking, and our luck held whilst we were here. We sweated our way up "the 28 bends", a series of many more than 28 switchbacks on the rocky path up, taking you up 3,000ft from Qiaotou. This took us to about 9,000ft ish and afforded us some wonderful views, we then continued at just below that level for the rest of the trek, stopping halfway at a lovely guesthouse called "Five Fingers" - we (as the only guests) recieved a wonderfull reception, the family went out of their way to feed us and make us at home
I won't blab on too much about the walk except to say that it is the highlight of China so far for me, and the perfect tonic to the overtouristified oldtownthemed chinesetourgroupridden claustrophobic feelings that I was starting to get after Lijiang/Dali/Yangshuo. Blue sky, very fresh (if a little thin) air, and a walk which took us well away from coach parties.
The second day we walked on, and at the end of our traverse, dropped down to the river. This was via "the sky ladder", a drop of a couple of thousand feet made possible by a hacked path and iron ladder fixed to the gorge side. It is maintained by local families so there was a bit of a toll but we didn't mind that - just for the experience. We visited the tiger leaping stone, and returned the long way round from the bottom of the gorge to the small road, via the "ray of sunshine" path (also maintained by locals) that took us through a cut in the side of the gorge cliff face.
Tamsin and I will pop in some comments to accompany the piccies, I won't keep writing nonsense, just say that it was a lovely couple of days in some spectacular scenery.... And that I hope that the planned damming project proposed for the gorge doesn't happen (I heard from someone that the authorities are potentially shelving the project... lets hope so).
Take care of yourselves and we'll be in touch soon!!!