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Tiger Leaping Gorge (Summer Break)

HeyHeyand a Big G'Day Toya

The Tiger Leaping Gorge or Hutiao Xia is a most stunning, awesome and a beautiful scenic walk. The top walking trail is closed during and after rains for safety reasons. Margo rang Sean for us and he gave us the go ahead to begin but to be very careful as it was officially closed until the following day.

After a shower and a hearty breakfast we left our big packs with Margo and set off to begin the Tiger Leaping Gorge Trek.

We said our good byes to Margo and walked up the road passing Susan's Guesthouse (I think that was the name), found the little school and headed across the football ground. After stumbling over a pile of rubble we stepped foot upon the dirt track and wound our way up the hill. At Nuoyu Village we followed the yellow arrow to the right and joined 'the High Path'. Unless you are very unfit or nearing 90 years of age, don't take the 'Low Path' as that is the road that has a million tour buses on it.

From here it is supposed to be about 6 hours walk to Walnut Grove.

We decided not to walk the entire six hours and take it a lot slower and stop somewhere between. The walk was just amazing. It's not a hard walk physically but breathing is a little hard so taking it easy is a good idea. We would stop every twenty minutes or so and sit and stare at the scenery. It was totally awesome. The girls had walked all over the Scottish Highlands and commented that this was just as beautiful.

For those worrying about getting lost, there is no need to worry; in fact it's quite impossible.

There are yellow arrows to show you the way at all the confusing sections were local tracks cross the main trail. Without the arrows most people would end up in a little village or someone's back yard having to retrace their steps to continue. For those whom worry about becoming too physically tired to continue, there is also no need to worry as there are men with donkeys at many points along the trek. In fact, we had one of them followed us for most of our first day waiting for one of us to become too tired to walk or slip and break an ankle.

He stayed a good 5 minutes behind and never bothered us.

We stopped at a little Naxi Guesthouse for lunch and a rest. The food was great. Several other trekkers from around the globe soon joined us. Our donkey man sat for tea and food and smiled his happy smile which I'm sure was aimed at one or all of our ankles! After half an hours rest we continued. It's hard to describe how beautiful the gorge really is in words so I won't even try. I'll leave that for the photos which also do it no justice.

To borrow some figures from the Good Book, the gorge is 16km long; it's one of the deepest gorges in the world and its 3900 meters from the waters to the snow-capped mountain tops that continually draw your attention.

The hardest part of the entire walk is covered on your first day. It's known as the '28 bends' and with your breathing as hard as it is it makes it a lot of fun indeed. Melanie's gammy knee was making her journey even worse and the donkey man was closing in. In fact at this leg of the journey there were about eight donkey men in total. They could spot a limp from a mile away and at each bend they would holler at Melanie whom politely refused their offer. I finally made it to the top and sat to catch me breath that the views wouldn't allow to return.

WOW! Finally the girls caught up and we all sat in silence for a time before continuing.

We decided to call it a day and to relax with a beer and a Naxi Sandwich when we found a beautiful little guesthouse called The Tea Horse Tyred Guest House. The food was amazing, the beer cold and the views from the toilet were to die for. Seriously, all the guesthouses along the trail had the most amazing views to offer as you went about your business. Some toilets offer graffiti and girlie calendars and others offer the Tiger Leaping Gorge.

We sat chatting to other people whom had chosen to stay at our little guesthouse. As comfortable as it was my sleep was terrible. The whole three of us were continually woken by goats with damn bells around their necks. As they walked around and munched on grass their bell would continually ring.

Wednesday, 17th August 2005

After a beautiful hot shower and breakfast we continued on our way. This day's journey was much easier than the day before. Breathing became slightly easier as you made your way downwards. The views were just as stunning. We stopped for lunch just after passing Bendiwan Village at the Halfway Lodge.

My first stop was to check out the views from the toilet. Even better than the guesthouse we stayed in.

We walked for several more hours and finally made it to Walnut Grove around mid afternoon not long before we passed Tina's Guesthouse. The old Guesthouse was beautiful but the new Tina's Guesthouse should be blown apart. Who ever Tina is she should be disgusted in her self for building such a horrid structure. Another multi-storey white tiled Chinese horror. I was shocked at the sight as we made our way down the hill.

Who in the world approved such a thing?

At Walnut Grove or Hutaoyuan we stayed at Chateau de Woody. We had met people coming from the opposite direction that had complained that the staff at Sean's Guesthouse where not a happy bunch at all. We had also read this in a café back in Lijiang, thus our decision was made. The family whom runs Woody's were just beautiful. The food was fantastic and they made the best Naxi Sandwich I had the entire time I was in Yunnan. As there was no power this night, after dinner we headed to Sean's for a cold beer and some light. We could see the lights from Woody's as Sean's had a generator.

We joined several others for beers and a chat before heading home to bed.

Thursday, 18th August 2005

The showers at Woody's offer a heap of hot water. The ones in the little wooden rooms that we were staying in were closed so we had to use the ones in the larger building across the road. Not the cleanest but I left clean. I'm unsure if they are halfway through renovations or not. If they aren't, the place needs a bloody good clean.

Where we stayed was beautiful but the larger building was shambles.

After yet another Naxi Sandwich for breakfast we decided to walk all the way to Haba. Melanie's gammy knee was becoming very hard to walk on so we decided to take the road. It was a long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, long, damn LONG walk! At one of the first little towns a little dog began to follow us. We tried to get him to go home but he just continued along with us no matter what we did. We named him Flip The Wonder Dog.

There was a story behind the name but I can't remember what it was.

I'm not sure how far we walked but it felt like about 40kms. We stopped at a tiny little food place which I'm sure was just someone's home whom wanted to cook for us for a few Yuan. From here we headed back into the fields and made our way along a most beautiful track that took us up the side of a hill.

Such a beautiful walk.

It rained, we got soaking wet but we didn't care. The day took us along roads, up hills, and when Melanie's gammy knee felt up to it we headed up goat tracks and down the other side. We wound our way up and around Haba Snow Mountain and then down the other side and arrived at Haba around eight that night with Flip The Wonder Dog still at foot. I was so happy to see the Haba Snow Mountain Inn.

The owner was just beautiful and cooked us a huge meal of everything fresh and green.

It was just awesome. Another little dog lived at the Guesthouse and the owner was amazed at little Flips journey and was happy to have found a friend for her little pal. The strange thing about the entire day was we only saw one vehicle going our way. Only one and that was where Flip joined us. Many passed us going the other way but no more were going our way.

Needless to say, we all slept soundly that evening.

Beers N Noodles to ya...shane

Mel, Debs & Flip The Wonder Dog

Mel, Debs & Flip The Wonder Dog


Naxi Food Stop

Naxi Food Stop


Tea Horse Hostel

Tea Horse Hostel


WOW

WOW


WOW 10

WOW 10


WOW 11

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WOW 12

WOW 12


WOW 13

WOW 13


WOW 14

WOW 14


WOW 15

WOW 15


WOW 2

WOW 2


WOW 3

WOW 3


WOW 4 - This is why the Gorge is closed so often!

WOW 4 - This is why the Gorge is closed so often!


WOW 5

WOW 5


WOW 6

WOW 6


WOW 7

WOW 7


WOW 8

WOW 8


WOW 9

WOW 9

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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