7 October 2009

Tiger Leaping Gorge

The last stop on the tour of China was Li Jiang in the South West of China, close to the border with Myanmar. But despite the long distances we had travelled we found ourselves once again by the Yangtze River.

Here the river is slow and placid as it flows through the deep Tiger Leaping Gorge, which gets its name from a legend of tiger jumping across to escape from a hunter.

A walkway has been built for tourists (mostly Chinese as they were everywhere we went) along the one side of the gorge.

The path has been hewn unceremoniously out of the rock and has regular signs warning you of falling rocks, though quite what you were meant to do if there was an avalanche was less clear.

At times the rocky headlands proved too much for the path builders and we took detours through the cliffs.

At other times parts of the path had been abandoned for safety reasons and new tunnels had been built through the cliffs to take us along a safer route.

And sometimes the path had to be cut so far into the cliff that the rock completely covered us.

The walk along the path from the coach park was about 1km and offered many impressive views of the gorge and the river. It was a wonderful walk and we thought that was the reason we were there.

Then we came across the rapids.

At this point the path was some height above the river and we looked down on a scene of wonder, violence and noise.

We could also look in admiration and some concern at the people on the viewing platform on the other bank.

But as we got closer we could see that there was a viewing platform on our side too and that was were we were headed.

The platform was probably somewhat closer to the river than would be allowed in this country (don't you just love our Health & Safety rules?) and that allowed us to get right up next to the thundering water.

In fact we were often in it as the waves frequently crashed over the platform. What fun!

As days out go, this was pretty much on the button; a good walk with great views ending with a soaking that children of all ages would revel in.

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