Friday, November 28, 2008
HIKING THE TIGER LEAPING GORGE
The Yangzi River begins in Tibet and flows East through China emptying into the East China Sea in Shanghai. After about 200 miles from it's origination point in Tibet, it takes a sharp bend and passes through two snow mountains (Haba and Jade Dragon) forming the Tiger Leaping Gorge just West of Lijiang in Yunnan Province.
This is where we began our 5 day journey. We combined hiking and driving in order to include everything we wanted to see. We hiked the upper trail through the Gorge then passed through several mountain villages ending up near the Tibetan border. We stayed in local "homestays" which were small guest houses where we shared meals prepared with vegetables that were picked less than an hour before we ate them. These were the best meals we have had since arriving in China nearly 3 months ago. Some of our favorites were radishes, cabbage, water lily, various roots, beans and red chili peppers prepared with rice as a side dish. We also enjoyed the Baba bread and local walnuts. Our least favorite was the "Yak Butter Tea" which tasted like we were drinking pure melted butter.
These villages were made up of several different cultures (Naxi - pronounced Nashi, Yi - ( "E"), Hui (Who A) or Muslim, Tibetan, Han and Lisu (LeeSue), living and farming peacefully together in their mountain homes. One day while hiking through several small villages, I am sure we were invited for lunch at least 5 different times.
Near the Haba Village we visited the White Water Terraces where the Naxi culture originated. It is said that these natural white rock formations shaped like small terraces were a message to the farmers on how to terrace the land. From the looks of all the beautifully terraced fields, the farmers received the message.
I am certain this journey will be among the most memorable adventures during our stay in China.