Part 2: Tiger Leaping Gorge
Some people talk about highlights of their life and life changing experiences. You know, "I saw this Celine Dion video and it changed my life." I'm not surprised... but I have to say climbing Tiger Leaping Gorge was a highlight of my life without hyperbole. It is one of the deepest gorges in the world (bigger than the Grand Canyon!) and you take a high trail up the north side of it. It was brutal, dramatic and beautiful all at once and despite it taking three days I wish that we'd taken more time to do it. It is pretty much impossible to do the trip justice on a blog but here ya go anyway...
This is the view on the slow ascent up which we started in the afternoon. It was quite a gradual climb so...
...its fortunate that Ruth and I were at the top of our physical form and bounded up the gorge without breaking a sweat. This was us an hour into the climb.
The best thing about the trek is that there is a guesthouse every few hours so we arrived at the Naxi Family Guesthouse after a couple of hours to take in the beauty of the Gorge and a good night's kip.
Day 2: We started early and this was Ruth's reaction to the road ahead.
If you've seen this sign in real life you know what an achievement it is to see it. Its at the highest point on the trail (2,660m!) at the end of the so called 28 bends which is a winding ascent to this spot (its more like 28,000 bends). The sign actually says "5km til the nearest McDonalds."
As it is such an achievement, I need to show photographic evidence that we both made it. Ruth looks proud, I look like I've just seen the new Beastie Boys video...
It is impossible to show how high we actually were but we tried to show it in this photo. To give you some idea of scale, that's the Yangzi down there and that thing is fucking huge, yet it looks like a stream from where we were.
This is the view to our right as we marched on through day 2.
We finally made it to our second guesthouse. This is the view from our window. Yeah, you can say it... its impressive I know. This was also the guesthouse with the Michael Palin toilet. I thought of him as I used it... So proud.