This blog entry is Mr L’s story of his Tiger Leaping Gorge trek as told by the texts and photos he has sent me.
Trek Day 1:
After an uneventful 2 hour bus journey in mist and drizzle, we reached the starting point. Altitude 1875m and 10.45am.
The track was fairly straightforward, steep but you would have done ok.
On the other side of the gorge is a huge construction project, they are building a road and rail viaduct, impressive but spoils the view.
At around 12 we reached Naxi guesthouse, a lovely farm. A good lunch of rice and vegetables. Altitude 2200, so a good climb already.
After lunch is was a fairly steep climb up to the start of the 28 bends. It took about 40 minutes
There was a resting point at the start where we all got our breath before the bends
The bends were very steep, very rocky but with spectacular views. Struggled towards the top and very relieved to get there
At the top! Hard work and very relieved. Altitude 2680 so a big climb. Down hill from here.
Very steep dirt track on the way down but easy after the climb. I did most of the route with the 3 youngsters which was nice. We ended up finishing about 40 minutes in front of the others so not too shabby
Arrived at the guesthouse around 3.40. Amazing setting. Rooms basic but I don’t think I will have a problem sleeping! Altogether an amazing day. Dinner soon here.
Made it! Hard work up the 28 steps but overall feeling good surprisingly. Finished, showered in a freezing cold shower and now enjoying a beer. No way would you have made it.
Trek Day 2:
A good nights sleep and ready for day 2. A cool morning with the mountains shrouded in mist. A breakfast of fruit yoghurt and muesli and a surprisingly good cup of coffee. 9am and we are off.
A reasonable trail to start with and spectacular scenery.
The trail soon narrows and we are walking along the side of the gorge. The views just keep getting better and better and with level ground we can really appreciate them
After 1.5 hours we reach the half way house guesthouse for a drink and rest. The guest houses are all attractive and offer a range of refreshments. Snickers has become my regular choice.
Setting off we see farmers bringing the corn up the hill on their mules. Corn does seem to be the staple crop, it is grown everywhere, regardless of the slope. The path gets narrower and the views even more spectacular.
We meet some very tame goats, they don’t get out of the way!
We have to navigate a waterfall which flows over the path
Some of our fellow travellers. We passed a small temple perched on the side of the mountain
After a couple of hours we had a relatively short ascent, only 8 bends, nothing after yesterday!
Then came the very steep descent. Fortunately the ground was dry, if it had been wet it would have been treacherous. Not many photos as phone was securely put away and the walk needed full concentration.
So we finally made it to Tina’s guest house, a functional youth hostel which was quite crowded. Surprising as we had seen very few people on the hike. Finished at 12.40 so a short day. Legs and knees sore from the descent but felt pretty good considering.
2040m, 6700ft was the finishing altitude. I passed on the yak cheese dumplings and made do with a beer and a bacon and egg sandwich from Tina’s.
Our bus which brought us back to Lijiang. The road back was interesting, hairpin bends and in places narrow because of land slips. Back in Lijiang a definite sense of achievement, which hike next!