The Bottom of the Gorge- so steep !!
Trip Start Sep 03, 2009
46Trip End Oct 24, 2009
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Met up at Tina's with Jung & Delfina who left from there to go back to Lijiang. Hiked down into the gorge with Wolfgang & Alison. This was stunning & so much harder than the first days walk. We paid 10 yuan each to walk down Teacher Zhangs path. It was so steep & was hard on the knees & took 40 mins to go downhill. The water in the gorge was thunderous & loud as we got closer & just watching the power of the water was so impressive. You would never survive if you fell in. We sat for ages on a rock platform just watching the awesome power of the water. Looking back to the bridge where we had walked down from was a couple of thousand metres above us!!
We paid another 10 yuan to head up a different path that had some ladders & took us up to Sandy's guesthouse. First over a rickety wooden bridge over the waterfall that runs into the gorge & then up we went!! This was sooo hard - my lungs were screaming for air & my quads were complaining!!! It is nearly straight vertical up by a series of ladders & steep paths that luckily had poles & a side to stop you falling over the steep sides.
Back at Tina's we met up with the 5 chinese led by Sabrina from Shanghai & jumped in the mini van to head via the backroads north towards Shangri La. Alison joined us & we dropped her off at Ha Ba a tiny little village where she was staying. Nath & I had decided we would go as far as the next village - Bai Shui Tai. I didn't want to go as far as Shangri Las as it was a very windy mountain ( not good) road & they would be driving in the dark. Arrived at this village at 5pm & there was 1 place to stay which if it was a guesthouse(????!!!) didn't even have a sign. There was 1 dodgy room & a bathroom ( which you could smell from 50 metres away) & it was 2 buildings away. Nath & I looked at each other & as much as we didn't want to go on to Shangri La couldn't stay here!!!!! We would have been the only westerners in the village!!!
The Chinese group wanted to visit the limestone terraces while we were there so we wandered around that. Very pretty & same as the ones in Yellowstone Nat Park in the USA. WE had paid 26 yuan each to get this far & now had to negotiate with another driver. It wasn't going well at first & not looking like we would get out of town but eventually got the minivan for 40 yuan each ( 280 for the car). It was 6.30pm by the time we set off & there was only 30 minutes of daylight left. The roads wre steep, we only averaged 30 km an hour, so the 100km journey to Shangri La took us over 3 hours. We passed a landslide & drove over washed out sections from a waterfall - pretty drive but scary in the dark!!! I spent the journey regretting that decision & wished we had gone the other road to Shangri La but we made it safely!!
Got into a guesthouse in the Old Town for 20 yuan each in a dormitory. It is a very old rustic 140 year old wooden house. The air outside is very cold & when you walk in it is lovely & warm from a wood stove in the centre of the lounge area. It was now 10.30pm & we hadn't had dinner so set off with Sabrina & co to a VERY local chinese restaurant. This was great as I had wanted to do this & eat with locals how they eat.
There was a big pot of chicken soup cooking in the middle of our table & they kept adding raw ingredients - tofu, veggies, ham, chicken Everyone had a bowl of rice & you just kept literally fishing from the pot to get out what you wanted to eat once it was cooked. The soup was great, some of the added things not so great but it was a lot of fun. So cheap - only cost 15 yuan each ( $3) - much cheaper than western style restaurants.
Got to bed around midnight - all snuggled under a big heavy doona. The shower was again outside & it was freezing so now day 2 without a shower!!!