Taming the Yangtze

Trip Start Apr 30, 2006
Trip End Mar 25, 2007

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Friday, October 13, 2006

Born in Tibet and dumping into the East China Sea 6300km later, the Yangtze is China's longest river. We followed it for about 3 weeks visiting various cities and sites after leaving Tibet. This entry and the 3 gorges entry focuses mostly on the natural (or destruction there-of) places we visited spanning from Tiger Leaping Gorge to the 3 Gorges Dam.

After waiting out the rain in Lijiang for a few days, we caught a break in the weather and b-lined to Tiger Leaping Gorge where we'd spend the next 3 days hiking through the carved out canyon. O.K. ... Tiger Leaping gorge is a "can't miss" if you find yourself in this part of China. It is one of the best hikes either of us have ever done and as one of the few things in China (so far) that has completely exceeded our expectations.

Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the largest gorges in the world and is visually one of the most dramatic landscapes we have ever seen. It's 16km long (if you were on a boat) and its sheer cliffs tower 3900 meters (13,000 feet) above the river. It's an awe inspiring sight to be navigating the cliff that abruptly falls to the Yangtze while looking up at such enormous mountains.

So when we look at this feat of nature, we see immense beauty... what does the Chinese government see??? Wasted hydroelectricity potential. For those who (similar to the Chinese) are worried that we aren't using our share of power, fear not... the government will start the construction on the Tiger Leaping Gorge Dam in 2008. In about 10 years this natural wonder will be gone; replaced by a much more pragmatic hydroelectric power plant and a backed up lake. And if you think you'll be able to go up river to find a flowing stream, think again. The Tiger Leaping Gorge Dam is just one of 8 dams that are planned for this part of the river.

So take a peek at the pics and if you have the chance, visit the gorge while its still there!
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