Odyssey to South of the Clouds... (p10) - by the river i walked (cont.)
Ray of light trail
Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan
it was the hiking day.
honestly, i was a bit clueless on how things would be as i was unable to grasp the intensity of effort that i need to put this time. other than ASP and the travel sites, the real life experience seemed lacking, when i googled the internet. in addition, most were talking about the hiking the longer trail from Qiaoutou to the upper section of the mountain which normally takes days.
i wasn't in mood for such long hiking trip, as it was not the only activities that i had on my itinerary during this odyssey.hence, hiking the middle section of the gorge sounds more than perfect to me, as it is doable within a day, and plus the opportunity to get closer to the breathtaking Jinsha River.
the day began early with breakfast. i had naxi bread breakfast set that cost me 10 yuan. it came with the fried egg, a bowl of polenta and black tea. to add some flavour, i had my 'serunding daging' to accompany the meal.
breakfast was good. i mean the food was ok, but the ambient was a wonder. it was calm and so peace to hear the sound of nature etc. we sat by the window of the cafe, enjoying our breakfast with few of the guests.
once done, i went to see the staff and asking the direction of the trail, and he told us that he'd ask the van to send us to the entrance of the trail. it was a short ride and the driver dropped us near the sign. there was a path leading down next to it.
we were greeted by an old naxi lady, from the house accross the road. she mumbled something and came to us and pointed to the signboard next to a hut beside the entrance of the trail. ah..an entrance fee. i don't recall much, but it was either 10 or 15 yuan. something that we did not expect, i mean the fee. as we read the short notice written there, probably it was a scam, but... that was too harsh.
it was not an official park fee, as that one was paid the day earlier at 65 yuan. this entrance fee to the trail was collected by the locals, as it was claimed by them that the trail was maintained by their families etc. as much as i felt the fee was a rip-off, but the claim made sense, as seeing at certain part of the trail, where the rocks being arranged properly, ladder being provided at certain parts of the trail and even the hanging bridges!
so, here we go. the first part of the trail. going down to the Jinsha River. again, same as what we experienced back when we were at Shangri-la, spring did not make its distinct present here too. it was dry. the trail, the trees etc. i bet the it would look much better during summer.
we made few stops before reaching the first viewing platform, mostly to memograph the place. it was breathtaking, indeed and i think my geologist friend would be able to appreciate more the place.
the energy level was still at it peak, as we were descending the gorge. we met the group of 'students' that rode with us from Bai Shui Tai yesterday, and managed to make friend with them. despite the language barrier - wefie, sharing snacks etc.
we finally arrived at the first viewing platform of the gorge. i was almost disappointed at first, as i thought that was the furthest that we could go as i saw hikers were resting etc. and even saw some hiked back already to the same path that we came from. but then i saw the sign board and few people leaving via the narrow path next to the viewing platform heading further. ah..that was a relief.
the local lady that was selling the crafts and drinks at the platform asked us about the entrance fee, and we showed her the tickets that the old lady gave us earlier. she gave us a nod.then, another group of hikers arrived, and was interested on buying the stuff that she was selling. that kept her busy for a while.
i looked at my watch and we just did less than an hour of hiking. we continued to walk, almost the same time as others leaving the first viewing platform. the narrow trail and steep at most of the parts definitely a challenge for a guy with a acrophobia gene like me. eheh.
as far as i can remember, we had to pay few more fees, walking down the trail to Jinsha river. the locals, who claimed they took care of the trail, the wooden bridge and ladder etc. , guarding the trail before permitting us to continue.
at one of the stops, we were asked to pay a sum of yuan, which sounds higher compared to others, but the lady explained, that it included the fee of the bridge and if we wanted to use the 'sky ladder', a more than 150 steps of a steep and sometimes vertical ladder that would bring you back to the road near the bridge next to Tina Guest House, where we stayed.
we decided not to climb the the ladder, but routed back the same trail where we came from. she was fine with that.
so, after another 30 to 45 minutes, we made it to the river's bank, and decided to pay to use the hanging bridge that led us to the so called 'tiger jumped stone'. it took us closer to the one of the bend, where the rapid stream flowing.
#mantap gak kalau water rafting neh.
ok. about the bridge. i wasn't that confident to cross it, as the plank seemed ageing, but i managed to overcome my fear. for sure, it has to be one person at a time, crossing the bridge.
we took our sweet time, for a while, enjoying the breathtaking moment. words unable to totally express my feeling. it was too awesome. i tried as much as i could, to get closer to the water, carefully bending myself at the edge of the rock/stone, and started to set up my tripod and camera for the slow shutter thingy. it took a while to get the best shot. i mean, i had to hold still the tripod due to uneven surface of the rock, and the kept wiping my filter because of the splash.
once done, i packed back my gear, and we crossed back the bridge and move to the next big stone at the river's bank. again, i had my gear set up, and then continued doing my thing. once done, we both decided to gave ourselves a rest before continuing our walk to another bend of the river-trail.