Sunday, March 31, 2013

Photos from the Best Trek in Southwest China: the Tiger Leaping Gorge

I have declared the Tiger Leaping Gorge the highlight of all my travels in 2012, certainly the highlight of my trip to China. I have written a guide to trekking the Tiger Leaping Gorge, too, for those who want to venture out to this corner of Yunnan province in Southwest China. For a relatively small amount of effort and money, you get to experience in return one of most geologically historic regions of China—being the source of the great Yangtze River—and one of the most spectacular landscapes in the Himalayas. Some people may not like it when they are told what the proper way is to travel, but believe me, you are missing out if you head to Southwest China and not experience with your own eyes, feet, and lungs the marvel that is the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Still not buying it? Behold. Here be photos.

Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, Yunnan, China
Easily my favorite photo from our trek to the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Weather began overcast that day.
By mid-afternoon, however, clouds part to reveal the magnificent jagged face of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
The Yangtze River right after it makes the famous U-turn at Shigu towards the narrow canyon
of the Tiger Leaping Gorge and on to the prosperous basins of Central China.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Snacks and water vendor sits along the trail, right when it rises to a challenging section called 28 Bends.
Here, the trail repeatedly switchbacks as it climbs up the steep slopes of Haba Snow Mountain.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Lunch stop for the first day of trekking the Tiger Leaping Gorge: Naxi Family Guesthouse.
The views here alone are worth taking a 30-minute break.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Most parts of the trail in the Tiger Leaping Gorge trek are dizzyingly precipitous.
One wrong step and you fall where? See next photo.


Yangtze River, Yunnan, China
Frothing waters of the Yangtze River seen from above the sheer drop
of the high trail of the Tiger Leaping Gorge.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Tremendous heights of the Tiger Leaping Gorge so close, Michael Palin says,
he feels a magnetic force determined to tear him from the flimsy ledge.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
At around 5 p.m., we finally reached our stop for the night: Halfway House.
I still dream about the scary high vistas from its view deck balcony area.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Beautiful blossoms bloom in the tail end of winter. We are after all
still in Yunnan province, the land below the clouds, where winter holds little sway.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
After freshening up in Halfway House's No. 1 Toilet in Heaven and Earth,
I witness one of the most glorious sunsets I have ever seen. Mordor-esque, isn't it?


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Early start of our second day of trekking the Tiger Leaping Gorge

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
In a few sections of the high trail, we got to see the peaks of the actual mountain we were trekking on:
Haba Snow Mountain.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
Water falls from the heights of Haba Snow Mountain
found along the high trail of the Tiger Leaping Gorge


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
The Tiger Leaping Gorge widens out towards the end as the Yangtze River flows on to Sichuan province.

Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
After about seven hours of trekking the Tiger Leaping Gorge
spanning two days, the high trail finally descends to join the low trail.


Tiger Leaping Gorge, Yunnan, China
We finally reached the end of the trek at Tina's Guesthouse, and restlessly waited for the bus back to Lijiang.



Are you not yet convinced yet that traveling to Yunnan province to trek the Tiger Leaping Gorge is one of the best travel experiences in this part of the world? No? Here is my complete set of photos from trekking the Tiger Leaping Gorge. Still no? Then I give up.


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