Sunday, July 24, 2011

Three Gorges Cruise Part II (7/24/2011)

Sunday, July 24, 2011
Today was a cloudy day. I give these weather reports to excuse the grayness in the photos!
We were docked at Fengjie, to allow some people to pay extra to see another temple at Baidicheng/White Emperor City. These folks at least had an escalator (under shady roof covering) halfway up the hill:
The gate to Fengjie:
Baidicheng was founded by a soldier who made his headquarters here. One day he saw a white vapor in the shape of a dragon rising from a well. He took this to mean that he should declare himself the White Emperor and he renamed the city.
Some commerce below our balcony:
Later we passed Baidicheng on the island that was previously a hill until the water level of the river rose after the dam was built:
Entering the first of the three gorges - Qutang Gorge:
The narrow gap is called Kui Men/Gate:
The mountain on the south bank is called White Salt Mountain.
A fortification on the north bank:
A road?
And the mountain on the north bank is called Red Armor Mountain:
On the south bank, calligraphers have written on the Chalk Wall:
Towering cliffs:
Bellows Gorge:
Supposedly there are coffins in the vertical gaps.
Pointy peaks:
The lone resident of the Qutang Gorge:
Folded rocks:
Brynne and Kent in Qutang Gorge:
Uplifted landforms:
Mountain after mountain:
Time for lunch in the boat's dining room:
Now we are entering the second gorge - Wu Gorge:
Much taller mountains:
Lion Peak:
Trust me, at one point that bump on the mountain did look like a lion roaring into the sky!
Looking for the Goddess Peak (in the rain):
Goddess Peak is the wee little finger of rock to the right of the craggy peaks:
Okay, this time my research said that Goddess Peak is the highest of the Twelve Peaks and is the first to catch the rising sun. However, our river guides made a point of saying the little finger of rock is Goddess Peak, because it looks like a woman turned to stone. At the same time they tell of the legend of the boatman's wife who climbed the mountain every day to look for her missing husband, until she turned to stone. My research also came across that story, but it seemed to be separate from Goddess Peak. With that in mind, take everything I write here with a grain of salt!
Narrow valley:
Some of the Twelve Peaks:
There is a legend of Yao Ji, a fairy in heaven, who convinced her eleven sisters to visit earth. They encountered a man trying to control the flooding, and Yao Ji decided to give him a special book on the control of water. But she and her sisters were arrested and chained by soldiers from heaven. The man broke the chains, and together they stopped the flooding. The sisters stayed to help the local people and became the Twelve Peaks.
The barge traveling upstream stays closer to the bank so as not to fight the swifter current in the middle of the river:
Coal mines along a tributary river:
The water level mark:
Normally the level of the river would be at the top of the cleared area on the bank. But now is the season to prepare for the floods by lowering the river's water level by 30m/98'.
Uh, oh, it's pouring rain now!
Later we approached the city of Badong at the end of Wu Gorge.
Another river cruise ship passes us:
A world-class bridge:
Our cruise ship docked, and the passengers transferred to a ferry boat for our excursion up Shennong Stream:
Entering the Shennong Stream gorge:
While the water of Changjiang/Yangtzre River has been muddy brown, the Shennong Stream water is green:
The stream is labeled:
Here we will go through three mini-gorges. First Longchuan Gorge.
Look closely for the hanging coffin (a couple boards) about 2/3 down in the narrow gap:
The Ba people believed in burying their dead as close to heaven as possible, but it is still a mystery how they got the coffins up there in these gaps.
Someone took a bite out of this cliff:
Elephant Peak:
I believe we are facing the elephant head-on.
Getting narrow ahead:
I think we are in Parrot Gorge now.
An optical illusion:
Uplifted rocks:
A local farmer who did not have to be relocated:
Swallow Cliff?
Now we are in Bamboo Gorge.
There is yellow bamboo growing here:
Limestone stalactites:
Peapod boat aground:
Jerked into the 21st century:
They are building a superhighway from Yichang to Chongqing.
The stream is getting shallower:
The peapod boats of the Shennong Stream trackers/trekkers:
Here we transfer to the trekker boats to experience ancient river transportation:
Mass transportation?
A local Tujia abode:
A local Tujia trestle bridge:
Brynne is blue!
The narrowest section:
A waterfall:
Three rowers at the front of the boat:
One rower and the tilllerman at the back:
Site of an ancient market:
A local:
Two of the rowers climb the bank to show us how they once pulled the boats upstream:
The effect is lost because 1) the water level is too low today, and 2) before the dam the water level was much lower, and the trekkers really were pulling you up through the rapids of a stream.
Hoa jia/friend:
Clear water:
Boats being pulled upstream:
Greeted by music:
The Tujia people love to dance and sing, and in exchange for having our guide sing us a Tujia song, she made us sing "Row, Row, Row Your Boat."
It's a race:
Unnamed stalactite:
The narrow part again:
This white stalactite is called the Viper:
Swallow's Cave:
Ths sun has come out!
That's the ferry that took us up the Shennong Stream:
Back in the river cruise boat, we continued down the Changjiang.
Passed coal storage and off-loading docks:
New bridge, old pavilions:
That evening we had a Talent Show of the passengers, with only two volunteering. A young Indian boy did a fun rendition of Michael Jackson. So the crew had to do a few more dances, including the "Trekker Dance:"
Now, originally the trekkers worked naked, because wet clothes chafed. (New fabrics alleviate that problem!)

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