Chop Suey

Chop suey (Chinese: ; pinyin: suì; literally "assorted pieces")

Much like the popular dish Chop Suey this blog will be a mix of assorted thoughts, stories, pictures and the like from our adventures in China.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Yunnan Er (2): Gorgeish

After welcoming the Chinese New Year with a plethora of people and fireworks in Lijiang, we took our travels to a more peaceful locale.  60 km north of Lijiang is one of the most spectacular places Emily or I have ever traveled: Tiger Leaping Gorge.  The jade colored water of the Yangtze River slices 17 km between the 17,000 + ft Haba mountain and the 18,000+ ft Jade Dragon Snow Mountain creating a startlingly beautiful World Heritage Site.  It is a popular destination for Chinese and international tourists and outdoor enthusiasts.

The full details of our epic adventure are too numerous to include here.  What will follow is a list of random occurrences and thoughts we experienced.
  • We were off to a rough start when our van driver dropped us off 20 km away from the beginning of the LTG trail.
  • By 11:00 we finally began hiking after cramming into another van with 3 other Chinese men that dropped us off at the beginning of the trail.
  • The paved road quickly turned into a maze of goat and foot paths leaving us to fight our way through brush, brambles, and bushes before locating the actual trail.
  • Altitude sickness effected Erica, and hunger from skipping breakfast turned attitudes sour.
  • We arrived at a house on a ridge where an old woman took advantage of tired unprepared hikers selling outrageously priced fruit, water, snacks and the local marijuana variation.
  • At this same location we were shown an accurate map which included the "28 bends" the most intense part of the LTG which our map failed to make note of.
  • The gorgeous view from the top of the "28 bends" began to improve moods.
  • An enterprising Naxi (the local minority group) man charged 8 yuan to take a picture from a very scenic overlook.  This was land he did not own.  "Picture, 8 careful"
  • 3:30 we reached the first of two villages along the trail and sat down for a well deserved lunch.
  • We finally reached our unplanned stopping point, The Halfway Hostel.  It is by far the most beautiful hostel I (Carl) have ever stayed in.  Beds were about 5 dollars and the views were breathtaking.  Hot showers were a welcome treat.
  • Sitting on "Inspiration Terrace" a large group of foreign travelers from France, England, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia, and the US assembled. Great discussions about traveling adventures, dinner.

  • Sleep was little due to a chorus of snoring led by a cheery, rather mysterious Frenchman named Colin.
  • Breakfast was delicious, a hybrid crepe pancake covered in fruit, honey, chocolate, nuts or some combination of the four.
  • Back on trail in shorts and t-shirts!! but sore from yesterdays efforts we were treated to the sight of several waterfalls and improving views of the Yangtze below.
  • The downhill climb began Sunny struggled to stay on her feet in her fake converse all stars.
  • We could hardly believe it but the trail to the bottom of TLG was sketchier than the previous trail.
  • Tolls along the trail had to be paid to local families who "maintained" the trails.
  • Views from the rock that the Tiger Leapt from were amazing (especially for an ex-raft guide, apparently the gorge has only successfully been navigated once)
  • The way up included climbing over poorly built bridges and a 20 m ladder which quickly became the most frightening vertical climb I have ever ventured on.
  • After climbing out of the gorge we sat down for a delicious meal at Tina's hostel.  Emily had the Naxi pisa (see pic)
  • A van and mini bus ride dropped us off in Lijiang allowing us to catch a train to Kunming that evening.


  1. Wow! That sounds like quite the adventure! The pictures are great too! It's great to keep up with you guys and we love your blog! We miss you!
    PS. One thing I learned from staying in hostels for 6 weeks is; ALWAYS bring ear plugs, there never fails to be one person who snores as loud as a train! :)

  2. Hurray! I love how diligent you guys are being with updating all of us on your happenings. Thanks for the vicarious adventures!