This morning our China guide Tom handed us over to the Tibetan guide Dancing who will now take us through to Kashgar.
We left Shangri La for the short run to Deqen on an overcast fine day. After a few Kilometres we decided that the scenery demanded that we travel with the roof off.
The day started at 3500 m before descending to cross the Jinsha river at 2000 metre then climbing through spectacular mountain terrain to a tunnel 4000m to Deqen at 3500m in the next valley system over as part of the Lacang / Mekong which will be our drive and river crossing tomorrow.
At times the farms and houses seem to be just clinging on to the hill sides
As we ascended into the cloud at 3000 m it turned to water on the screen which was handled well by Rain-ex. However driving in cloud is only slightly better than driving inside a cow, the saving grace being we were following 3 cars that gave a us a good buffer and warning of oncoming traffic to keep them on their side of the road.
Things got real weird when we entered an unlit 2 way tunnel that caused our screen to instantly fog on both sides. LOL. So it was head out the side till Julie stood up to lean over and wipe the outside first to restore some resemblance of forward vision. In amongst all of this was roadworks and stop go men inside the tunnel, All in all a memorable moment.
The rest of the day was just supper driving scenery till our stop at the Flying Charm Hotel outside Deqen.
Lijiang to Shrangri La Yesterday
The morning started with our departure at 7.00 in the rain, parts of me was thinking what planet were we on when suggesting a 7.00am start and only 190 k’s for the day.
As we left Tiger Leaping Gorge we were very glad that we stated early. On the way to the Gorge we passed many buses of tourist at rest stops all heading to the Gorge. We arrived at the gorge with both car parks only 1/2 full. on leaving the Gorge entry gate we passed a queue of busses and cars waiting there turn to be permitted down the road to the carpark that was over full as we left.
The amount of water flowing in Tiger Leaping gorge was just as amazing as it was when I was last here in 2014 on Bangkok to Helsinki. The photos tell the story.
On the way in we passed under the construction site of the new bridges for the expressway and railways crossings of the Jinsha river which becomes the Yangtze further downstream. We both enjoyed seeing a partly constructed suspension bridge so I now know the construction process with out having to search Utube.
We can only imagine how specular the drive up onto the start of the Tibetan Plateau at Shrangri La would be on a blue sky day compared to the drizzle rain and cloud for our drive, however it was still great. We passed bus loads of locals at cafe stops at the top with them all peering into the clouds hoping to catch a glimpse of the Snow Mountains which all the signs indicated were out there somewhere.
Once on the plateau things had changed with all the housing in the Tibetan style and the crops have changed to thing like wheat and oats with Pastures filled with a mixture of Yaks and Cows, and I mean mixture.
After a Nana Nap at our Hotel to assist with the fatigue from the elevation Tom and I went for a walk through the old Town visiting the museum about the Red Armies long walk then on to what must be the largest prayer wheel, about 10 metres across and 15 metres high.