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Hiking along Three gorges of Yangtze: Into China's wild

The rain had been getting heavier and heavier. Noise of water pouring down from the sky and falling on the sheets of the roof almost concealed distant dog barks. I was almost sure I can hear the incoming steps. I tried to dig myself deeper in the dry grass I was lying on. They were coming for me, I was sure about it. I was about tospend the rest of my life in a Chinese prison.

I am still tired, my legs hurt, my head burns, it is hard to focus, I have huge sleep deficit, but I must write. I must write while while the memory is still fresh, while my muscles burn.

2 days back. It is 6 a.m., my alarm rings. I am again waking up in a new place, met a Chinese girl yesterday who talked her friend into letting me stay over night. It takes me a while to realize that I am in China. Ha, the plan is Wushan and today plan is a hike to to Fengjie along Three gorges dam! That was a good warm up for the brain.

So equipped with 18 kilos of baggage on my back (I know I am so much a girl :-) ), my two phrases "Ni hao!" and "Xie xie." (I lie, I also know how to say "go to hell" in chinese, just not sure how to spell it in pynyin) I depart. It is an ordinary morning in a Chinese town (with "only" half million people :-) ). People get really excited to see a foreigner in such a "countryside". Particularly a foreigner with a huge backpack with strange things attached to it. Some smile at me, some just stare, some keep their poker face, some gossip, others don't care. I am taking it easy, it's fun to observe town waking up. I walk around to buy a breakfast and stock myself up. This always takes a while as it involves scouting for prices and some walking.

4 hours later. First 10 kilometers were on a concrete road. I regret not taking the bus which just crossed me with frightening hunk. Well, who could have known. The road is starting to curve and I must walk far deep in the land to cross various fjords of the river. It is slower than I expected but I do not mind as the views are splendid.

Cars crossing me often stop or slow down to make sure they don't see a phantom. I wave and see them continue on their journey. I can see on their face that they are perplex by person walking with a backpack.

Lots of houses and fields are scattered around the road. Sometimes those are just simple tents, but mostly those are newly built houses. It's a part of immigration project due to the biggest dam in the world. Often, the house is just a shell with empty concrete floors and walls, a bed, TV. Mostly, you see people hang out on the terrace, often whole families. Playing cards, cooking, eating, pooping (for kids :) ), washing clothes...

BTW: You often see new LCD TV which might seem surprising for most seeing the conditions here. Yet, this was part of the government project to support low demand for TVs during the crisis years. In my opinion very clever move to support economy. Moreover, great way how CPC can now reach people even in the remotest areas through the national channel without big hassle.

The concrete road turns into a dirt path and I get first droplets of water. As the weather forecast said: light rain throughout the day.

Other 4 hours later. Ok, the light rain turned heavy pour of water and I am getting wet. It is starting to be very misty. Yet, I continue...

Other 4 hours later. The rain is not really stopping. I see virtually nothing. Water got into my phone. I had put it into a wrong pocket and water got in. That means no GPS, no map, no itinerary, no dictionary, no time. Fuck!

Unidentified time later. It is getting dark but who knows whether it is due to the fog or because it is getting late. I am continue walking, the mist is concealing most of the methods to navigate myself. Fortunately I at least know the direction as the path doesn't change. Well, it is sure I won't be in Fengjie tonight.

One hour later. Sound of goat welcomes me on top of what is probably a cliff with a viewing platform. Somewhere below me there should be the beginning of the Wu gorge of Yangtze river.

Theplan is to find a farmer who would take me under his shelter. The goat belongs to an old man dwelling few hundred meters further. His house is composed of all kinds of materials. I say "Ni Hao." and I can guess a smile on his face. This is the time to use my charisma and my sign language!

No luck though, he turns his back on me. When I am not leaving he starts to yell and show towards the path up the hill (OK, all Chinese yell:), so I don't take any offence here). Small misunderstanding I suppose. It likely wasn't a compassion on his face earlier though.

The rain forces me to hide on the terrace of the first next house on the way up. It is strange. No one is here. Yet, this place is not abandoned. Waiting two hours, no one shows up and there is a pretty place to hide behind the house!

Now or never. I take out my sleeping bag and pray noone returns.

A cock wakes me up the next morning. What a surprise to wake up on such place.The mist was hovering above group of three houses with several fields. Far behind, a huge mountain was rising like an appariton. Damn, I was crying of happiness.

Three Yangtze

Yet, the best was in front of me...

Wu gorge

I ended up haggeling for the private boat trip with a boy from local "boat" store.. 

Wu gorge of Three gorges of Yangtze

He dropped at the Baidizhen at the island. This was total bargain as I got private trip and saved the entrance fee to the beautiful island...

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