Friday November 30
Daning River Canyon Excursion
We tied up to a barge last night, just downstream of the middle of the three gorges, the Wuxia Gorge. We were up at 5am to do laundry, as we have a lovely balcony to string up our clothes line. About 7 am we entered the Wuxia Gorge, said to be the most beautiful of the three. The weather is so hazy and foggy that it was difficult to see the mountain tops. As we continued upstream we saw many beautiful side canyons. Keith was up early to catch the sunrise over the Yangtze.
Sunrise over the Yangtze
After breakfast we boarded a small excursion boat that took us on a 4 hour tour of the Daning River gorge (sound familiar you Gilligan fans?). The Daning is a tributary of the Yangtze. For 90 minutes we sailed up the Daning through the Dragon Gate , Misty and Emerald Gorges. Each was more beautiful than the next. We saw troops of wild monkeys playing along the shore.
Crumbling Infrastructure over the Daning River
A New Bridge is Under Construction
Proceeding Up the Gorge
Terrace Farming Along the Danning
About 90 minutes into the trip, we changed boats and found ourselves sailing in a much smaller, and very tender vessel. We had a guide and a boatman with us. They took us even deeper into the narrowing gorge.
Before the Three Gorges Dam was built, boats in this part of the river were pulled by men called trackers. They wore no clothes because of the high humidity. Our boatman was a former tracker. On our trip he wore clothing (a ritual cape and hat). He sang several old local songs as we continued up the river. On the trip back downriver, he pulled out his cell phone to place a call. It seemed almost anachronistic.
Poster Showing Trackers Hauling Boats Up the Daning Prior to Flooding
On our return trip Keith, who had been nervous about the tippiness of the boat, asked the guide, " “do these boats ever tip over?" "Oh yes"' she replied with a broad smile. All of us in the boat were glad Keith saved his question for the end of our ride.
Back on the larger excursion boat, we made the return trip to our cruise ship.
The scenery as we cruised through the rest of the Wuxia Gorge is spectacular! Although it is late fall, there is still a lot of greenery. We spotted a herd of water buffalo and goats are said to be very common along the waterway.
Keith is developing a cold. Bummer!