Monday, October 24, 2005

Qutangzia (Bellows Gorge... the first of the three)

Our guide knocked on our door as 6:00 am to see the first gorge. It was still dark out, and the sun was just beginning to poke through the clouds as we entered. You could tell the rock walls were incredibly tall, although due to the light, you couldn’t really see much detail. There was also a heavy mist that seemed to be covering the river, making it hard to see. Here is what my book says, although the only part that I could make out was the old tow path that people used to use to pull boats along the river:

“The first is the 5 mile Qutangzia (Bellows Gorge). As you enter it, Red Shoulder Mountain appears on the north side, pockmarket with square holes; ancient burial places said to have been used as bellows bu the god of carpenters, Lu Ban. On White Salt Mountain, on the sound bank, are the remains of a 6th century city. Clinging precariously to the rock-face high up on the north side of the gorge is the old tow path. The orge ends at the town of Daixi.”

I was a little disappointed that you couldn’t see these things because of the light, but I think the 6th century city is underwater now anyway.

Well, then it was off to breakfast in the “dining room”, and I do use that term loosely. After breakfast I went back to bed for a while before we arrived at Wushan to change boats and go on a side trip through the Lesser Gorges.