Tiger Leaping Gorge : Climbing Dragon Leaping Tiger
Tiger Leaping Gorge Travel Blog› entry 156 of 268 › view all entries
Itâs a beautiful day in Stevie World once again. He and his buddies Nick, Vanesha and Emmy are shuffled on to a mini-van bus and on route to the stimulatingly imaginative sounding âTiger Leaping Gorgeâ. Two hours drive north west of Lijiang. How did the gorge get its curious name? Well I donât know either. I ainât travelling with a guide no more. So hereâs a new myth for the âTiger Leaping Gorgeâ penned by yours truly. Another tale to tell :
New World Fables # 1 : âHow the Tiger Earned His Stripesâ
In the mountains of northern Yunnan the patient Yangtze has forged a gorge.
In this gorge, amongst other creatures, lived a tiger and a crow. The sun shone bright upon them. Silver streaks upon the crowâs black feathered wings. Burning gold upon the tigerâs striped orange coat. The crow would spend her days flying high above the gorge. The tiger his prowling and hunting upon the its northern slopes. The Yangtze, wise and murmuring flowed between their homes.
The winter came. And so the cold. The crow began to feel the chill winds keenly as they whistled down the gorge. To bring warmth for her home the crow decided she would attempt to line her nest with the stripes from the tigerâs back âfor everyone knowsâ or so the crow supposed âthat a tigerâs colours are made of fire and coalâ.
Every morning the tiger twitched and itched and turned and continued to sleep. The crow lifted away his fiery black stripe tight between her beak to keep.
Every morning the crow descended and tugged and teased the tigerâs stripes away. The tiger twitched and itched and eventually arose, another jet black mark gone astray.
One morning staring at his reflection in the waters of the Yangtze the tiger realised that something was amiss. Something was missing. Who was this strange, plain cat staring out of the waters at him? Somethingâs wrong.
âLine by patterned line and row by blackened row youâve lost your colours to the clutches of the crow. She steals your stripes at break of dawn and takes them home to keep herself warm.â
âWhat a scoundrel, what a foul and fiendish feathered pest!â. The Yangtze calmed and soothed the angry tiger with her gently flowing waters. The tiger stared at himself reflected. Only those marks upon his face remained with a single black streak down his spine, the rest so plain. The Yangtze explained that his anger was no good to him and that the only way to earn his stripes back was to cross the river and them reclaim.
But tigers of course cannot swim. Nor fly for that matter. The Yangtze encouraged the tiger to be brave (as he once was when clothed in stripes) and to be strong and clever. If he wished them back hard enough he could cross the gorge to get his stripes once more. His only choice was to try to jump the waters of the Yangtze.
This though was a very long distance to jump, even for a strong, brave tiger. He looked and looked. If he jumped at the bottom of the gorge he would never span the river from such a low height. If he jumped from the top he would have far too far to drop. So he settled on a small rock jutting out from halfway up the cliff and midway along the gorge. The crow watched the tigerâs wanderings from on high and wondered what he was up to from her position in the sky.
âYou must be brave Tiger. And willing to pursue that which is most dear and precious to you with great courage and at any cost. Without your stripes no one will recognise you as the fierce and bold tiger that you are. A mere pussycat they will see. Sometimes one must take great risks, call it a leap of faith if you will, to regain that which is most essential to their happiness.â
These were the Yangtzeâs words on the bright and breezy morning that the Tiger prepared for his pounce across the gorge. Her waters flowed onwards and through the gorge as they always had and always would. The crow preened her feathers from the fur-lined warmth of her tiger-lined abode.
The tiger sat upon the outcrop of rock upon his muscular haunches.
He padded to the ravine edge. He padded back and forth. He looked up at the crow in her state of comfy warmth. He stared down at the Yangtze far below. Itâs rhythms, swirls and undulations seemed to spur him on. He turned. Padded back to the cliff wall and turned again to face the gorge. âA tiger with no stripes is like to being no tiger at all!â he reminded himself.
And so with all his remaining courage - all that which had not be stripped by the crow - and with all his tiger might he bounded forwardâŚ he ran and ranâŚ and with all his feline strength he leaptâŚ his orange coat blazing in the sunâŚ the wind coursing through his furâŚ the Yangtze far below.
[ The End ]
Following that I wonât take much more of your time and let the photographs speak most of the grand beauty of Tiger Leaping Gorge.
Nick, the gals and I did a 2 day trek having lunch at the Naxi Family Guest House after 2 hours trekking and staying at the Half Way Guest House over night.
The scenery is really incredible all the way. Especially on day one of your trek as you wend your way up the slightly steep and challenging â28 Bendsâ part of the gorge path. The play of sun upon both the softer, more earthy browns, greens and golds of the lower slopes and hill-flanks as well as the craggy, brooding looking snow-dusted peaks of the great mountains that claw the skies from their ancient seats on the south bank of this stretch of the Yangtze.
Many a man and his horse will hope to acquire your business to be carried up the gorge path on one of their trusty steeds and it does not matter what you say, motion or do, they will follow you ALL day long with their irritatingly tinkling bells a constant incursion on your peaceable appreciation of the beauty all around. Whilst one of our group V, struggled slightly with the stiff, altitudinous ascent of the â28 Bendsâ she toughed it out, brave lass that she is, and no nag was required for our crew.
After a hard(ish) days trekking. Slow and taking in the views. Dusk is setting in as me and the gang finally arrive at Half Way Guest House. We gladly crack open celebratory beers on the fabulous terrace viewing platform they have here and relax with food and laughter into the night.
In the morning good coffee on the viewing platform. Bright morning rays of sunlight burst up from behind the mountain line bathing the gorge and our view in streaks of hazy, shades of blue beams. The toilets here have open view âwindowsâ and provide both the most surreal and beautiful toilet experience of my life to date.
And then there is walking and talking and walking some more. Not long today and our trek is done. A couple of bus rides and a mid-afternoon doze later find us in so called âShangri-Laâ by evening but thatâs a story for tomorrow I guess.
[ Tiger Info : There is a 50RMB ($7) entrance fee. If you intend to carry on direct from the gorge further north to Shangri-La then take all your luggage with you but just store your big stuff at Janeâs Guest House for 5RMB ( $0.60) to collect on your way back through. Transport back from Tinaâs Guest House to the gorge entrance after your second morning trek costs between 15-20RMB ($2-3) a head. Back at Janeâs, onwards transport to Shangri-La can be arranged on the spot for approx 30RMB a head ($4.