Wednesday 12.05.10 Jiuzhaigou National Park
The cold in the room annoyed me yesterday night, but there was a heating blanket ready under the sheet. Had to be testet. I turned it up, full power. Didn't think it work at first, but cold feet or not I was sleeping in a moment and had to turn it down later in the night. It's a brilliant invention. Could be used too, when you arrive in a cold house - for example in Bornholm.
I payed for one more night and left with my quite worn out small backpack. 310 RMB for the entrance and busses for the whole day. I was prepared for that.
The first busride was beyond my wildest dreams. Up through valleys and gorges we go. Streaming water are replaced by clear lakes. Suddenly a moor, green meadows with dying dandylions. Waterfalls of all kinds. With vegetation in them. The water of the lakes in strange colors where time in the form of rotting trunks and branches are clearly seen. The more flat areas are substituted by rocky formations where the water gushes through. We end up at 3000 m where the mountain as an unbreakable wall rise its vertical surface - until here and no longer. On the top are snowflakes, this is from where all the water originate. The clouds surround the summit but the sun breaks through from time to time. It brings tears to my eyes. SO beautiful. For a moment I forget about the thousand chinese tourists who are just behind me. I a moment I'll start my long walk back, on net filled wooden paths, where I'll be alone within a short time. It's cold but just now the sun is heating my back. It's a marvelous morning. The busses are coming one after another - I'm on my way...
No. It shouldn't be that easy. You cannot WALK from here. The paths are all blocked, I'll have to go back by bus for some distance. I'm angry, but as soon as I off the bus I'm catched by this wonderful wilderness of woods, bush, lakes and moor. And the color of the lakes!
Together with a minority I start off around Bamboo Arrow Lake and in a minute or two, I'm alone. This must be the closest you get to a temperate jungle. Untouched by human hand the giants lie where they fell.
I take a load of photos, but I'm sure they won't stand up to reality. I'll have to save them in my brains memory.
The waterfall from this lake to the next is exquisite. Not very high - 5 m I suppose - and not very loud, it just flows out through the vegetation for all the valley wide.
Next is Panda Lake with colors like the Greek Ocean. The lake is short of water that's obvious. So the waterfall in the end is dry. Down stairs I go. Down, down, down.
Then comes Pearl Shoal Lake WITH a waterfall. Here I'm not alone anymore. I guess there is a thousand people gathered here at the waterfall. For some hundred meters I have to fight my way on, but not long after, where I choose to walk around the next lake too, I'm COMPLETELY alone. Not bad. In all this distance I onlt meet with ONE - holding a video camera. The Mirror Lake isn't THAT spectacular like it's predesessors.
At last comes a suitable bus stop. There is more to see. As I sit here at the stop writing, I'm the entertainment they were missing. Everybody comes to look at this foreigner with the weird computer.
When the bus arrives I'm quick to get on. But I've been walking so far that I happen to go with the bus all the way to the entrance. That was not intended. I eat a banana and a piece of bread then I'm off with the bus again.
This one stops at the crossroads. I have to walk another 200 m ahead and take another bus that goes up the other branch. This valley is all dry. The wooden paths are there but noone walks them. The bus goes up, up, up. We end at 3000 m again, this time at Long Lake. Under high mountains covered with snow. We're not allowed to walk any further, eev.
Back with the bus. It just goes a short distance then all gets out. So I'd better do so too. Passengers from several busses are tumbling down the stairs to Colorful Pool. No overtaking is possible. After more photos - I guess I'd taken 200 today - there's no more to see here, so I have to go back with the bus to the crossroads.
From here it's the plan to walk all the way back to the entrance - if it's not too far.
There are big busses and small busses. The big ones do the longer
distances, while the smaller ones are the domestic ones, where people
get on and off at the many stops. First stop with this little bus is
Rhinoceros Lake, where I get off and start walking a wooden path to the
other side of the lake. This is where I find it most calm and peaceful.
It's around three o'clock and I have some beautiful peaceful hours here along the lakes and the waterfalls. The only interruption from this is when I seek back to the road to have a look at the "village", where all kinds of merchandise is sold. It's a tibetan village, but it's turned into the usual tourist hell. The 9 stupas and the prayer wheels are no doubt the most tibetan.
When I seek back to peace on the wooden path it starts drizzling and it keeps on more or less. I meet with a german with whom I talked a bit yesterday, he's walking the opposite direction, there was just a thing he missed, so he's on his way back. When he asks me what I think of it, I'm speechless. "Terrific", is the only word I get find.
It has really been an exquisite nature experience. I haven't been alone but I've forgot about the other 20.000. Lonely Planet tells there are 20.000 beds in Jiuzhaigou.
The most spectacular has been the lakes with their different colors and the dead trees on the bottom in all stages of decay - and colors.
I walk to the bus station and buy my ticket to Songpan for tomorrow. 7.40 is the sceduled time. I've decided to take a taxi there in the morning. I can do without the walk there with my backpack.
I also take a taxi back from the bus station - I feel I've earned it - I've walked at least 25 km during the day.
When I took the bus the last part to the entrance a man immidiately offered me his seat. I waved: no, it's not nescessary, but he insisted. Am I really that old? Or is it that obvious that I'm quite finished?
I am dropped at a sign saying Youth Hostel, but it's not the right one. I have to ask so I won't walk in the wrong direction. There blue solid fences they've put up since yesterday makes it hard to orientate.
After e bag of the expensive bisquits and 3 cups of tea, I'm in shape again - even my feet are still a bit sore.
Unfortunately someone is sitting at the only computer that works. And there are 4. And now they've been sitting there for hours. I have to do something.