Tiger Leaping Gorge
About 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest
of Lijiang Old Town lying between Jade Dragon Snow Mountain
(Yulong Xueshan) and Haba Snow Mountain (Haba Xueshan) is
Tiger Leaping Gorge (Hutiao Gorge), which is believed to be
the deepest gorge in the world. From the top of the gorge
you look down the steeply angled (70-90 degrees) mountain
sides to the rushing Golden Sands (Jingsha) River with its
18 frothing rapids more than 200 meters (about 700 feet) below.
Naturally divided into three sections, the
first section, which is the narrowest and uppermost section,
is the mouth of the fast flowing Jingsha River. In the midst
of the river's mouth is a large rock that is positioned at
the gorge's narrowest section-only 30 meters (33 yards) wide.
An ancient legend says that a tiger used this rock as its
stepping stone so it could leap across from one side of the
gorge to the other, which is how the gorge got its name.
As the river enters the middle section,
it drops another 100 meters (330 feet) and its flow rate increases
to an amazing speed. Here the thunderous rushing waters slam
into sharp, large rocks and crash down into the river forming
swirling whirlpools. Can it get more exciting? Yes, it can
as the third and lowest section is acclaimed for being the
wildest attraction of all!
The cliffs over-looking this section are
even steeper and much more dangerous. Here, the river twists
and turns and the river vigorously surges forward creating
high waves and a frothy spew as it collides with the mountainsides.
This is a view that inspires a sense of adventure and satisfies
the deepest yearnings for magnificent scenery.