Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Zhangjiajie National Park - Day Two - 10-Mile Gallery

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We set off at 9:30 once again passing through the main gate of the park and then on to an awaiting bus.  Even though the entrance was packed...maybe more so than yesterday, we sailed through like VIPs...and I'm not sure why.  The lobby was full of school groups and it was really noisy. The kids all seemed excited and for once their faces were not all buried in their phones.

 We transferred buses twice to get further up into the canyon.  At the entrance to the 10-Mile Gallery we began our walk at the stream.  The water is crystal clear and people were wading and splashing around like kids.  Even though it was barely 11AM by this point, it was already almost unbearably hot.  For the nest 6 kilometers we ambled along a pleasant mostly shaded walkway along the riverbank.  The shade made the walk comfortable and there were plenty of photo opportunities at every step.

 Here we came upon a group of school kids in a watercolor class.  Each had been given a printed outline of the rock formation in front of them.  They then began to fill it in with watercolors.  Some were quite masterful in the blending of their colors and bleeding the edges.  I watched for quite some time.
 The area is called the gallery becuase the sheer walls of the canyon look like paintings.  The word "mile" should be "kilometer" as 10km is the true length of the trail.
There were countless Macaque monkeys along the way begging and stealing food.  Many had babies and all were obviously accustomed to their human visitors.

The pillars of crystallized sandstone were enormous.

Kids are told to place sticks upright in the cracks between the slabs.  The sticks represent them holding and supporting the weight of the world. One stick cannot do the job but together they can make a difference.  I thought it was a great symbol for teamwork.

My ladies...

Our six mile stroll took a bit more than two hours.  At the end of the trail was a large station with a few restaurants and shops.  We enjoyed some lunch before boarding another bus for a ride further up the canyon.  At the end of the road we came to another cable car system.  This one took us 3500' up to the top of a mountain.

The cable car had glass walls and midway we realized were were suspended over a huge canyon.
Bree seemed unphased by the ride...she has probably done it a thousand times.

At the top we realized we were on yet another pillar...only this one was much bigger and had a small system of trails to reach viewpoints all around the edge. 

The views were spectacular and we got to see more pillars and splendor.

And of course there was a temple.

The ride back down on the same cable car was a bit more harrowing.

At the bottom we walked to the next bus station through a beautiful park setting.  The walk was a bit longer than Bree had described and we added yet another two miles to our day's total.  Upon reaching the end of the walk we were at the northern entrance to the park.  From there we took a local bus through an area being reconstructed following a huge flood that had washed out the road.  The construction project was half completed and the road was mostly graded gravel with no rails, protective walls, or gutters.  The driver drove as if it was a smooth paved highway as we wound through the canyon, steep sides dropping off a few thousand feet at times, reaching the end of the ride with everyone being very quiet the entire journey.  LOL.  Unusual for Chines tourists.  We entered the park once again through the western gate, rode two more buses and 90 minutes later were back at the main gate and heading into town.

It was a long day...a total of 10 miles walked, 32 flights of stairs, and once again we were drenched in sweat.  A sweet day full of wonder.

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