The Shennong Stream

It was day two of our Yangtze River Cruise and it was pouring with rain when we woke up although it was a warm 25 degrees. The Taiji class on the upper deck was cancelled. It was still raining at 8.30am as we set off in our Pagoda Boat. Everyone was wearing cagoules or capes. They were doing a good job in selling plastic macks at reception.

The Shennong Stream lies on the border between Wu Gorge and Xiling Gorge. It rises close to the peak of Shennong Jia and flows through Balong County to join the Yangtze opposite the city of Badong.

981

984 Modernisation

As we made our way upstream we passed between almost vertical limestone cliffs. High up the cliff wall there were suspended wooden coffins. The coffins were carved out of a single tree truck and were approximately 90 cm in diameter. The coffin rested on two sturdy poles and were wedged into clefts or caves to create a level platform. How they were manoeuvred to these sites high on the vertical cliff face is a bit of a mystery. At the time of my visit the coffins were high above us but since the completion of the dam project the water levels have risen by 150 metres and many have been destroyed but others have been recovered and kept in museums.

The Shennong Stream

When the water became too shallow we transferred to Sampans, known locally as peapod boats. There were 16 passengers and 4 crew to each boat.

915

919 The Pea Pod Boats

923 Shallow water

When the river became too shallow even for rowing the crew hauled us along by ropes.

928 The hard way

They wore flip-flops and had to work hard crossing the wet boulders. In ancient times the peasants we supposed to be naked, but not today. In addition to their shorts and T-shirts they all had plastic macks, some in delicate pastel shades. It rather broke the illusion of being in ancient China.

After turning round we could drift down on the current and enjoy the scenery even if we were getting rather wet.

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935 Flotilla

Back on our cruise boat we enjoyed another huge meal

956 The Yangtze

After an hour we entered the Wu Gorge.

958 The Wu Gorge

The Wu Gorge is the second gorge on the Yangtze and is 45 km in length. The scenery is fantastic with conical shaped mountains on either side.

960 The Wu Gorge

The increased water levels have now broadened the river and made navigation less treacherous. We found a secluded spot at the stern of our boat on deck 5. Just a couple of chairs and tables under a canopy. We never saw anyone else out there and we could relax and enjoy the scenery with the advantage of being able to see both sides of the river.

961 The Wu Gorge

After a couple of hours we entered the Qutang Gorge.

978 The Qutang Gorge

The Qutang Gorge is the shortest and narrowest of the three gorges at only 8 lm long and 150 metres wide. We exited the gorge via the Kuimen Gate where the river passes between the Chijia mountain on the north bank and the Baiyan mountain to the south.

Along the northern bank were traces of the ‘Ancient Pathways’ the Gu Zhandao carved into the cliff face. The “haulers” were “human tug boats” who pulled the boats along where the current was too fast to row. Similar to this morning at the Shennong Stream.……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

During the afternoon we viewed an art exhibition in the ballroom. There was one painting that I really liked. The artist was on board and gave us a demonstration of his skills. Using a single brush he sketched out a scene of Panda’s eating bamboo shoots.

01 Artist at work

When he had finished he said that he would give the sketch to whoever was the first to buy one of his works from the exhibition. It was me and the sketch is now on my wall at home.

491

I spoke to the artist and asked via an interpreter if he would translate the calligraphy. It was “The Panda and the bamboo on the Yangtze” 

And what about the painting that I bought. It also hangs on my wall . It is so simple and always reminds me of my journey along the Yangtze.

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About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
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4 Responses to The Shennong Stream

  1. Marilyn says:

    Enjoyed this post Alan…so reminded me of my visit to Chongqing.

  2. Doreen Thomas says:

    It brings back memories for when was there. Good to hear another point of view.

    Lovely paintings.

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