We had to take a bus from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou. In talking to other travelers at the hostel, the hostel staff, and the ticket salesperson at the bus station, we found out that the normal route that takes 10-12 hours was closed because of land/mudslides, so we had to take an alternate, longer route that was supposed to take 16 hours. Wonderful! Spending 16 hours on a bus where there are no toilets, it stinks, we are escalating in elevation, children are kicking our chair and pulling our hair, and there are buckets for trash, the vomitting child that sat behind us, and a urinal for the boy that couldn't hold his pee, was not exactly what we had envisioned. Good news: it only took us 12 hours--we took the original route. Bad news: there were definetly recent landslides that blocked half the road in many different spots along the moutain, and there was a wreck that stranded us on the mountain for about 45 minutes. A semi-truck had jack-knifed--it looked like some rocks had either fallen on top of the truck spinning him out of control on one of the sharp turns, or what he was carrying slid off in his attempt to avoid fallen rocks plus trying to make a sharp curve. Either way, it was a bit disconcerting.
Since it was an all day bus ride, we couldn't do anything the night we got there except get Molly a jacket. Because of the increase in elevation it was quite a bit colder. Luckily, I had brought some yoga pants and a long-sleeved t-shirt.
The pictures that I am going to provide in this blog will not even come close to portraying the enchanting beauty of this place. Not only are you surrounded by mountains and water in this nature reserve, but the water is turquois, clear, mirror-like, different shades of blue and green, and scattered about are waterfalls that range from small, narrow streams to large, wide, gushing cascades of water misting the air. For me, this is a place of serenity. The pure, refreshing atmosphere, the bright colors illuminating the lakes, the rolling, green mountains, the sound of running water coming from all directions...my Heaven.You easily see the fallen tree at the bottom of the lake.
Waterfalls are my favoite things in nature. The only thing that could have made this better would have been less tourists and a natural path that is not so restrictive and planned-out.
By the end of the day, it had started raining. We spent from 8am - 5pm here. Although we saw a lot of the gorgeous lakes, we did not get to see all of them. It was exhausting walking around all day especially since we weren't used to the high elevation. Where we started, it was an elevation of 3,800 meters. By our quick breathing and shortness of breath, it was obvious that we were at such a high altitude that we were not used to.
This was the only day we spent in Jiuzhaigou. I could have easily spent another day in this reserve. Getting into the park was pricey but well worth it. With a student ID, we were able to get a discount. Again, our hostel, Uncle Jiangs Family House, was amazingly helpful in getting there from the bus station, the food was great, and the staff was more than happy to schedule our transportation for the next day with advice on where to go once we got to Songpan.
This was one place that I was not even close to ready to leave, and even now, I want to go back. All I kept thinking while exploring the reserve was the stillness of the water would make for one hell of a rock-skipping competition; I really wanted to swim in that water; and if I could just have a house with a lake and/or waterfall like that in my backyard, I would be set and be the happiest person on earth. It's a perfect place to sit and read a book or write. The peacefullness of this place is unexplainable even with so many people around. It's wonderful.
Next stop, Songpan! -- The start of the Tibetan villages.