Sunday, September 2, 2007

Sichuan 1 - Jiuzhaigou National Park, 九寨沟, 四川

I'm back from my 11 night adventure away from Beijing! I went by myself to Sichuan province and saw the capital, Chengdu, a village called Songpan, and three national parks. I'm not doing this in order, but I had to start with my favorite- Jiuzhaigou. This park might be the most beautiful national park I've ever seen. It has everything- mountains, waterfalls, turquoise water, Tibetan villages, ancient forests, etc. As I hiked around the trails, scenes like this kept popping up...

As you can see, the water is all different shades of blue and green, and the fallen trees and stones beneath the surface are all visible. The Chinese have a saying that says once you've been to Huangshan you needn't see anymore mountains, and once you've been to Jiuzhaigou, you needn't see anymore water. At this point in my life, I'd agree, because I haven't seen more beautiful water! And with mountains and water, comes beautiful waterfalls...

The Tibetan minority and culture is spread throughout Northern Sichuan and the park. I met the Tibetan woman on the left who actually took me to her house in a village in the park and introduced me to her family! The boy in the middle is a friend I made on the bus on the way from Chengdu.

A few other interesting characters I met- (And Americans think they know what a cowboy is! Try riding a yak while shirtless with a wooden saddle!)

Of all the great places I went, this was my favorite, and my recommendation if you are going to Sichuan 四川!

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