A Journey on the
River Yangtze

Day 3: Curious Gorges

Part of the Xiling Gorge, the longest and most spectacular of the Three Gorges.

We arrive at the Gezhou Dam, located at YiChang City, around 7am to pass through the ship lock. The sun was still rising when we are informed by the ship's crew that we are near the dam.

 

Sunrise over YiChang City with the passangers out on deck, enjoying the passage through the dam.

 

This dam was constructed in front of the Three Gorges area, so that the water level would rise, and solved some of the navigation problems. Before this construction, rapids in the area made navigation more treacherous.

 

Approaching the Gezhou Dam, the lock through which the ship passes is on the left.

 

 

We are raised up to the level of water behind the dam in the lock. Soon we will enter the gorges area.

 

Going through the dam took us from the flat plains to the mountainous area of the river, and to the largest of the gorges through which we would pass.

The Xiling Gorge, the entrance to a spectacular natural limestone area.

 

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The Xiling Gorge is 76 km (47 miles) long and includes San Dou Ping, site of the new Three Gorges Dam. To read more about the dam, click here.

Xiling Gorge has a dozen limestone peaks over a thousand meters (3,000 feet) high with names like Flying Phoenix and Climbing Dragon. The slopes towered over us as we sailed through some narrow, and then wide passages, creating an incredible array of scenery visible to us.

 

The mountainous landscape seems to go on forever.

 

Because we were sailing upstream, we encountered this gorge first, which was unfortunate as this was definitely the most spectacular and the longest, although each one was unique.

 

Sunrise over the Xiling Gorge.

 

The incredible steep sizes of the gorge seemed uninhabitable, yet some buildings appear. Bridges and roads connecting different communities along the river have been constructed, and continue to be constructed.

 

A bridge high up in the gorges connects various communities, although there are still many isolated areas in this landscape.

 

People even farm on the slopes with the aid of terracing. Indeed, the land surrounding the gorges area and up to Chongqing is used for citrus production (we saw lots of oranges) and other agricultural products. Coal is also mined in the area and transported up and down the river.

A small barge transporting oranges, one of the main crops of this area, down river.

 

Click here to follow the journey:

Day 4: Buying in the river

Day 5: Hanging Coffins and Acrobats

Day 6: Hydrofoil to a Film Festival

Special Feature: The World's Largest Construction Project--The Three Gorges Dam

Click here to read about a Journey on the River Yangtze from the beginning.

Center for Global Environmental Education
Hamline University Graduate School of Education
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