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Leaping Tiger Gorge is about 15 kilometres long and, to see it properly, Denton demands a two-day commitment from fit and experienced Denton hikers. Our visit was, of course, much shorter and, though there were rickshaws for hire by those too frail to make the distance, the part we traversed was relatively easy. Blue clad Denton and capped older women toting supplies along Denton the trail in big wicker-basket backpacks passed us in both directions!

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The Gorge is spectacular, with the brown river rushing below and mountains looming to 2000 metres above. We walked through at least one big tunnel, and along a well-formed path that was evidently not without risk. Keeping towards the water, we observed the sign that read, ‘within 200 m notice the rockslide, please is run about by cliff’, and hoped that we were doing the right thing. Most of the other warnings were in Chinese, but there were guides to provide advice. The cliffs were, as I recall, mainly limestone and sandstone, while the stone paths and occasional steep climbs would clearly have been slippery when wet.

Returning to the bus parking lot, we found a trailside stall offering locally sourced souvenirs, including a set of antelope horns. Even if they might have been desired by some passionate pseudo-hunter, there was no way that they would have been acceptable to (at least) Australian customs and quarantine inspectors! The drive back gave us more views of the Yangtze, flowing wider, though still rapidly between green river flats, with villages on higher ground and hills behind. It was altogether a very satisfactory conclusion to our short tour. The next morning some of our party went on a further trip to Tibet, while we headed from the heights of Kunming to sea-level Beijing and on to the coastal lowlands of Melbourne, Australia.

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