Day 104: Wushan to Sandouping North - Fri 7 Jun 2013
Woke to sound of aerobics on wharf at 5.30am, all surrounding Guy's vehicle - so much for a sleep-in! But blue skies rewarded us before departure once the mists had burned off.
Three vehicles headed to Yangtze Gorge Dam and Park, others were less interested in the famed engineering and went on to Shennongjia National Park to wait. The toll road ended much too soon, and we turned onto potholed muddy winding roads, through a town of "laid back chairs"... so funny to see trousers attached to the weir so the flowing water cleaned them! It was a town of old people, a land that time forgot - saw a zimmer frame, a chair with wheels attached. Onto what was purported to be a concrete road (but perhaps the cement and rio had been siphoned off elsewhere?)
Climbing higher into picturesque country, air cooling, birdsong. Thank goodness we left the long bank of pollution behind. Parted for our two different destinations, lunch (wraps) on side of road. Half town came to watch us; one lady gave us a cucumber.
Road through mountains to the dam went on and on, full of switchbacks, so high that Wanderoos suffered vertigo looking down. It was hairy concentrating for so long on narrow dangerous bends – relief to stop just after a tunnel, but it was into a cramped lay-by with coal loading down chutes to a barge in river below. Smog mist blew in on breeze and obscured view of river, a perfect match to dirty coal dust underfoot! As a campsite it will be sure to prove one of the least savoury of the trip.