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South & East Asia 11 - China/Sichuan 10: Jiuzhaigou 1 - Intro to Valley and Long Lake
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Jan 13, 2022 10:56:01   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
The Holiday Inn hotel we stayed at is fairly close to the entrance to the Jiuzhai National Park. After enjoying the excellent Dreamland Journey production (my last 3 posts) and following our (freezing) overnight stay at the hotel, we were ready to start seeing this much vaunted scenic natural wonderland with its lakes, streams and mountains. Looking back now and perusing all the photos I shot in this park, I am amazed and it is almost unbelievable that we just spent one day in the park. But it definitely was a day filled with wonderment and plenty of walking and clicking. I trust you will enjoy with me the presentation of these views in this park over the next many days. First let me start with some information on the park, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia, slightly condensed by me.

JIUZHAIGOU (九寨沟) is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan Province in southwestern China. The Jiuzhaigou valley runs north to south and is part of the Min Mountains on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, covering over 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres). It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 m (6,600 to 14,800 ft).

HISTORY: Jiuzhaigou (literally "Nine Settlement Valley") takes its name from the nine Tibetan villages strewn along its length. This remote region has been inhabited by various Tibetan and Qiang peoples for centuries. Until 1975 this inaccessible area was little known. Extensive logging took place until 1979, when the Chinese government banned such activity and made the area a national park in 1982. An Administration Bureau was established and the site officially opened to tourism in 1984; layout of facilities and regulations were completed in 1987. The site was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. Since opening, tourist activity has increased every year: from 5,000 in 1984 to 170,000 in 1991, to 200,000 in 1997, including about 3,000 foreigners. Visitors numbered 1,190,000 in 2002. As of 2004, the site averages 7,000 visits per day, with a quota of 12,000 being enforced during high season. The Town of Zhangzha at the exit of the valley and the nearby Songpan County feature an ever-increasing number of hotels, including several luxury five-stars establishments. Developments related to mass tourism in the region have caused concerns about the impact on the environment around the park.

POPULATION: 7 of the 9 Tibetan villages are still inhabited today. The main agglomerations that are readily accessible to tourists are Heye, Shuzheng and Zechawa along the main paths that cater to tourists, selling various handicrafts, souvenirs and snacks. In 2003, the permanent population of the valley was about 1,000 comprising 112 families, and due to the protected nature of the park, agriculture is no longer permitted so the locals now rely on tourism and local government subsidies to make a living.

GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE & ECOLOGY: Jiuzhaigou lies at the southern end of the Minshan mountain range, 330 km (205 mi) north of the provincial capital of Chengdu. It is part of the Jiuzhaigou County (formerly Nanping County) in the Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of northwestern Sichuan province, near the Gansu border. The valley covers 720 km² (278 sq mi), with buffer zones covering an additional 600 km² (232 sq mi). Its elevation ranges from 1,998-2,140 m (at the mouth of Shuzheng Gully) to 4,558-4,764 m (on Mount Ganzigonggai at the top of Zechawa Gully). The CLIMATE is subtropical to temperate monsoon with a mean annual temperature of 7.8 °C, with means of −3.7 °C in January and 16.8 °C in July. Total annual rainfall is 761 mm but in the cloud forest it is at least 1,000 mm. 80% of rainfall occurs between May and October.
Jiuzhaigou's ECOSYSTEM is classified as temperate broad-leaf forest and woodlands, with mixed mountain and highland systems. Nearly 300 km² (116 sq mi) of the core scenic area are covered by virgin mixed forests. Those forests take on attractive vibrant yellow, orange and red hues in the autumn, making that season a popular one for visitors. They are home to a number of plant species of interest, such as endemic varieties of rhododendron and bamboo. Local fauna includes the endangered giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey. Both populations are very small (fewer than 20 individuals for the pandas) and isolated. Their survival is in question in a valley subject to increasing tourism. Jiuzhaigou is also home to approximately 140 bird species.

NOTABLE FEATURES: Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape. The Rize and Zechawa valleys flow from the south and meet at the center of the site where they form the Shuzheng valley, flowing north to the mouth of the valley. The mountainous watersheds of these gullies are lined with 55 km (34 mi) of roads for shuttle buses, as well as wooden boardwalks and small pavilions. The boardwalks are typically located on the opposite side of the lakes from the road, shielding them from disturbance by passing buses. Most visitors will first take the shuttle bus to the end of Rize and/or Shuzheng gully, then make their way back downhill by foot on the boardwalks, taking the bus instead when the next site is too distant.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our own bus drove us to the entrance of the National Park, then we proceeded via the internal park bus system on to the top of the south-eastern branch, the Zechawa Valley. This valley measures about 18 km and climbs to an altitude of 3150 m at the Long Lake, which was the first lake we visited. The images in this post start with a few captures of the mountains visible from the Holiday Inn and then continue with the initial views at the Long Lake.

The LONG LAKE (长海) is crescent-shaped and is the highest, largest and deepest lake in Jiuzhaigou, measuring 7.5 km (5 mi) in length and up to 103 m in depth. It reportedly has no outgoing waterways, getting its water from snowmelt and losing it from seepage. Local folklore features a monster in its depths.


Notes
TRIP INFO: Set # 1 provides a brief introduction to this series. The link below lets you review this intro:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-724330-1.html

COUNTRY INFO: Set # 2 provides more information on Sichuan/China, here is the link to review it:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-724445-1.html

EARLIER POSTS of this series: Access my topic list at UHH, the new posts are listed in reverse chronological order:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/user-topic-list?usernum=45105

Thanks for visiting, I recommend viewing the downloads and look forward to your comments and questions.

.

1 - Jarpo Town/Jiuzhaigou - Early morning view of the mountain range from the Holiday Inn as we venture to set foot into the Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park
1 - Jarpo Town/Jiuzhaigou - Early morning view of ...
(Download)

2 - Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park - Map of the two valleys and the many lakes, note that the map is inverted with north pointing towards the bottom
2 - Jiuzhaigou Valley National Park - Map of the t...
(Download)

3 - Another view of the mountain range from the Holiday Inn
3 - Another view of the mountain range from the Ho...
(Download)

4 - Final strip view of the mountain tops
4 - Final strip view of the mountain tops...
(Download)

5 - Zechawa Valley: Long Lake - Surrounding mountains with trees in fall coloring
5 - Zechawa Valley: Long Lake - Surrounding mounta...
(Download)

6 - Zechawa Valley: Long Lake - At an altitude of over 3000m, the deepest and at 5 km longest lake in Jiyuzhaigou is also considered to be the most splendid
6 - Zechawa Valley: Long Lake - At an altitude of ...
(Download)

7 - Detail of one of the surrounding mountains
7 - Detail of one of the surrounding mountains...
(Download)

8 - Detail of another one of the surrounding mountains
8 - Detail of another one of the surrounding mount...
(Download)

9 - Long Lake viewed through a coniferous curtain
9 - Long Lake viewed through a coniferous curtain...
(Download)

10 - Long Lake mirroring the mountainous scene, at left the viewing boardwalks along the lake shore
10 - Long Lake mirroring the mountainous scene, at...
(Download)

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 10:56:47   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
Trip map of the Sichuan segment for your reference


(Download)

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 11:03:42   #
Longshadow Loc: Audubon, PA, United States
 
Great series!

Reply
 
 
Jan 13, 2022 11:29:28   #
lnl Loc: SWFL
 
A beautiful park, Joe. Of course I’m drawn to #10 as I love reflections! The intro is also interesting. Being at such a high elevation, I imagine it’s cold and harder to breathe.
Looking at the map, I wonder how children learn to “read” Chinese characters. It seems a daunting experience to me. I’m always amazed that people, like Susan, learned to read Chinese and also English with their vastly different ways of writing.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 11:52:11   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
Longshadow wrote:
Great series!


Thank you Bill for your kind comment.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 12:05:24   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
lnl wrote:
A beautiful park, Joe. Of course I’m drawn to #10 as I love reflections! The intro is also interesting. Being at such a high elevation, I imagine it’s cold and harder to breathe.
Looking at the map, I wonder how children learn to “read” Chinese characters. It seems a daunting experience to me. I’m always amazed that people, like Susan, learned to read Chinese and also English with their vastly different ways of writing.


Thank you Ellen. I am looking forward to present the beauty of this park over the next set of posts, the park with all its lakes, rivers and waterfalls really is beautiful and this beauty was so much further enhanced by the fall colors that we will be seeing. Interesting that you love reflections, they definitely fascinate me as well, when I see any kind of a body of water, even just a small puddle of water on a street, I instinctively see whether I can incorporate it with some reflection. I hope you will enjoy the next set of pictures tomorrow where I will concentrate a bit on reflections. - Breathing probably was a bit harder up there, but I do not much remember about that. Walking along those lakes, we were taking things rather easy in any case.

Learning to read Chinese is a really tough thing, children start at about age 3 and it takes into their high teens to master these complex writings. Of course the signs are basically pictorial, but how on earth you can draw/invent "pictures" of abstract things or thoughts is completely beyond me. While I can speak a bit of Cantonese, I just counted the signs that I can recognize and stop at a grand total of 7! Of course the advantage with this pictorial writing is that you can communicate with people speaking a different dialect, or even a totally different language, as the underlying symbol remains the same. Thus Susan has absolutely no problem connecting with Chinese speaking a different dialect in a different part of the country, even though of course nowadays Mandarin is the preferred language. It even goes that far that when we were skiing in Japan and I couldn't understand the menus in a rural area, Susan with her understanding of the Chinese characters could read the Japanese signs, of course she could not pronounce them but the understanding was there. It is an interesting topic.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 13:21:16   #
lnl Loc: SWFL
 
weberwest wrote:
Thank you Ellen. I am looking forward to present the beauty of this park over the next set of posts, the park with all its lakes, rivers and waterfalls really is beautiful and this beauty was so much further enhanced by the fall colors that we will be seeing. Interesting that you love reflections, they definitely fascinate me as well, when I see any kind of a body of water, even just a small puddle of water on a street, I instinctively see whether I can incorporate it with some reflection. I hope you will enjoy the next set of pictures tomorrow where I will concentrate a bit on reflections. - Breathing probably was a bit harder up there, but I do not much remember about that. Walking along those lakes, we were taking things rather easy in any case.

Learning to read Chinese is a really tough thing, children start at about age 3 and it takes into their high teens to master these complex writings. Of course the signs are basically pictorial, but how on earth you can draw/invent "pictures" of abstract things or thoughts is completely beyond me. While I can speak a bit of Cantonese, I just counted the signs that I can recognize and stop at a grand total of 7! Of course the advantage with this pictorial writing is that you can communicate with people speaking a different dialect, or even a totally different language, as the underlying symbol remains the same. Thus Susan has absolutely no problem connecting with Chinese speaking a different dialect in a different part of the country, even though of course nowadays Mandarin is the preferred language. It even goes that far that when we were skiing in Japan and I couldn't understand the menus in a rural area, Susan with her understanding of the Chinese characters could read the Japanese signs, of course she could not pronounce them but the understanding was there. It is an interesting topic.
Thank you Ellen. I am looking forward to present t... (show quote)


Yes, the whole pictorial language thing is an interesting topic. It amazes me that one who can read Chinese characters can also determine the meaning of Japanese characters. Also that the dialects are different enough not to be understand, but the written language is. I guess that is also true of other languages too, that sometimes we can’t understand the dialect, but can understand the written word. I am just always amazed at how one conquers the pictorial languages.

Reply
 
 
Jan 13, 2022 13:34:50   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
lnl wrote:
Yes, the whole pictorial language thing is an interesting topic. It amazes me that one who can read Chinese characters can also determine the meaning of Japanese characters. Also that the dialects are different enough not to be understand, but the written language is. I guess that is also true of other languages too, that sometimes we can’t understand the dialect, but can understand the written word. I am just always amazed at how one conquers the pictorial languages.


With Japanese, it is quite complicated as the written form of Japanese is made up of 3 different systems: Katakana, Hiragana and Kanji. The first two are phonetical symbols, akin to our letters in English and the western languages. Kanji is a pictorial writing system, most of it based on the ancient form of Chinese writing. So, if you see a text written in Kanji and you understand the (ancient) Chinese symbols, then you should be able to understand the Japanese text. - This is made more difficult also with the fact that there are at least 3 different styles of Chinese characters, from the ancient to the very modern, abbreviated forms.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 14:53:48   #
NMGal Loc: NE NM
 
A beautiful series, Joe. Add a little blue sky to the trees, mountains and water and you can’t go wrong.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 15:04:40   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
NMGal wrote:
A beautiful series, Joe. Add a little blue sky to the trees, mountains and water and you can’t go wrong.


Thank you Barbara. Yes, we had a predominantly "white" sky while we were up there in the park, with occasionally a bit of blue coming through. It would have been great with a better sky, but we didn't luck out and sky replacements, which I have never done, were not really "in" yet 8 years ago when I shot and worked on these photos.

Reply
Jan 13, 2022 18:18:28   #
kpmac Loc: Ragley, La
 
Outstanding as usual, Joe.

Reply
 
 
Jan 13, 2022 18:44:03   #
weberwest Loc: Ferndale WA
 
kpmac wrote:
Outstanding as usual, Joe.


Thanks Ken for your positive comment!

Reply
Jan 14, 2022 06:47:21   #
angler Loc: StHelens England
 
Superb as always Joe.

Reply
Jan 14, 2022 06:49:09   #
junglejim1949 Loc: Sacramento,CA
 
weberwest wrote:
The Holiday Inn hotel we stayed at is fairly close to the entrance to the Jiuzhai National Park. After enjoying the excellent Dreamland Journey production (my last 3 posts) and following our (freezing) overnight stay at the hotel, we were ready to start seeing this much vaunted scenic natural wonderland with its lakes, streams and mountains. Looking back now and perusing all the photos I shot in this park, I am amazed and it is almost unbelievable that we just spent one day in the park. But it definitely was a day filled with wonderment and plenty of walking and clicking. I trust you will enjoy with me the presentation of these views in this park over the next many days. First let me start with some information on the park, courtesy of our friends at Wikipedia, slightly condensed by me.

JIUZHAIGOU (九寨沟) is a nature reserve and national park located in the north of Sichuan Province in southwestern China. The Jiuzhaigou valley runs north to south and is part of the Min Mountains on the eastern edge of the Tibetan Plateau, covering over 72,000 hectares (180,000 acres). It is known for its many multi-level waterfalls, colorful lakes, and snow-capped peaks. Its elevation ranges from 2,000 to 4,500 m (6,600 to 14,800 ft).

HISTORY: Jiuzhaigou (literally "Nine Settlement Valley") takes its name from the nine Tibetan villages strewn along its length. This remote region has been inhabited by various Tibetan and Qiang peoples for centuries. Until 1975 this inaccessible area was little known. Extensive logging took place until 1979, when the Chinese government banned such activity and made the area a national park in 1982. An Administration Bureau was established and the site officially opened to tourism in 1984; layout of facilities and regulations were completed in 1987. The site was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1992 and a World Biosphere Reserve in 1997. Since opening, tourist activity has increased every year: from 5,000 in 1984 to 170,000 in 1991, to 200,000 in 1997, including about 3,000 foreigners. Visitors numbered 1,190,000 in 2002. As of 2004, the site averages 7,000 visits per day, with a quota of 12,000 being enforced during high season. The Town of Zhangzha at the exit of the valley and the nearby Songpan County feature an ever-increasing number of hotels, including several luxury five-stars establishments. Developments related to mass tourism in the region have caused concerns about the impact on the environment around the park.

POPULATION: 7 of the 9 Tibetan villages are still inhabited today. The main agglomerations that are readily accessible to tourists are Heye, Shuzheng and Zechawa along the main paths that cater to tourists, selling various handicrafts, souvenirs and snacks. In 2003, the permanent population of the valley was about 1,000 comprising 112 families, and due to the protected nature of the park, agriculture is no longer permitted so the locals now rely on tourism and local government subsidies to make a living.

GEOGRAPHY, CLIMATE & ECOLOGY: Jiuzhaigou lies at the southern end of the Minshan mountain range, 330 km (205 mi) north of the provincial capital of Chengdu. It is part of the Jiuzhaigou County (formerly Nanping County) in the Aba Tibetan Qiang Autonomous Prefecture of northwestern Sichuan province, near the Gansu border. The valley covers 720 km² (278 sq mi), with buffer zones covering an additional 600 km² (232 sq mi). Its elevation ranges from 1,998-2,140 m (at the mouth of Shuzheng Gully) to 4,558-4,764 m (on Mount Ganzigonggai at the top of Zechawa Gully). The CLIMATE is subtropical to temperate monsoon with a mean annual temperature of 7.8 °C, with means of −3.7 °C in January and 16.8 °C in July. Total annual rainfall is 761 mm but in the cloud forest it is at least 1,000 mm. 80% of rainfall occurs between May and October.
Jiuzhaigou's ECOSYSTEM is classified as temperate broad-leaf forest and woodlands, with mixed mountain and highland systems. Nearly 300 km² (116 sq mi) of the core scenic area are covered by virgin mixed forests. Those forests take on attractive vibrant yellow, orange and red hues in the autumn, making that season a popular one for visitors. They are home to a number of plant species of interest, such as endemic varieties of rhododendron and bamboo. Local fauna includes the endangered giant panda and golden snub-nosed monkey. Both populations are very small (fewer than 20 individuals for the pandas) and isolated. Their survival is in question in a valley subject to increasing tourism. Jiuzhaigou is also home to approximately 140 bird species.

NOTABLE FEATURES: Jiuzhaigou is composed of three valleys arranged in a Y shape. The Rize and Zechawa valleys flow from the south and meet at the center of the site where they form the Shuzheng valley, flowing north to the mouth of the valley. The mountainous watersheds of these gullies are lined with 55 km (34 mi) of roads for shuttle buses, as well as wooden boardwalks and small pavilions. The boardwalks are typically located on the opposite side of the lakes from the road, shielding them from disturbance by passing buses. Most visitors will first take the shuttle bus to the end of Rize and/or Shuzheng gully, then make their way back downhill by foot on the boardwalks, taking the bus instead when the next site is too distant.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Our own bus drove us to the entrance of the National Park, then we proceeded via the internal park bus system on to the top of the south-eastern branch, the Zechawa Valley. This valley measures about 18 km and climbs to an altitude of 3150 m at the Long Lake, which was the first lake we visited. The images in this post start with a few captures of the mountains visible from the Holiday Inn and then continue with the initial views at the Long Lake.

The LONG LAKE (长海) is crescent-shaped and is the highest, largest and deepest lake in Jiuzhaigou, measuring 7.5 km (5 mi) in length and up to 103 m in depth. It reportedly has no outgoing waterways, getting its water from snowmelt and losing it from seepage. Local folklore features a monster in its depths.


Notes
TRIP INFO: Set # 1 provides a brief introduction to this series. The link below lets you review this intro:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-724330-1.html

COUNTRY INFO: Set # 2 provides more information on Sichuan/China, here is the link to review it:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/t-724445-1.html

EARLIER POSTS of this series: Access my topic list at UHH, the new posts are listed in reverse chronological order:
https://www.uglyhedgehog.com/user-topic-list?usernum=45105

Thanks for visiting, I recommend viewing the downloads and look forward to your comments and questions.

.
The Holiday Inn hotel we stayed at is fairly close... (show quote)


Beautiful park and well presented by photos and commentary.

Reply
Jan 14, 2022 06:57:35   #
nimbushopper Loc: Tampa, FL
 
Beautiful landscapes!

Reply
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