I have been running around China with the World Class Kayak Academy for the last 3.5 weeks. We started the semester off with an amazing multi-day raft support trip on the Great Bend of the Yangtze (Jinsha Jiang) in Yunnan. We held classes in the mornings, boated downstream in the afternoons, and crashed on sandy beaches each night. Scott Doherty, Polk Dieters, Tashi from Shangri La, Chen Hao, Travis Winn and Adam Elliott rowed the rafts and organized meals.
Right now, we are wrapping up our visit to the Mekong River valley. We paddled two quality sections of the Mekong (Lancan Jiang): the "Moon Gorge" and the "section above the Moon Gorge." Both sections contain fun and challenging rapids and ridiculous scenery. The Meili-Snow Mountain (Kawa Karpo) stands at 22,700 ft above sea level, a dramatic addition to the view from the shuttle road from Deqin. Deqin is our homebase for the moment. It is a few thousand feet above the river, and cold enough that I have been sleeping in my down jacket. Fortunately it is much warmer down in the valley, but the cold water and harsh winds necessitate drysuits, lots of layers and mittens or pogies.
Next stop - Salween (Nu Jiang). The Salween is famous for its easy access to huge rapids and world class surfing waves. Travis Winn, Adam Elliott and Chen Hao are our logistical coordinators from Last Descents, China's newest river guide service. They have kept us safe, fed, and wet thus far, and they are very excited about the paddling and cultural experiences that await us in the Salween Valley.
I wish I had more time to write a more detailed account of this experience, but I have come to grips with the fact that I will never be able to do this trip justice in words and photos.
For more updates about the trip, go to:
photos coming soon!