Tuesday, July 30, 2013


Huanglong ('hwah'ng-'low'ng) means Yellow Dragon and this collection of travertine pools, waterfalls, calcite deposits and limestone shoals look like a huge golden dragon wheeling through the snow-capped mountains of the valley.  It is a two-hour cab ride to the north from JiuZhaiGou, but is closer to the airport, so we visited in the morning before our afternoon flight.  The drive was scenic with interesting sights.

 This was a resort hotel, built in the Tibetan style.
Shop doors were colorful and decorative.

A guard at some military installation.

The mountain peaks loomed above, but we also drove higher and higher until we were on top!

Yak herds were on the mountain, as well as sheep and goats.

These interesting poles were part of the bridge at the town of Huanglong.

Soon we were on top of the world at the level of the high mountains!  We followed a long series of switchbacks up over the pass.
We arrived at the scenic area and opted for the cable car ride to the top, then to hike back down along the water.  The sign for the queue at the cable car was humorous, and reminded us we were glad to be there in the slower season when there were no lines.
"keep in a 'rowing' manner"!

The cable car ride gave us some beautiful views.


At the top, we stopped for a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains.  Gorgeous!!

There was a bit of snow left at the top, so I threw a snowball at Kirk.

We walked towards the valley and caught glimpses of the blue lakes below.

Unfortunately, this time of year is still early for the water to be at full flow.  But the forest and mountains were still picturesque and we enjoyed the hike.

Water is flowing here, but you see the limestone beneath more than the thin water.


At the top of the valley is the Multi-colored Pond, and we could finally see what all the fuss was about!  Fabulous, even in low water season.

Again, we felt like maybe we would see similar sights in Tibet--tall mountains with snow and prayer flags.  It was beautiful.

The Huanglong Temple, an ancient Buddhist temple, is divided into different buildings.  The Middle Temple has a sign that reads differently from three different directions to accommodate the Buddhists, Taoists and Confucians.

Depending on where you are standing, you can see the characters of the different signs.  Cool!

Further downhill were more waterfalls and ponds created by the limestone deposits.

 The altitude is 12,000 feet, so some people experience altitude sickness.  They have these "oxygen bars" along the pathway if you need to toke up on some air!
The workers also need a shack to keep them out of the elements where they can rest.

In the afternoon, as we flew away, we looked back and saw the switchback roads over the high mountain peak where we had driven.

This turned out to be our last major excursion from Chengdu in China.  What a way to end our tour!!  The spectacular scenery of the past three days will always stay with us as one of our favorite places in the world!