Ancient Tea Caravan Trail
Bai Ma Xueshan and Three Parallel Rivers
Kawagebo Peak and the Meili Xuashen (snow mountains - glaciated peaks) lie in the Three Parallel Rivers region.
The Yangtze/Jinsha River, third longest in the world, starts in the Tibetan Plateau and winds down through Lijiang (one of our previous stops) and empties into the East China Sea at Shanghai, where we return soon. Already at this Moon Bend of the river it is large and shows why it is named River of Golden Sands (or as we have often heard it, the Yellow River) because it picks up so much glacial silt and ochre earth. The other two rivers are the Nujiang/Salween, which is on the other side of the Meili Xueshan and empties into the Indian Ocean in Burma and the Lahcang/Mekong which empties into the South China Sea in Vietnam.
In this area, and just south east of the Meili Xueshan, with its 13 peaks, are the Baima Xueshan with 20 peaks. All do this are - the Meili, the Baima, the Three Rivers, are heritage sites. UNESCO: “ Baima may be one of the most biologically diverse temperate zones in the world”). Our road back down to Xianggelila took us through and past and under (long, long tunnels) several of these. On a side road of the high pass we climbed to 4292 meters/14081 feet. Standing there, I thought of altitude comparisons from my past, the “14ers” , 14000+ peaks in Colorado and that where we slept with the view of Kawagebo, at 11,800, was equivalent to sleeping at the top of Lone Peak in Montana. These peaks are so craggy and stupendous and raw and high, yet, due to latitude, some are still not covered yet in snow.
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