This past weekend we were supposed to travel to the Leshan Giant Buddha on Saturday and then attend a wedding for one of the girls we work with at the panda base. There were some time conflicts and we needed to leave for Jiuzhaigou on Saturday instead of Sunday. We were all bummed to be missing the wedding, but we were excited to go to Jiuzhaigou, and hopefully we will get to go see Leshan this week still.
The bus ride was intense; it took 10 hours to get from Chengdu to Jiuzhaigou. The bus stopped so many times (4 times in the first 3 hours), it was definitely not how I am used to travelling. I slept most of the way though, which was great. My brother loaded me up with audio books on my ipod before I left to China so I was able to listen to Michael Crichton’s Prey, which gave me some interesting flashbacks to the book when we walked through a swarm of baby dragonflies.
Background on the park: Jiuzhai Valley is located in the Min Shan mountain range. In 2008 there were approximately 1,000 people living in this valley. Between 1978 and 2002 the park was established as a National Park.
We woke up at 7 am to get breakfast and then start the adventure through the nature park. We took a bus up the mountain, and walked back down to various spots. I cannot even begin to explain the beauty of this place. The water was a blue, turquoise color that you could see all the way to the bottom of the lake.
Sarah talked to us about the park before we went. She warned us that we might not see wildlife because of the high volume of tourists.
This area is allegedly home too endangered animals such as (golden monkey and takin pictures from Google):
The vast amount of visitors has likely forced these animals to relocate. I was surprised to see some wildlife though! We saw a chipmunk, ducks, fish, and birds. The park developed wooden walkways to try and keep visitors on the pathway in order to protect the beauty of the park. I noticed several people leaving the path in order to take a picture or even pick berries. It may seem trivial when it is only a few people doing it, but when you realize that millions of people visit the park each year, every misstep can have an impact. I watched as buses raced up and down the hill and thought of the amount of exhaust they are leaving in the air. I watched people litter and wondered why they wouldn’t want to keep Jiuzhei Valley perfect. It was breathtaking. I am very glad I got the chance to experience such a beautiful place. I hope that the park continues to be maintained, even with the high volume of visitors.