Saturday thought Monday we went to Jiu Zhai Gou, a national park north of Chengdu. To get there we had to take a bus that is about a 10 hour ride. The bus is like a greyhound bus but without a bathroom! We stopped about every 2 – 3 hours for people to get out and use the bathroom. Most of the stops were 10 minutes but we did have one stop that was 20 minutes so we could eat food. Toward the end of the trip we started driving by and through mountains which made the trip both more and less enjoyable, more enjoyable because of the beautiful scenery and less because of the winding roads making me feel sick! The bus ride was not horrible but I have had better traveling experiences.
We finally got there around 630. We were staying in a fairly nice hostel in the town, walking distance to restaurants, shops and the park. For dinner we wanted something with beef in it but they only had yak, it was pretty good (I liked the yak we had the next day for dinner better). On Sunday we met up at 7 to start our day of walking around the park. When we left our hostel to start walking there were already a ton of people in tour groups heading to the park. We reached the entrance and there were long lines for the buses to get into the park. I didn’t realize it would be so crowded. We wanted to take the bus all the way to the top and walk down but we got on the wrong bus so we went only about halfway up. To get to the top we had to walk to the next bus station. There are wooden trails for people to follow when touring the park, I was not excepting this or the amount of people visiting. I thought we would be hiking through the woods with very few other people around. There are also fences to keep people from walking up Furhter into the woods. China says there are still pandas living there but they only found poop a few years ago and nothing else. It took us awhile to get to the next tour bus because of the crowds of people. When we finally made it there were a lot less people.
The sights at the park are of beautiful lakes and waterfalls. The colors in the water were absolutely amazing blues, greens and turquoise. The water was clear, you could see down to the bottom of the lakes as well as a perfect reflection of the mountains. In the park were pathways so you could walk close to the bottom of the waterfall over the water. I haven’t decided if the walkways and the amount of people coming to this park is a good or bad thing. I think the walk ways do protect people from destroying parts of the park and making there own paths but I’m sure it also attracts more people. There were a lot of women wearing heels and skirts. If there were no wooden paths I’m sure they wouldn’t have come to see it if they had to hike. A plus and minus of the creation of this park Into a tourist attraction is that the people who are originally from this town are now making money by selling goods to tourists but it is also a lot more pollution in the town because they built hotels and restaurants to accommodate the amount of tourists visiting the park. The park was still a very magical place but it gets you thinking about the plus and minuses of tourism for the people and the environment.