The final 1700 km of the Yangtze stretching from Yichang to Shanghai begins immediately downstream from the notorious Three Gorges Dam. After this point the river slows significantly as it meanders its way towards the East China Sea. With our visas expiring around the middle of January
What a difference a couple of months make. This time two months ago I was raft-less, in need of new equipment and desperately trying to convince Chinese Immigration to give me a new visa on a temporary passport. I write now from Chongqing nearly 2000 km further down the river and at the end of the whitewater.
At last! After weeks of arguing with immigration officials and with huge help from everyone at the Irish Consulate we are ready to head back to the river for a final three-month push to the Shanghai. Equipment, which was once of the North Face/Berghaus/Lowe Alpine variety, has been replaced by the well-known adventure brands Primark and CCF (Cheap Chinese Fakes).
By the time this update is posted we will have left Xining after a week recovering from the rigors of the run and will be en route back to the Tibetan Plateau and the source of the Yangtze River. With luck we will start paddling on September 1st beginning the final and longest stage of the expedition.
Almost three weeks later I am still wary of delving too deeply into my mental state for those 7 days. Simply imagining a single hour of running when the pain was at its worst is difficult to conjure. Imagining the 42 or so hours it actually took is impossible. Early on, when the pain was first reaching a crescendo