We woke up in Shangri-La at a bedroom elevation of 10,700 feet. But our travels today took us through the mountains encircling the city. We were told that these peaks rise as high as 16,000 feet. The road took us over passes, through tunnels that were three miles long, and along gorges above Tibetan villages and the Jinsha River. Here are some pics:
A little digression on the formation of the Himalayas… Millions of years ago, the land masses were very close together, and started to drift apart. The land that is now India was actually quite close to Australia. Think about how long it took for this land to drift slowly across the (now) Indian Ocean and bang into Southern Asia. It continues to collide and the pressure caused the land at the intersection of Asia and the India mass to pile up at a continuous but slow pace. This formed the Himalayas, which continue to gain a couple inches of height every 100 years or so.
The Chinese have names for these ranges, but they also stress that these are the foothills of the Himalayan range. I hope the pictures coming up will do these mountains justice:
The pic on the right is the full bend in the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze. The pics coming up were actually snapped as our vehicle rode higher on the crest and the Jinsha created a “Grand Canyon” feel below. I was on the right side of the van, closest to the canyon. Every time I thought I had a sufficient number, a new view presented itself… I finally gave up and just enjoyed the vistas !!!