Drifting on the Mengdong river

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The photo taken on September 7, 2009, shows a scene along the Mengdong River. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/ Duan Xuelian]

The photo taken on September 7, 2009, shows a scene along the Mengdong River. [Photo: CRIENGLISH.com/ Duan Xuelian]

Forty kilometers from Hibiscus Town is a famous drifting site on the Mengdong River, reputed to be the world's No. 1 spot for whitewater rafting.

The river snakes along the deep gorge for more than 100 kilometers. The 17-kilometer drift site is along the river's upper stream section, where cascades and caves can be seen everywhere.

In the beginning, I thought that the landscape along the river would afford me the greatest enjoyment I would have during the two-hour drift, and it kept surprising me. But soon I became aware that the most important thrill was actually my imagination.

Along the route, you can hardly see any indications of modern civilization. Everything seems like what it would have been 1,000 years ago. If you are familiar with some stories about ancient China, you can easily recall them when you are in this gorge.

More often, the stones and caves along the river will trigger your imagination. You can see a dog, turtle or the faces of humans in them. Actually, the name "Mengdong" means "fierce caves" in Chinese, a metaphorical way of describing the stones and caves such as these which embody the magic and mystery of nature.

It is said that more than 190 kinds of animals currently inhabit the gorge along the river. If you are lucky enough, rare animals like monkeys may appear on the shores. Birds and colorful butterflies will usually accompany you during the entire rafting trip.

The Mengdong River drift site has been opened to the public for about 10 years. You will meet some very skilled and experienced local boatman here, who will help ensure that you have a happy and safe drift.

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