Yulong (Jade Dragon) Mountain

We emerged from the Lijiang train station after our ride from Dali and commenced our drive into Lijiang downtown for our visit there. As we cleared the buildings, there towering above us was a magnificent snow mountain. “Lijiang has a guardian mountain!” I cried. In my mind I saw the Jade Dragon as the same kind of apu guardian that each of the Peruvian Sacred Valley cities has.

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At over 18,000 feet, this mountain is utterly massive. It is snow covered, although far less so now than it was 20 years ago before the glaciers really started to melt. You can see the scars on the mountain where there was once ice and now there is only rock.

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We visited the mountain’s park. The bus turned around high in the sanctuary, and you could see the weather systems building and twisting in the heights. We would see this happen from the other side of the mountain during our Tiger Leaping Gorge hike. We descended down to the glacial outflow river – blue water.

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But the water in Lijiang is disappearing. The glaciers are melting and the springs that have fed this city for a 1000 years are drying up. Black Dragon Pool, a national landmark, is dry and to retain the beauty of the area, they are considering piping water into the pool from far away sources.

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