AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tunnel

Chinese watch Museum and travels to China

AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tunnel

Postby AlbertaTime » April 15th 2013, 9:02am

I arrived in Zhengzhou by Air China from Shanghai on April 10th, and had arranged to meet with an English speaking guide named "Sky" and a driver the next day.

Unlike most of the time when I go it alone, or with friends, I chose to use a guide since transportation from Zhengzhou to Guoliang is a bit complicated and because it would also take more than two hours even direct by car from Zhengzhou, going through Xinxiang (pop: 5.7 million) to further complicate things

(more on Zhengzhou in the next post).

Getting a guide was a very good decision. Sky and his driver friend were a treat to deal with and helped make the trip as fascinating as it was. In the following shots, Sky is wearing the jacket and the driver has the checked shirt. I don't know why Sky is so serious looking in the shots; he's hilarious and great fun to be around. So is the driver. (You might see more of them in the next post about Zhengzhou city).

The day was hot and dry and I was informed this was a couple of weeks before an expected rainy season.

Here, as far as I can glean, is the story behind the tunnel:

In 1972, the Chinese government decided _not_ to spend millions of dollars making a tunnel that would replace a precarious mountain path used to connect Guoliang (high up the cliffs) to other villages and towns lower in the valley as it would assist only about 300 residents of Guoliang Village. So some villagers decided to build a connecting tunnel and roadway themselves.

As far as I can find out, 13 villagers started the project and not all of them surived (among other things, because they were unskilled amateurs using explosives) but five years later, the 4/5 mile tunnel was completed adn opened on May 1, 1977. It's two cars wide, quite steep and the exposed windows were used to expel rubble which can still be seen on the valley floor below the tunnel.

Anyways, about 4 years ago, WUS moderator Soviet pointed me to photos of the place...and changed my life.

So here's my photographic attempt to convey why I wanted/needed to go there: photo overload of the tunnel, the village and the surroundings -- including stepped terraces for corn growing, right up to the ravine/cliff edge in places -- taken all day April 11th/2013 and shown in no particular order...

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...and that's one more destination checked off the Bucket List. Image. I was in shock after seeing the tunnel photos that Soviet pointed me to; I'm even more in shock after seeing this up close and personal. It's just astonishing to me.
Last edited by AlbertaTime on October 21st 2016, 9:12am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tunnel and Village (dial-up beware!)

Postby 3Flushes » April 15th 2013, 10:55am

Awesome pics- the best so far. Amazing what lengths people will go to in their attempts to avoid traffic. Image

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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tunnel and Village (dial-up beware!)

Postby AlbertaTime » April 15th 2013, 4:47pm

3Flushes wrote:Awesome pics- the best so far


Thank you.

For me, the biggest problem shooting the Tunnel is that it's really difficult to clearly show exactly how enormous the project was. It gives an idea to know that the little pointy evergreen trees at the top of the cliff range from about 15 to about 25/30 feet tall.
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tunnel and Village (dial-up beware!)

Postby Bluesbro » April 15th 2013, 9:08pm

That road and tunnel is insane. You are going to have to take your camera in for maintenance after this trip ;)
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tun

Postby biglove » July 13th 2014, 9:31pm

Had read about the tunnel before on various news sites listing it as one of the most frightening roads in the world. And it certainly looks like they were correct!

WOW!!!

http://www.travelandleisure.com/slidesh ... st-roads/2
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tun

Postby AlbertaTime » July 13th 2014, 10:31pm

biglove wrote:Had read about the tunnel before on various news sites listing it as one of the most frightening roads in the world. And it certainly looks like they were correct!

WOW!!!

http://www.travelandleisure.com/slidesh ... st-roads/2


Heh, the internet time machine...I'm glad you're enjoying the archive posts. The Guoliang Tunnel is very impressive to walk and drive (did both) but it's not scary. It's actually quite safe and, unlike those roads in India where you have a sheer drop and no barrier, and a very narrow road, the Tunnel is usually a tight two cars wide and the window areas have a ledge that would stop your car from going over.

It's still astonishing to see...and the 500-600 ft cliffs will scare you even when the Tunnel doesn't. :-)
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tun

Postby Mark1 » July 14th 2014, 12:09am

Amazing pictures. They illustrate mankinds perseverance in adapting to the local environment no matter how harsh it is. Thanks for taking us there.
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tun

Postby eddiea » July 30th 2014, 11:32am

Not long ago saw a documentary (I believe in NatGeo) about the Guoliang Tunnel ...nothing however beats been there...awesome pics ..!
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Re: AlbertaTime returns to China. Post #9 - the Guoliang Tun

Postby AlbertaTime » July 30th 2014, 12:26pm

eddiea wrote:Not long ago saw a documentary (I believe in NatGeo) about the Guoliang Tunnel ...nothing however beats been there...awesome pics ..!


Thanks!

The Guoliang Tunnel was on my bucket list before I ever went to China but I had to wait till my second trip to actually get there. It's no disappointment, I'll tell you. Breathtaking place.
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