Page:A Wayfarer in China.djvu/213

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CHAPTER VIII

ACROSS CHENGTU PLAIN

THOROUGHLY set up by the day's rest in Yachou, my men were on hand at five o'clock on the morning of May 24, in good spirits for the rest of the trip. Even the ma-fu, whom we had left behind at Hua-lin-ping, turned up with the coolie and pony sent round from Lu Ting.

Two missionaries going down the river to Chiating, at the junction of the Min and the Ta Tu invited me to take a turn at rafting, and I was glad to go with them for a few li. The Ya Ho joins the Ta Tu just west of Chia-ting, the fall from Ya-chou being about six hundred and fifty feet in a distance of ninety miles. So swift is the current and so tortuous and rocky the bed of the stream that the only navigation possible is by means of bamboo rafts fifty or sixty feet long, with a curled prow. Amidships is a small platform partly roofed over with matting. In spite of the rapids, which at times make the trip vastly exciting, there is no danger save the certainty of getting wet. The scenery on either hand is very beautiful; the great mountains recede in the distance, fading out in the soft light, but the fine red sandstone cliffs, alternating with the brilliant green of bamboo