2013 High Bridge Trip Photo Album/Week 2

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2013 China High Bridge Trip Photo Album
Chongqing and Hunan Provinces


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The special spans visited during our second week included Wulingshan, Furongjiang, Aizhai, Mengdong, Qingping and Lishuihe Bridges. We also toured the amazing Tianmen Mountain, Zhangjiajie and Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon parks.


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The first G65 expressway crossing of the mighty Wu Jiang River near Wulong City takes place within a spectacular gorge with cliffs that rise hundreds of meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Wujiang Wulong River Bridge has a central span of 200 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The new Wujiang beam bridge in the center of Wulong City.Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A triple span Wujiang River arch bridge in the center of Wulong city. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our group headed south into the Furongjiang River region to seek out 2 high beam bridges. Along the way we all stopped to photograph a new concrete arch span. Image by Richard Scott.


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The arch bridge we all photographed. Image by John Morrison.


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The spindly piers of the new 2-lane Gouearxia Bridge. The 190 meter span beam crossing bypasses an older road that twisted down into the bottom of the canyon. Image by Richard Scott.


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The central span of the Gouearxia Bridge is 145 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Previous decathlon events have taken place that required contestants to rappel over the side of the bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The spectacular Furongjiang beam bridge with a central span of 240 meters. Image by Richard Scott.


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The Furongjiang gorge looking north from the deck of the beam bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Furongjiang beam bridge is 240 meters above the river. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The east pier of the Furongjiang Bridge is 110 meters tall. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Furong River gorge looking south. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Just a few kilometers east of the Furong River is the Luoyan arch bridge which spans across a cut 120 meters deep. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view looking north up the Luoyan River gorge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A brick factory was located on the edge of the river canyon. Image by Richard Scott.


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Our journey along the Wujiang River took us across this new concrete arch span just west of Pengshui City. Image by John Morrison.


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A view of Pengshui City from the old national road. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This family in Pengshui City enjoyed serving us lunch. Image by Richard Scott.


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The outside of the Pengshui restaurant near the Wu River waterfront. Image by Richard Scott.


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These orange snacks became an obsession for Richard throughout the trip as they were not always easy to find in all the shops. Image by Richard Scott.


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The second G65 crossing of the Wu Jiang is across this 200 meter beam span. The railway line crosses on the lower beam. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The third G65 crossing of the Wu is on yet another giant beam span. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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After a day of traveling along the Wu River, we finally went up the Yu River gorge which is a tributary and a major river in its own right. Several small arches carry the local roads high up along the slope. The Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A footbridge across the Yujiang River near the G65 expressway. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The G65 crossing of the Yujiang River is about 100 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Wushan Mountain Bridge east of Qianjiang City carries the older national road more then 150 meters above a deep river gorge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Still one of the world's highest cable stayed bridges at 263 meters, the Wulingshan Bridge opened in 2009 with a span of 360 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Wayyaobao Bridge carries the G65 about 80 meters above a deep mountain ravine. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Qianjiang arch bridge carries national route 319 to a new airport that serves the city of Qianjiang. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Several new apartment complexes have sprung up around the new bridge crossing. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The new Qianjiang River Pipeline Bridge rises more then 147 meters above the canyon floor. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Qianjiang River from the pipeline arch bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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I have come across something new and spectacular every trip I have taken to China but the most incredible find yet may well be the epic cliff sculpture of the goddess Avalokiteśvara (观音) just south of Qianjiang City. The bas-relief sculpture is reportedly 123 meters high with a width of 69 meters but the full height above the river is around 275 meters based on the height of the nearby pipeline bridge. This is approximately the same height as the entire Stone Mountain in Georgia which is 263 meters from the summit to the surrounding terrain. The sculpture on Stone Mountain is just 48 x 23 meters with the outer cutout measuring 109 x 58 meters. This would make the Qianjiang Avalokiteśvara sculpture the largest of its type in the world. What is not clear is how much of the surface is made of concrete rather then just pure stone carving. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The face of the goddess Avalokiteśvara. The buddhist figure or deity is an important religious figure in many other countries including Burma, Tibet, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Japan, India and Nepal. Image by Richard Scott.


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If you look carefully you can see the fingers of the goddess. Image by Richard Scott.


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The scaffolding rises nearly a thousand feet from the river floor. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Yanxigou Bridge is one of the highest beam bridges on the G65 at 151 meters. The river continues to travel into an underground cave located directly beneath the point this photo was taken. Image by John Morrison.


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The orange truss pipes of the Xisha Bridge make it pop out among the green foliage along the G65. The gorge drops 217 meters below the deck level. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The main ribs of the Xisha Bridge are filled with concrete. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A dam was constructed just a kilometer downstream of the Xisha Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A large rest stop along the G65 near the city of Youyang. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This giant G65 expressway Hejiaba viaduct leaps almost 90 meters above the small buildings of Youyang City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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These 2 traditional minority women mark the gateway to Hunan Province. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Aizhai Bridge never ceases to amaze those who first come upon it. The main span of 1,076 meters is still the longest of the world's 100 highest bridges. Image by Richard Scott.


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Richard Scott and Mr. Chen take in the scenery 330 meters above the river canyon. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Public walkways inside the truss allow visitors to experience the height of the bridge in a way few other spans allow. Due to the construction of a whole new visitors center on the north side of the bridge, the walkway was unfortunately closed during our visit. Image by John Morrison.


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Image by John Morrison.


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A view from the old national road that winds down to the town of Aizhai. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The tightrope from a 2012 event with Adili Wuxor was left up. I would have liked to try it with a balance pole. Image by Richard Scott.


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Bruce gives it a try. Image by Richard Scott.


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If you look carefully you can see the tightrope cable passing through the top of the picture. Image by Richard Scott.


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The 3 sisters watch over the town of Aizhai and the DeHang River canyon. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The small town of Aizhai. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our hotel in the town of Aizhai. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Aizhai hotel lunch. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Bruce Lee.


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Certain villages in China share similar architectural features such as this group of buildings between Aizhai and Jishou. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The G65 crosses the Tonghe River on this large viaduct before the exit into Jishou City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A giant new visitors center was built in 2012 to increase tourism in the area. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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There is not much to see in the visitors center except for a simple model of the region around the Aizhai Bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The many geological features in and around the town of Aizhai. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The new parking area that was constructed for the Aizhai Bridge walkway access. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Mr. Chen grabs a bowl of food in our hotel kitchen. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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With half a dozen new bridges over 100 meters high, we took an early trip 140 kilometers along the new Zhangjiajie expressway between the G65 and the city of Zhangjiajie. The highway was not scheduled to open until the end of 2013 but was nearly finished. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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With paving still underway on certain sections of the highway, we had to switch sides from time to time going along either the westbound or eastbound lanes when necessary. Image by Richard Scott.


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The highest bridge on the route is over the Mengdong River. The concrete filled steel tubular arch has a span of 255 meters and a height of 232 meters over the old river level. Image by Richard Scott.


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Party time on the Mengdong Bridge! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The downstream dam below the Mengdong crossing. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Note the simple wood plank platforms overhanging the side of the arch ribs. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This unknown beam bridge was our most difficult span to cross as the railings were still being constructed. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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I like the oval swoosh design of the barrier openings along the Zhangjiajie and G65 expressways. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This massive beam viaduct was over 150 meters above a small river. The piers have 3 progressively larger stages as they descend to the valley floor. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Not to be confused with the previously unknown viaduct, the Qingping Viaduct is also 150 meters high and has piers with 3 stages of thickness. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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These bridge piers are as tall as a 50-story building. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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An overview of the Qingping Viaduct. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Qingping Bridge tunnel entrance at the west end of the viaduct. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The one-of-a-kind Lishuihe Bridge tower design. The truss suspension bridge crosses 330 meters above the Lishui River with a central span of 856 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The red cables contrast nicely with the gray towers. Image by Richard Scott.


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Most suspension bridges have a small upward bow or camber in the middle. Since the Lishuihe Bridge grade is continuously rising, a bow would only add to the steepness of the grade and so the truss and deck were designed to be straight. Siduhe and Aizhai suspension bridges are also flat for the same reason. Image by John Morrison.


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The spectacular peaks and spires of the mountain range south of Zhangjiajie. The great hole of Tianmen Mountain can be seen towards the left. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Tall high rises seem to pop up in rural areas almost as frequently as in the city areas in China. Image by John Morrison.


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Dancers in downtown Wulingyuan city - the gateway to Zhangjiajie national park. Image by John Morrison.


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Bruce takes a walk through the cold river water that flows out of the mountains of Zhangjiajie national park. Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Downtown Wulingyuan. We ate at the restaurant on the left. Image by Lee Choong.


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Wulingyuan is loaded with upscale tourist shops, hotels and restaurants. Image by Lee Choong.


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The nicest hotel of the trip was in Wulingyuan. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Tianmen Mountain Ropeway had long lines but was well worth the wait. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This unusually friendly girl from Yichang enjoyed our company during our trips up and down Tianmen Mountain. Image by Bruce Lee.


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The first kilometer of the ropeway traverses across the apartment rooftops of Zhangjiajie City. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A green lake more then 1,000 meters below the summit of Tianmen Mountain. Image by Bruce Lee.


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The Morrisons seemed to attract Chinese girls wherever we went. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by John Morrison.


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The glasswalk near the summit of Tianmen Mountain is spectacular with a vertical drop of over 250 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The square sections of glass must be walked on with booties to avoid scratches. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Bruce Lee.


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You can put your hopes and wishes onto a red ribbon and tie it around a tree. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Mr. Chen grabbed one of the crickets that make a loud but unique buzzing sound. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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This stretch of the cliffwalk does not have glass but it is the highest such walkway in the world with a straight vertical drop of 366 meters. This is considerably more then the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the U.S. state of Arizona with a drop of 219 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by John Morrison.


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Another cantilevered platform around 50 meters high. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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The girls got younger and the Morrisons got happier! Image by Bruce Lee.


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Image by Bruce Lee.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Mr. Chen and John enjoy a chairlift ride to the summit. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The higher elevation made for a tired walk up this final set of stairs to the top of the summit building. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view looking west from the summit of Tianmen Mountain. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The large complex of museum buildings we never had time to explore. Maybe next time. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The suspension footbridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A few of the 99 turns along the bus road to the Tianmen Mountain cave. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The gondola leaps between several peaks that are separated by drops of over 100 meters. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The many peaks of Tianmen Mountain. The summit in the middle is where the BASE jumpers launch themselves off a platform every October during the Red Bull World Wingsuit League event. Image by Richard Scott.


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A view of the Tianmen Mountain hole which has a clear opening height of 125 meters. The steps to get up to the hole are also 125 meters in height. Image by Richard Scott.


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A new plaza was completed in 2013 to handle the bigger crowds and includes the addition of a hotel. Image by Richard Scott.


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Part of the hotel and the main lobby have glass panels over them. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The lower half of the exhausting stair climb. Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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A view of the imposing hole with thousands of tons of rock more then 100 meters above your head! Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The girl from Yichang spent some more time with us on the bus ride down the mountain. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our second day in the Zhangjiajie region began with a tour of the amazing Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon, a private park 20 kilometers east of the national park. The owner and chief architect of the park and its attractions is also a skilled engineer whose ambitious plans include nothing less then the construction of the highest and longest suspension footbridge ever constructed with a deck more then 250 meters above the canyon. Even more amazing he wants the entire span to be covered in glass panels. The cable shown above was placed along the exact alignment of the planned 430 meter suspension bridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The bridge engineer ZhiDong Chen and his wife SiQing Luo show us the new design proposals that were modified from the original cable stayed design by Israeli engineer Haim Dotan. Image by Richard Scott.


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A view of the gorge where a wood walkway allows visitors to hike along the river where there are waterfalls, caves, a small glass bridge and a boat ride. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The designer and some of his staff along with a news reporter from Cili County. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Many borings that were drilled on the west side plateau. Image by Richard Scott.


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A series of switchback stairs descend down into the grandest part of the canyon. Image by Richard Scott.


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To make the descent even more fun, the owners built a smooth stone marble slide down the canyon. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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White gloves allow riders to brake themselves along the the edges of the trough. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of the bridge crossing site from the river. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Completed in 2011, this small glass bridge was a trial run for the giant bridge that will be constructed in 2014. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A food stand along the river trail. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The trail continues on through a large cave. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by John Morrison.


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A classic footbridge crosses over a cave creek along the trail. Image by John Morrison.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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At the end of the trail a boat takes visitors across a huge man-made lake that was created by the park's chief engineer ZhiDong Chen. Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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With a can-do spirit and an inventive imagination, Mr. ZhiDong Chen has turned the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon into a major scenic destination where unique surprises await visitors around ever corner. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon gift shop. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon reception center. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by Richard Scott.


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The epic Tianmen Mountain show of the Weedman and the Fairy Fox. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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Image by John Morrison.


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Image by John Morrison.


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At the end of the show, entire sections of Tianmen Mountain are lit up including the giant hole just barely visible at the top center of the image. The two sides of the rock bridge in the center connect at the end of the show allowing the Weedman and the Fairy Fox to finally meet. Image by Bruce Lee.


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A giant pagoda marks the official east entrance to Zhangjiajie national park. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The upper half of the Bailing elevator. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A wider view reveals the lower half of the elevator which is actually located in an underground tunnel. Promotional images do not show this hidden deception. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The elevator line that winds into the bottom of the mountain. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The top of the elevator rewards visitors with a jaw-dropping view of the towering spires that inspired the look of the movie Avatar. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Several of the photo spots have Avatar-like creatures. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The Zhangjiajie Park footbridge with a height of 140 meters above a deep crevasse. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Richard Scott.


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When large crowds were on the bridge, the deck began to have a disconcerting back and forth movement of several centimeters. This could easily be fixed with horizontal bracing below the deck but given the ugly look of the bridge, a better solution might be to replace it with a classic arch bridge. Image by Bruce Lee.


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A view looking south from the footbridge. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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The top of the famous kissing bridge peaks can be seen. Similar to the Tianmen Mountain hole, a natural bridge connects two spires more then 100 meters tall. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Many of the trees near the kissing bridge have locks on them to signify a bond between couples. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Several of the railings have thousands of locks on them. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A view of the Bailong elevator taken by photographing the reflection of the elevator ceiling and flipping it right side up. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Many of the rock formations have special names. Image by Bruce Lee.


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Our last meal in Wulingyuan with Yang Chen. Image by Richard Scott.


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New apartment buildings along the Lishui River in Zhangjiajie. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our drive along the national road to Jishou passed under the Qingping Bridge we had driven over 3 days earlier. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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A giant new city center along the expressway to Jishou. Image by Eric Sakowski / HighestBridges.com


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Our worst breakfast of the trip was at this roadside stand where the beef noodle bowl had a lot of noodles and little beef. Image by Richard Scott.


Click on Page 3 for Week Three with tours of Balinghe, Dimuhe and the many bridges across the Beipanjiang River!

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