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    Posted July 11, 2014 by
    Fengjie, China
    Related to: My trip down the most endangered river in America
    CNN's John Sutter took a three-week trip down the most endangered river in America: California's San Joaquin. See the tweets from his adventure.
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Your favorite river

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    The Mighty Yangtze River


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JuleeK believes the Yangtze is special because ' the Yangtze will forever link me to my grandmother who was born and raised in China. She's been deceased for more than a decade now but I will always have fond memories of my days as a young child, listening to her tell me stories of the wonderful times she spent visiting the "mighty Yangtze" and how beautiful the surrounding landscape was. It sounded like such a idyllic place so when I finally made it to China, time on the Yangtze was a must-do on my travel itinerary.'
    - hhanks, CNN iReport producer

    In July 2009, I traveled aboard a Chinese ferry (Image #2) for a one day trip up the Yangtze River. We set off early in the morning. At about 7:45a, the ferry pushed off and we began our slow cruise up the Three Gorges of the Yangtze River. The skies were hazy, as I had come to expect after already having spent two weeks in China. Even so, the karst landscape of the hills surrounding the river was spectacular. This is what I imagined the Three Gorges would look like. Soaring cliffs banked both sides of the river. The gently flowing water was a beautiful shade of dark jade reflecting the greenery on the hills. The sun peeked through the haze every now and again. It was a pleasant, smooth cruise and after the few minutes of madly snapping photos, I eventually just sat down and enjoyed the ride. The river gently wound its way upstream.

    Along the way were sights that reminded me that people live and make their livelihoods along this famed river – terraced fields planted with corn, animals grazing, fishermen and people just using the river for transport. There were also quite a few newly established towns, housing people who had been displaced by the construction of the Three Gorges Dam (Image #10)

    At one point, all the passengers disembarked the ferry and we headed to a boat dock. There, Tujia men were there to help us board their smaller, flat bottom boats. The Tujia are one of the ethnic minorities of China and they have long made their living shuttling themselves as well as tourists up and down the river. With the men oaring, steering, and when the water was too shallow for rowing, pulling the boats, we took a short ride up the Shennong Stream, a tributary of the Yangtze. (Images #8 and #9)

    Towards the end of the day, we finally passed the famed Qutang Gorge (Image #1) which is one of the Three Gorges and is famous for being the image on the reverse face of the 10 yuan bill.
    Our trip ended with a short bus ride to the massive and controversial Three Gorges Dam. For better or worse, the Yangtze River is a lifeline for millions of people.
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