So in less that 10 weeks, we will take our first tentative step out of Sainshand, and head south into the Gobi in search of adventure and excitement. Already that thought sends shivers down my back, and I assume the cause is an equal dose of bubbling anticipation and anxiety. Oddly though, most elements of the expedition itself are not phasing me (yet!); rather it's the logistics and preparation side of things that are in danger of consuming my every waking hour. So what exactly is needed to put something like this together? Well, a lot, it seems.
In Rob's last blog he detailed a shortlist of how we are having to divide our time. In the weeks leading up to our departure, we'll keep you up to date with how all these things are going, and we'll also have guest blogs from specialists in some of the key areas of our preparation. We'll also try and focus on certain areas of our journey every so often, and so today I'm going to post a few bits of info about the Yellow River. Paddling down this for over 800 miles would undoubtedly be a highlight of any expedition, and as someone with more experience of land-based thrills and spills, it appeals to me even more. So here's a few of the key facts and figures that I've picked out from my research.
- Second longest river in China at 5,464km (the longest being the Yangtze) - it's also the sixth longest in the world
- Called 'the Mother River' in China
- Its English name, "Yellow River," describes the deep yellow and brown colour of the muddy water that is most prevalent in the lower course of the river
- This colour is caused by sediment in the water - picked up and carried downriver. It discharges 3 times the sediment of the Mississippi!
- It is called the cradle of Chinese Civilization, and is seen as the birthplace of Chinese culture because it's basin has been pinpointed by archeologists as the home of the first Chinese people
- Its floods are some of the worst natural disasters ever recorded - in 1887 a flood caused an estimated 900,000 to 2,000,000 deaths
- More than 400 million people live in its basin, and it supplies water to around 12% of the Chinese population
Rob and I will paddle around 800 miles of the middle section, and will pass caves where many villagers live by digging themselves homes into the vertical cliffs!