Yunnan River Caves Expedition Logbook


3rd December 2002: Carrefour Extravaganza

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, Matt Ryan

We awoke at Madam Tan's to the sound of no chickens - hooray! I managed to get a 90% refund for Bill Farr's airplane ticket, and then we decided to do the laundry. We've become quite the domestic unit here in China. It was team soaking, agitating, spinning and hanging up to dry for hours on end. It's obviously been a while since Duncan's done laundry because he forgot to empty his pockets and spent an hour picking bog roll out of his clothes.

The chores done we decamped to KFC for an orgy of twisters and sundaes. Matt was amused by the looks of intense concentration on Duncan and Erin's faces as they scraped the last morcel of ice-cream out of the cups.

Carrefour's selection of imported booze was disappointingly small - no Baileys or green label vodka, so we had to settle for Bacardi, two bottles of French wine and some Carlsberg. Matt cunningly selected some pig butt that was quite tasty - avoid the sliced ham in the future. We bought the obligatory French bread, cheese (not cheddar!) and Snickers, then gorged ourselves on chocolate ice cream. Yum!

4th December 2002: Train to Kunming

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, Matt Ryan

Managed to get all our bags into the first two taxis which turned up and spent a merry hour shuttling them to the waiting room. No complaints about getting all the bags onto the train but we were told we'd have to use porters which came as no shock. Took bags to gate then porters and selves went off in search of breakfast. Replete we took bags to platform before train was called and chatted to porters for a while before realising we were on the wrong platform and made a mad dash to where the train had really pulled in. Still no complaints from the staff on the train and so we were home free. No comment about taking up half the luggage rack but it turned out the train was half empty. Some sleep, some food, some booze and some more sleep.

December 2002: Recce

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, Matt Ryan, Liu Hong

A "little late" for 8:30 turned out to be a quarter to ten. We hit the road for Western Kunming and Hai Yuan Temple, an area Liu Hong had identified on a map as interesting geologically. There was a spring and several cave entrances marked on the map.

The temple was newly built - the old temple had been destroyed long ago. Behind the glit Buddhas and blue-faced door gods there was a small spring with a miniscule trickle of water. It was most unimpressive. Liu Hong quashed the looks of disbelief, it turned out the water was diverted at a pumping station, leaving only this plastic bag laden murk for the temple's spring.

There were two dry cave entrances on site, but we opted to look at them a few days hence since they'd involve a bit of an uphill slog.

We drove uphill along a quite scenic tree lined road leading to Qion Zhu Si, a famous temple. Past another temple sporting huge ying-yangs, to a tacky tourist resort - little villas built around a man-made lake fed by Hua Hong Dong Upper Cave. The manager wanted to charge us for a look at his electric wire and pipe festooned cave but Liu Hong promised we'd shut our eyes. Matt, the only one who'd thought to bring a head torch reported "still going, more pipes and wires", so we moved on to the downstream cave. Lots of rubble, the remains of an old pump house and stooping passage. Looks like it'll be fun to survey.

Hai[3] Yuan Si (lake source temple) WGS84 UTM 48R 0261638 2775923 1909 EPE 9m
Hua Hong Dong (Red flower cave) (Upper Cave) WGS84 UTM 48R 0258812 2773790 2165 EPE 11m
Hua Hong Dong (Red flower cave) (Lower Cave) WGS84 UTM 48R 0258581 2774171 2167 EPE 18m

7th December 2002: Huahong Dong

Erin Lynch, Matt Ryan, Liu Hong

Thought we'd start with the dry showcave-esque upper Huahong Dong. Turned out we'd bit off a bit more than we'd planned... After a few legs we were stopped in our tracks by a blank brick wall. A bold step around the edge (teetering over muddy water mind) brought us a final leg to where the nice ledges crossed to the other side. It was either do a balancing act along an 8" pipe or swim (or jack). The choice was obvious - we had lunch.

After supping we went to the upper Upper Huahong Dong entrance. Light and the sound of kids playing before lunch had clued us into the fact this might just be a through trip and thought we could avoid swimming. Alas the cave once again threw us a curve ball, and it was either a nasty overhanging climb down or a swim. So Liu Hong declared "I think we have an impression of this cave. It is okay", and we jacked.

That left us with lower Huahong Dong. It had looked like stooping passage so we had left it for last but the low bit soon opened out to a reasonable size. The mapping went well until it looked like we'd have to wade/swim. I spent a long time looking for a dry bypass to no avail so we decided it was dinner time and and went back to the hotel for beer and grub. Duncan was well recovered having spent the day working on the Mu Zong GPF application.

8th December 2002: Treasure Cave, Quarry Cave, Smoking Cave

Duncan Collis, Liu Hong, Matt Ryan

Erin jacked due to feeling unwell (similar head-cold to the one Duncan had been suffering from), so Matt and Duncan met up with Liu Hong and were driven to Hai Yuan Si. From here the three ascended a steep path past the quarries above the temple.

9th December 2002: Jacking a la Framboise

Duncan Collis, Erin Lynch, Matt Ryan

Liu Hong was having "dinner with a lady" (from the Discovery Channel), so we were left to our own devices. In the evening we wandered over to the French Cafe,

"Shall we get pisssed tonight?"

"Oh, that's a good idea"

"Yes, that would be nice"

So we did. It was a night of sheer indulgence, sandwich / burger / omlette followed by beer, Baileys, deserts, coffee, more beer, etc. A triumph of epicurean delight. The night was topped off when as the last patrons (and probably the group with the biggest bar bill) the French woman behind the bar offered us a huge strawberry tart which needed to be extra fresh. Duncan's eyes lit up and we assured her we wouldn't let it go to waste. The tart had barely made it back to the hotel when it was declared "I'll just have one more piece" at a time.