National Geographic : 1926 Aug
VOL. L, No. 2 WASHINGTON AUGUST, 1926 THE NATIIUOAL x GEOGRAPHIHC MAGAZIHE COPYRIGHT.1926. BY NATIONALGEOGRAPHICSOCIETY WASHINGTON D. C.. IN THE UNITED STATF4 AND GEAT BRITAIN THROUGH THE GREAT RIVER TRENCHES OF ASIA National Geographic Society Explorer Follows the Yangtze, Mekong, and Salwin Through Mighty Gorges, Some of Whose Canyon Walls Tower to a Height of More Than Two Miles BY JOSEPH F. ROCK LEADER OF THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC SOCIETY'S YUNNAN PROVINCE EXPEDITION, AUTHOR OP "THE LAND OF THE YELLOW LAMA," "BANISHING THE DEVIL or DISEASE AMONG THE NASHI," "EXPERIENCES OF A LONE GEOGRAPHER," "HUNTING THE CHAULMOOGRA TREE," ETC., IN THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE With Illustrations from Photographs by the Author WHERE in all the world is to be found scenery comparable to that which awaits the explorer and photographer in northwestern Yiin nan Province, China, and in the mountain fastnesses of Tsariing, in southeastern Tibet? Few have been privileged to climb the towering ranges separating the mightiest streams of China, if not of Asia. The whole region, so geologists tell us, was once one vast, high plateau, now inter sected and eroded by some of the longest rivers in the world. These rivers changed this high plateau not merely into a land of lofty mountains, but of deep valleys with gloomy shadows and forbidding gorges never trodden by human foot. In these trenches the Salwin, Mekong, and Yangtze, cutting through mountain ranges 20,000 feet in height, make their way to the oceans. These three rivers, flowing parallel, north to south, for some distance in western China and southeast ern Tibet, at one place come within 48 miles of each other, as the crow flies, and yet their mouths are separated by thou sands of miles (see map, page 134). It was this region which I wanted to bring home to America in pictures when I led the National Geographic Society's Yiinnan Province Expedition.* THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPHS EVER MADE OF MANY SCENES No white man had previously had a glimpse of many of the scenes here photo graphed, for the few explorers who have penetrated these terrifying fastnesses have done so when the snow-crowned peaks were hidden from view by the en vel)ping monsoon clouds of summer. All three of these rivers have their * See "The National Geographic Society's Yiinnan Province Expedition," by Gilbert Grosvenor, LL. D ., in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE for April, 1925.