The last full day in Chengdu started following the same pattern as the previous two: breakfast at the hotel, then hitting the road. This time we all rode together in a single van. Our first destination of the day was the Dujiangyan irrigation system. Constructed around 250 BC, Dujiangyan has served continuously as a method of flood control for the plains surrounding Chengdu, and has provided water for the city itself. It functions by dividing water flowing down from the mountains into two separate channels. This replaced the old method of merely trying to dam flood waters.
Views from the bank of the ancient Dujiangyan flood control system which has operated successfully and continuously since its completion over 2,000 years ago.
A building designed in the architecture of China’s “Warring States” period stands just above the Min River in Dujiangyan. Below Right: The GT recon team standing on the bank of the Min River just north of the start of the irrigation system.
In order to increase slope stability a system of concrete blocks are anchored into the soil to protect the ancient buildings resting atop the cliffs.
A rope & wooden bridge allows for passage over the flood relief channel of the Dujiangyan irrigation system.
After visiting Dujiangyan, the GT recon team headed for our last destination of the China portion of the trip: the Chengdu Panda Sanctuary. Nestled inside of the city of Chengdu, the panda sanctuary was easily the most adorable part of our visit to China. Wild Pandas are found mostly in the Sichuan Province where we spent the latter portion of our China trip. Much of their natural habitat has been destroyed due to deforestation from farming or other land development. While there we learned that panda bear in Mandarin Chinese is dà xióng māo, which is literally translated as “big bear cat” in English.
Standing in front of the entrance to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, the recon team holds up our GT ID’s that we used to get a discounted entrance. Even Dr. Frost received a student discount!
Since the panda is an endangered species, newborns are kept in an incubator to be closely monitored.
Baby pandas at approx. 11 weeks in age.
Adolescent pandas during feeding time.
An adult panda full of energy and excitement! Note that the pandas are all kept mostly indoors during Sichuan’s hot summer months. In the wild they dwell at a much higher elevation than that of the Sichuan Basin, which tends to remain cooler throughout the year.