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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

High Road To An Isolated Village

Take the high road! Chinese village's only contact with world is 1,000-yard zip-line at a dizzying height above valley floor

By Daniel Miller
If you suffer from even the slightest amount vertigo then Yushan village in China's Hubei Province is probably best kept off any list of potential holiday destinations.
For despite its staggeringly beautiful location, Yushan's only connection with the outside world is a precarious zip line stretching for a dizzying kilometre, 400 metres above the valley floor. 
A pair of thick cables are strung between two high cliff faces with a steel cage suspended below to carry people and goods in and out of the village. 
Don't look down! This terrifying zip line stretching 400metres above the valley floor is the only connection to the outside world for Yushan village in China's Hubei Province
Don't look down! This terrifying zip line stretching 400metres above the valley floor is the only connection to the outside world for Yushan village in China's Hubei Province
Not a job for the faint-hearted: Maintenance man Zhang Xinjian at work checking the cable ropeway precariously suspended between two cliffs
Not a job for the faint-hearted: Maintenance man Zhang Xinjian at work checking the cable ropeway precariously suspended between two cliffs
Yushan has a population of just over 200 people and before the ropeway was built in 1997, villagers faced a walk of several days to get to the next nearest village.

The ropeway, which is powered by a diesel engine, is 1,000 meters long and 400 meters above the valley floor.  Zhang Xinjian has been maintaining the ropeway for the past 15 years. 
Hold tight: Yushan has a population of just over 200 people and before the ropeway was built in 1997, villagers faced a walk of several days to get to the next nearest village
Short cut: Yushan has a population of just over 200 people and before the ropeway was built in 1997, villagers faced a walk of several days to get to the nearest village
Welcome sight: The station across the valley from Yushan set in the spectacular country of Hubei Province
Welcome sight: The station across the valley from Yushan set in the spectacular country of Hubei Province
All aboard: Passengers wait to travel across the cable ropeway connecting Yushan to the outside world

Zhang Xinjian at work maintaining the diesel engine that runs the cable ropeway
All aboard: Passengers wait to travel across the cable ropeway connecting Yushan to the outside world and  Zhang Xinjian at work maintaining the diesel engine 
He said: 'I started to work at this spot since the rope was set up. No one would take the job. 
'As my father was the village head he had to assign me to do it and it has been 15 years.'
Lubricating the cables once a week is a very dangerous job. Zhang has to take the cart and apply oil onto the cables along the way. 
'In the beginning, my father, my younger brother and I took care of the cableway together, but later my younger brother quit and my father's health went bad, so it's only me that could do the job'.
Stressful job: Lubricating the cables has to be done once a week so Zhang has to perch himself on the cart and apply oil as he slides along the rope
Stressful job: Lubricating the cables has to be done once a week so Zhang has to perch himself on the cart and apply oil as he slides along the rope
Reliable: A primitive-looking diesel engine is all that powers the zip line. If it breaks down passengers could be left dangling above the valley floor
Reliable: A primitive-looking diesel engine is all that powers the zip line. If it breaks down passengers would be left dangling above the valley floor

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