After 24 hours the flooding situation in the mountains hadn’t subsided, and to make it to our flight in time (12:10), our intrepid driver recommended leaving at 5am. The wakeup call beckoned at 4:30am, we were packed and ready. By 5am we were on the road, back on route 301, well aware we’d hit a traffic jam shortly.
10mins in we came to a standstill, where we sat for half an hour. It was really cold this morning, and my feet felt like ice blocks. The sky was clear, and in the dark night sky of the mountains the stars and waning moon looked fabulous.
The crazy drivers were at it again, using the oncoming traffic lane to jump ahead, past us and the buses. Soon enough there were problems, a convoy of HGVs needed to pass through and there wasn’t enough room. Two lanes became three, and the cars squeezed in to let the lorries by.
After that we begun to move, and soon enough we reached the point where the flood had caused problems. The army were there controlling traffic, and we watched as a bus navigated a tight hairpin turn on a muddy road, along the makeshift route dug up as an emergency measure.
Beyond that there was no traffic and through the winding mountain roads we raced towards the airport. I watched the stars fade against the silhouettes of mountains, Tycho blasted in my headphones, and cool air rushed in through the windows. The sky brightened and the sun hit the tops of the mountains — a stunning landscape view on a crisp morning. It was sublime, and we were exhilarated.
Our extraordinary Songpan, Huanglong and Jiuzhaigou adventure was over, time to fly to Chengdu.