Tall mountains, fast friends, and my first climate story

3 thoughts on “Tall mountains, fast friends, and my first climate story”

  1. I had thought the Snake River Canyon between Oregon and Idaho, at about one mile deep, was about as impressive as gorges ever get. But no, you find Tiger Leaping Gorge at more than twice as deep and I’m awed again by China’s more spectacular scenery: bigger, higher, deeper, weirder, more photogenic.

    Except for the Grand Canyon, of course . . . and maybe the Columbia Gorge for its history of incredible violence during the Spokane Floods . . . and, come to think of it ,the Snake River Canyon is respectably dramatic in that it’s cut right straight down into a high plateau with walls sheer to the sky . . . and crossing the Columbia Bar . . . . .

    Incidentally, the translation that produces “Tiger Leaping” in English seem subtly different from a more typical English word order that would be rendered as “Leaping Tiger.” The L/T order seems merely descriptive; the T/L order seems more present, more fraught with immediate danger. Is this difference inherent in the Chinese name or is it some convention of translation to make the term sound exotic to foreign ears?


    1. I believe it’s a direct translation issue that stuck over time. The Chinese name is 虎跳峡, literally the character for “Tiger” then “Leap/Dance” then “Gorge.” It’s meant to communicate that the Tiger supposedly leapt across the gorge at a certain narrow point in the river. “Leaping Tiger Gorge” doesn’t feel like it expresses that properly, although I don’t suppose it’s current name does either.


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