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Huangguoshu Falls on Baihe River in Guizhou (Kweichow)

Province, southwest China, is world-known as the country’s largest ,waterfall. Huangguoshu Falls is one of nine gradients along the Baibe River in the Huangguoshu region. It has three cataracts up-Stream and five downstream, with a spray, roar, color and majesty that are awe-inspiring. The falls have been an important source of energy in recent years. Fed by the twenty meter-wide river, they cascade sixty meters thousand cubic meters per second, its thunder audible before the falls come into view. Cool spray caresses one’s (ace from the highway close by.

The cascade may be viewed from a charming pavilion set on a steep ledge, while beneath are wild flowers and cactus. The torrent battles its way southward through a deep valley below.

At the foot of the fails is the jade-green Rhinoceros Pool surrounded on three sides by mountains. Legend has it that a rhinoceros once crawled out of this pool-an unlikely story, but the name has stuck.

As the waterfall roars into the pool, foam rises fifty to sixty Meters, water minging with mist and shimmering in the sunlight. Rainbows occur frequently at sunset in summer, appearing as colorful bridges above the clouds waterfall Cave arches into the cliffside and is fancifully curtained by a sheet of water. Not far from the Huangguoshu Falls is Rhinoceros Cave, named from the pool, which was discovered on a slope near the falls in 1975 when commune members were building an underground pumping station for irrigation. Inside the cave are clusters of stalactites. These are in shades of green and deep yellow. Further on the cave so low and narrow that the stone“icicles”seem to graze your head, while the passageway will admit only one person at a time due to overlapping rock screens. This is known as‘‘Devil’s Pass” for it was once thought to be guarded by demons Visitors used to be plunged into total darkness at this point, but today, after harnessing the falls, the people have electricity, which also illuminates the cave.

Once through this‘‘needle’s eye’’one is in a cavern decked with dripping stalactites and stalagmites of curious shapes. Deeper inside there are fewer of these stone formations and the air is dry. Next is a cave ceiling thirty meters high where layers of stones resemble pink and green feathery clouds against a background of pale yellow cumulus. Another hundred meters and the visitor is confronted with a stone door naturally square in shape. Through this door is an artificially lighted under ground palace with a vaulted roof that can hold a thousand people. A stone pillar thirty meters high and one meter thick is at the center as though propping up the ceiling. Nature has etched designs on the pillar as fine as a master carver on ivory.

At one side of this ‘palace” is a gentle slope resembling a stage for giants with a stone screen like a half-length stage curtain hanging from above. On this “stage” are stalagmites and pillars of many shapes- human, animal, vegetable, and even a sledgehammer. A cluster of short pillars is construed as a lion dance, with a prancing lion playing with a bail. Another is a natural statue of a Miao nationality woman with her hair done in a knot. She wears the traditional close fitting Miao dress and has a baby in her arms spacious hall whose ion-square meter roof canopies green water surrounded by a petrified wood. This stream in Rhinoceros Cave, seventy meters wide and z7 meters deep, flows crystal years, however, while nearby cropland was dry. A pumping station built recently makes die vast water resource of Rhinoceros Cave available to the people.

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