Yangtze Valley and Beyond by Isabella L. Bird
In January 1896, at the age of 64, the indomitable Isabella Bird set off to explore the Yangtze River and the lonely mountain region of north-west China. A veteran of 20 years travel in America, Asia and the Near East, it was her last great adventure, but one as full of drama and spectacle as anything that had gone before. Eschewing the leisure enjoyed by England's expatriate community in Shanghai, she was thrilled and occasionally aghast at what she found in the little-known land which lay beyond. Travelling alone by riverboat and basket chair, she made her way almost to the Tibetan border, staying in inns and mission stations, observing with fascination the landscape and customs of the people, surviving the terror of a lynching mob, the hostitily of officials who would block her path and the perils of snow storms at 12,000 feet.