Saturday, July 30, 2011

Travel to Qinghai

This post shall publish a selection of pictures from a 23day round trip from Chengdu to Qinghai and Gansu in June 2011. 

Our trip started on the famous Sichuan Tibet Highway - the G318. After a dangerous 8h ride (the Ya'an - Kangding always is dangerous) we were rewarded with a stunning view towards the Lamoshe Massif from the first high pass behind Kangding.

The G318 splits in Xinduqiao. The northern route - from now on called G317 - passes the sacred Lake Yilhun Lhamtso.
The turquoise glacier lake peacefully lies at the foot of the 6187m Mt. Chola (chin. Que'er Shan) in the county of Derge.

On the high grassland of Kham wild animals are not rare. Just next to the road we ran into a Tibetan Fox family...
...a young Steppe Eagle ...
...and lots of perching birds such as this Tickell's Leaf Warbler:

One more day of long driving brought us across the Bayan Har Mountain Range and to a very sparsely populated area: the source and upper reaches of the Yellow River (Tib. Machu). The Bayan Har Mountains devide the drainage systems of the two main rivers of East Asia: the Yellow River and the Yangtse Jiang (Tongtian He, Tib. Dri Chu). Whilst Amdo covers the Machu river system, Kham is more or less defined by the waters which flow into the Dri Chu river system.

In this area it was quite easy to spot Tibetan Gazelles and Tibetan Ass (Kiang) which sometimes grazed very close to the road.
The area lies at an average altitude of 4500m. Cold and windy conditions allow the vegetation to grow just a few weeks during summer.
A few kilometres after its source the Machu (Yellow River) fills two huge fresh water lakes: Lake Gyaring and Lake Ngoring. Salty and sandy shores with shells and animal bones inbetween remind the visitor on a desert. 

Not only because of desert but because of vultures belong to almost any place on the high plateau I added a picture of a happy vulture party.
Here in one of the caves is a vulture nest. Do you see it?

This picture is from the kora around Mt. Amnye Machen - the most sacred mountain of Amdo. It usually takes 7 days on foot or two months when moving in prostrations.

Another impressing picture of the typical landscape of Amdo. This mountain is not so high in relative altitude (3800m - 4500m) but it apears as an immense fortress after a summer snow storm..

The UNESCO enlisted park of Jiuzhaigou was the last station on our journey. Here is the most famous attraction within this marvelous park: the Nuorilang Waterfall