Dumptruck Hitchhiking

We took a marshrutka, a Soviet minibus, out of Karakol. The rundown town faded into the distance, and we were soon knee deep in the Kyrgyz countryside. Dirt roads, tall grass, short trees and fading jalopies. The marshrutka’s driver dropped us off at a handful of huts, smoke from a wood fire pouring out of …

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Camping at Bezeklik    

The next day, we went back to the Bezeklik. This time, we got rides from local vans leaving from Turpan’s bazaar, heading to the general area called Shengjin, an irrigated valley that drained into the canyon where the Bezeklik caves were. It was in this area that the mummies and the world’s oldest drug dealer …

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Initial Conclusions about China’s National Parks

   “Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it, and man con only mar it.” – Theodore Roosevelt’s advice on the Grand Canyon   Our recent trips out into Tianchi National Park and Nanshan have taught us a little about China and its wild spaces. …

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Nanshan

The landscape shifted rapidly from farmland to lifeless desert hills to mountainous foothills speckled with shrubs. Finally, we arrived in the green cocoon of the Tianshan Mountains, at a place called Nanshan. Near the parking lot of Nanshan Getting out at the parking lot of Nanshan was not all that different from the parking lot …

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Night – Tianchi Part II

Make sure you check out the previous post before reading this one. The temperature cooled as we moved deeper into the valley behind the lake. We had abandoned the lake, the Tianchi National Park’s main tourist draw, looking for something wild. We followed the concrete spillway up the creek as the sun dropped below the …

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Day – Tianchi Part I

Tianchi National Parks is one of the most famous in China. The word, “Tianchi,” means “Heavenly Lake” in Chinese, and, staring out over the lake, it is easy to see why, long ago, it was given that name. The alpine lake is nestled among steep mountain walls on either side, some of the walls lush …

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