We are already in Urumqi for three days and we are staying with Umit, a friendly Couchsurfing hostess who has attended us warmly.
In response to our questions, Umit has recommended us to visit a natural area located on the outskirts of the city. The site is a mountain called Nanshan which means Mountain of the South in Chinese.
Without loosing time we plan the route, cater with Chinese instant noodles, several bottles of drinking water, fresh traditional cookies from Urumqi, seasonal fruits and local bread.
The following day, early in the morning we take the transport to the Nanshan Mountain. It takes us a couple of hours to get there, so meanwhile we enjoy the natural environment along the road, the green mountains, the deep blue sky and the bright sunshine that warms our hearts.
Arriving at the village nearby the mountain, we understand that the place is protected as a National Park and we still need to keep going a few more kilometers to enter.
As one of the local men sees us, he realizes that we are ‘tourists’, so he approaches us with his car offering to transport us for a modest amount, and promising to take us to one of the less crowded entrances. We accept and 20 minutes later, we are already at the foot of the mountain.
The scenery is majestic; we see hills and tall pines. In addition there are some traditional stores and houses of the people of Kazakhstan, who in their majority and in conjunction with the Uygur population are the inhabitants of this region.
We begin to climb the mountain and notice that there are tons of rubbish, empty plastic bottles, papers, bags, and trash in general. Even the stable where are some resting horses appears to be a dump. It is sad to see these images created by the presence of mankind, but we continue climbing in the hope of finding a place clean and virgin enough to camp.
As we walk through the meadows, we find horses grazing peacefully. They seem to be free but we quickly notice that they are not since they have a little loose tied legs, so they can walk but not run away nor escape. They are docile and in good health. Hanaffan approaches to greet them with kindness.
We continue to walk, enjoying the forests and the fresh air. The truth is that the trek has not been easy because we are loaded with our backpacks, the camping and filming equipment and also an extra luggage packed with food and water
Finally after an hour and a half, we find a steep in the middle of the forest. The place is situated on a plain area in a slope, between two hills of great stature. Everything around us is completely clean. We only hear the singing of the birds and the rustling of the branches of the pine trees. Sometimes we hear the trotting of a galloping horse or the shouts of tourists visiting other sides of the mountain. We are happy to be here and to be able to breathe this pure natural air.
Slowly we settle down and Hanaffan prepares the instant Chinese noodles. Then we relax and wait for the night to come and let us romantically star gaze, which due to the lack of artificial light around us is a wonder!
The next day, we ake the time to explore a bit the surroundings. We have noticed some noises that might come from some big birds and we are trying to identify them. Tere are also a few deep holes in the ground. We wonder what kind of animals live there; but it has already started to get very cold and we must stay warm and eat our ration of instant Chinese noodles, so I prepare a campfire and Hanaffan is in charge of the kitchen!
En las noches hace un poco de frío y durante el día es fresco. Hemos descansado y relajado felizmente sobre todo porque hemos tenido que pasar una mañana entera dentro de la carpa por causa de la lluvia.
In the afternoon when stops raining, we set apart in order to explore the place in silence. I take a way and Hanaffan takes another. The most surprising thing of my exploration was that I could see some very elusive animals getting out of their caves and returning immediately. I could only take a photograph of one of the specimens as I watched it secretly in the distance.
On my way back to the camping site, Hanaffan surprises me with his discovery. He has found the big birds that made so much noise during the day! It is a nest of Eagles with two chicks and a father who watches over them and constantly cares for their offspring while the mother goes in search of food.
Certainly these scientific observations deserve a most detailed post to be able to explain the behavior of these animals when they are in their natural habitat.
Tomorrow is our last day at this camp site because we have no food and we need to go back to civilization to supply ourselves again. After that we will search for another camping site in different area.
This place is beautiful, and we are sure that more surprises are to come!
Stay with us!
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