Nanshan @ Urümqi

With lakes, mountains, caves, and forests, Urumqi is famous for being surrounded by natural beauty in all directions. Awaking with the determination to explore this, I shrugged off my beer hangover from the night before and managed to get to the bus station. Due to some gap in the departure schedule, the ticket I ended up with wasn't to where I'd asked, but the girl at the counter looked pretty confident that I would be satisfied. An hour and a half later I got off at the last stop, where it was difficult to understand what the proper route was, there were just a couple of shacks around and two roads diverging from a fork. I picked a road, and after walking along it rather unconfidently for a bit, I was approached by a random Kazak guy.

Wandering away from the bus stop

He was offering a ride for 50 RMB to another location I couldn't understand, at first I was trepidations, but after negotiating down to 20 RMB I thought maybe I can roll the dice again. Pretty soon I was ascending a dirt road through the woods, eventually, we pulled through a little yurt campsite and he dropped me off on the edge of the forest at the beginning of a trail going up the mountain.

The blog posts I had read about some of the other Urumqi attractions made it sound like I would be fighting off hawkers, and have to go out of my way to get away from food and drink stands. Because of this I didn't eat much or bring any food, but as I started my walk up into the mountains I realized I might be completely off the grid. For an hour or so I hiked along a small stream between two large ridges of the mountain range, which was enjoyable but I thought to get something more exciting maybe I could visit the top of the ridge.

The hillside of the ridge was rough but navigable, about a 45-degree angle with grass everywhere and the occasional fallen tree to hold onto. Without food to eat, my energy was now being drawn from the thirst for a beautiful view, which I could stop every 10 minutes or so to appreciate. Once I made it to the top I collapsed and didn't really move around for a while, however, when I recovered I was rewarded with a pretty awesome view looking across to the other ridged and down into the gullies below. With a little bit of careful navigation and rock climbing up here, I managed to find excellent places to take photos of the mountain view.

At the top looking down

On my way back to the bus stop I managed to catch some mountain goats (or maybe sheep?) in action climbing up one of the adjacent mountains!

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