Tibet has always made me think of barren landscapes, of cold, of snow-capped mountains. On my way down through Amdo and Kham territory, these images actually came to life. It was early April and therefore still cold, when I left Xining heading South. Quite soon, I saw small streams lying like frozen crusts in the landscape. After passing through rolling lands, we reached the foot of the Tibetan highlands. As we climbed, the last, little vegetation we had seen, disappeared - I would not see it again until I returned to Xining.
The next day, we left early, and there was a thin, fresh layer of snow. And a storm. Sand was being blown horizontally through the landscape, and when we reached completely frozen lakes, it looked like a icy desert. We continued, the storm abated a little, and the sky turned clearer. With the aid of the sun, we now could fully enjoy the spectacularly barren, desolate landscape. This is a dry region, therefore there was not much snow left: it had evaporated already. The landscape was brown, every now and then we crossed solidly frozen rivers.
After the highest pass on this route, just under 5,000m, the landscape continued to be desolate. The rivers grew bigger, and we actually saw some that were not completely frozen anymore. The icy water fighting its way down the thick ice river bed, was actually the only sign of life here - apart from the yaks, wolves, antelopes we saw. The treeless landscape, without so much as a shrubbery, truly fascinated me. As we got lower still, the rivers turned bigger - this is one of the feeder rivers for the Yangtse River. Here, there were still small icebergs floating in it - further down, it would become the lifeline of millions.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Qinghai landscape (China). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Qinghai landscape. Read more about this site.