A couple of friends took me out to the mountains west of the town:
It was a one-hour drive up to the valley, and when we got there, I was just…
…and – for once – at a complete lack of words:
Tibetan regions have a number of animals that you’re not very likely to find anywhere else, like this kind of sheep for example:
You probably know that yaks are also originally from the Tibetan regions, but have you heard of the White Yak 白牦牛 yet?
Only here in Tianzhu:
Any of these animals you see in any other region of the world – they are all originally from here.
These people were not looking for yaks though:
They were looking for one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen:
It’s called Winter Worm Summer Grass 冬虫夏草 and is also known as caterpillar fungus. Basically this is a fungus that infests certain caterpillars underground, kills them and grows a small plant-like body that sticks out from the ground resembling grass during Spring. This Worm Grass is a very expensive ingredient of traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine.
Back to the yaks though – I went after a small herd:
…and I chased them down, since they eventually had to find out that they had been fenced in all along:
These particular ones were rather young animals who were naturally shy and not overly protective of the little one that was with them:
Did I say little?
What I meant to say was…
Only a couple of weeks old, this baby calf with its adorable big black eyes.
When the sun was about to set in the west, I left the yaks to themselves and climbed up a steep hill to take pictures of the snowy mountains ahead:
At an altitude of about 3400m, I have to admit that I didn’t feel that comfortable exercising my flatland mountaineering skills, so I stayed up there for almost an hour, gasping for air and using the little digital camera to record 30 minutes of video that I shortened down a bit just now:
If this is not just majestic – blame it on me, for the reality was.
When I got down from the hill, I found out that my friends had not wasted their time either.
They had kept themselves busy fishing, and decided to invite me home to a dinner of fresh mountain creek fish.
It was already getting late when we finally left the mountains behind and rode past this lake on the way home.
I asked my friend to stop for one last photograph:
Reflections on the water. Reflections on the day.
And what an amazing day it had been.