the white yak, the majestic, and the worm

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A couple of friends took me out to the mountains west of the town:

car

It was a one-hour drive up to the valley, and when we got there, I was just…

valley

…so overwhelmed…

road and creek

…and – for once – at a complete lack of words:

green

Awesome.

Tibetan regions have a number of animals that you’re not very likely to find anywhere else, like this kind of sheep for example:

sheep

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:

white yak

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:

searchers

They were looking for one of the weirdest things I’ve ever seen:

winter worm summer grass

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:

white and black yaks

These particular ones were rather young animals who were naturally shy and not overly protective of the little one that was with them:

big and little yak

Did I say little?

What I meant to say was…

baby yak

…just tiny:

not a sheep

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:

mountains

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.

Awesome!

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:

lake

Reflections on the water. Reflections on the day.

And what an amazing day it had been.



  • Hermann

    Nice day. No walking. Just sights.

    Reply

  • Réka

    ooooohhhh – mein kleines mädchenherz wird ganz weich 🙂

    ich will auch so ein baby-yak! ich befürchte nur, eine 1-zimmer innenstadt wohnung in köln ist wohl nicht das richtige…und auch das bett wird wohl auf dauer aufgrund des wachstums wohl zu klein für uns beide…mmh…schade…*gg*

    Reply

  • Barry

    typischer Mädelkommentar bei den Yak-Baby-Bildern: oooooohh wie süüüüüß.
    Zugegeben, sind ja echt niedlich. Und gegen meine sonstige Gewohnheit sag ich mal nicht: mmh lecker, am besten vom Grill.

    Genau genommen kann der heutige Tag nur mit einem einzigen Wort kommentiert werden:
    grandios!!!

    Boah, dieses Licht und diese Farben. Eine Tüte Neid reicht da nicht aus, ist wohl eher ein ganzer Container.

    Reply

  • Achille

    ohhhh, the last pic is so f**king awesome. love that!

    guess u guys had a wonderful creek fish meal:)

    i was confused by 尕藏 at first, 'coz i thought it would be a traditional title of the district. The chinese character 尕 gave me a wrong indication, 'coz i have never seen the character before even though i am from China. Now, i know that(尕藏) is a family name….

    Reply

  • ataraxia

    wow…they are really white……unbelievable

    Reply

  • Florian

    Sooo viele beeindruckende Bilder – und das alles ohne Marschkilometer! Landschaftsbilder stehen ja auf meiner "Hitliste" ganz oben – vor allem vor dem Hintergrund dieser grandiosen Gebirgslandschaft, irgendwie karg, aber dennoch unglaublich reich an reizvollen Perspektiven… Das wird ja immer besser: Eine Kombination aus Landschaftsbildern, Portraits der Menschen und der Tiere, Bilder der menschlichen Bauten… es fällt langsam schwer, sich vorzustellen, was da noch kommen mag – da reicht die Phantasie nicht aus!

    Reply

  • Christoph

    Hermann: Ich fand's soooo super!
    Réka: Ha, das würde ich gerne sehen – du mit deinem RIESIGEN Yak!!
    Barry: War wirklich toll.
    Achille: Well, he has a family name as well, this is just his first name.
    ataraxia: Never seen one before?
    Florian: Ja, manchmal kommen die besten Bilder in der Pause…

    Reply

  • jule

    dann lass ich hier auch mal einen mädchenkommentar:
    wie süüüß das kleine yak!!! ich hätte sogar nen kleinen garten anzubieten, und wenn es da nicht satt würde ließe ich es einfach nachts heimlich in die nachbargärten… 🙂
    riechen yaks eigentlich wirklich so schlimm wie es immer heißt?? ich kenn nämlich den spruch: du stinkst wie ein yak!….

    Reply

  • Gisela

    Da kann man nur sagen ein traumhaft schöner Tag mit super Bildern für uns alle!

    Reply

  • Steven

    What's wonderful day you had..!!
    Masterpiece !!!!

    Reply

  • Kylie

    I try to click into your site every day, as I just love all your photos and the stories of the people you are meeting on the way. These photos would have to be some of my favourites – what a beautiful region. Good luck with your travels, I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in your adventures!

    Reply

  • Christoph

    jule: Nee, ich hab nicht gemerkt, dass die schlecht riechen. Aber vielleicht stinke ich auch einfach selber zu sehr.
    Gisela: 🙂
    Steven: Thanks to 尕藏, and thanks to the yaks!
    Kylie: Glad you like it – welcome to the way!!

    Reply

  • andy

    …dann hier noch ein Jungskommentar: oooohhh ist das süüüüß!!!!
    (aka wie Du schon sagtest: "auch Yaks haben süße Kinder!")

    Reply

  • Josie Ella

    What a wonderful day ❤

    Reply

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