the world needs more John Muirs

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This morning, we got on a plane to one of the most remote areas of the country:

Kanas airport

Kanas – bordering Kazakhstan in the West, Mongolia in the East and Russia in the North.

There was a large red flag at the tiny airport, reminding us of the fact that we were still in China:


We got on a lofty road that took us through the hills…


…past golden forests…

yellow trees

…and peaceful valleys…

single tree

…until we finally arrived HERE:

tourist throngs

Just so you know: this is the point where you pay for admission and get on a bus with a bunch of folks from the South who go “OOOHH!!” and “AAAHH!!” at every curve and every little thing that they see. They never stop – it’s too awesome!

The bus took us to a Mongolian village called Hemu 禾木 on the banks of a small river:


I loved the birch tree forests there:

birch creek

The whole valley had a feel of peace and tranquility that reminded me of Yosemite National Park in California:


…and just like its American counterpart during its early history, this area was undergoing some pretty drastic changes too:


I could see the struggle of preservation vs. exploitation, and I wondered: what would this place be like in twenty or thirty years?

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