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      Northern Wilderness, Solo Traverse of the Great Chang TangMr YANG Liusong, a Chinese who just finished the first solo traverse over Chang Tang by cycling from west to east in recorded human history, shared his stunning Expedition with all of us through the forum 8264 https//bbs.8264.com/thread-512349-1-1.html . In order to share his legendary journey with those who cannot read Chinese, I translate his story to English here, which has been approved by Mr YANG Liusong. Hope you guys enjoy it.为了让杨同学的传奇能让全世界的驴友分享,俺决定把杨同学的帖子翻译成英文。为了避免麻烦,俺先来个免责声明:1。杨同学不认识俺,也没有授权俺,如果他说不要翻译了那俺就随时终止;2。俺没有商业目的,译版版权归杨同学,俺啥也不要,也不承担法律责任;3。没有杨同学授权,不敢擅自发在国外网站,发在原帖处,荣誉归8264;4。俺英语水平有限,欢迎指正,欢迎转贴。 Northern Wilderness, Solo Traverse of the Great Chang TangBy Yang LiusongIt has been three months since I traversed the unpopulated region in the Great Chang Tang. There are many like-minded asking me about it. I now present this thread to briefly tell everybody about my journey.The starting point of this traverse was from the highest peak of the western part of the Tibetan plateau, Jieshan Daban, and the day was April 20, 2010.I was heading eastward passing Bungdag Co, Yanghu Co, Rola Co, and Kangzhagri Mountain, which crossed over the desolate region from west to east. The journey continued northward to enter the unpopulated area of Altun Mountains, through Hoh Xil Mountains, Kunlun Mountains, Whale lake, ..., finally met some people by the Aqqikkol Hu and then arrived in Huatugou by vehicle three days later and that day was July 5. It had been 77 days in total. I had been all alone 74 days after leaving Jieshan Daban until arriving inAqqikkol Hu, which was about 1400km and about four months.[The Great Chang Tang] In Tibetan, "Chang Tang"; means northern empty wilderness while narrowly, means unpopulated region in northern part of Tibet. However, it actually indiCATes all of the no man's land in northern. The great Chang Tang includes desolate places in Northern Tibet, Hoh Xil, Alun Mountains, and Kunlun Mountains, which are interconnected to form the unique and super empty wilderness in the world. Only because Hoh Xil is the most known name, most people just think this vast land is equivalent to Hoh Xil. In reality, Hoh Xil is only a small piece of the Great Chang Tang both administratively and geologically. The Great Chang Tang, the last land to chase your freedom and dream.The route that I traversed  ForeplayI arrived in Tibet in the early March, a couple of troubles bothered me. The brand new plug got its positive and negative wrongly connected; the rivets of my rucksack eASIly got broken from now and again; and a multi-functional charger got damaged and so on. Riding my bike to Ngari for warming up of this journey, lost my rucksack but later got it back; lost my camera bag and got it back later again, and finally lost a big bicycle pannier in the street of Gyangze town under the eyes of police, including clothes, solar panel and so on.Without much choice, I returned to Lhasa to adjust all the stuff I would need in the wilderness. Then I begged some luck by going to Nyingchi to enjoy the blossoms of peach trees and to take a hot spring bath. I even had the privilege to enjoy time with ten girls in the hot spring. I felt my bad luck had all gone and then returned to Lhasa again to prepare going to Ngari. I did not expect that I was cheated on by some hustler and lost some money and delayed my schedule for a week. I had to find a car myself quickly to Nagri. However, I lost the tool for fast-parting my rear wheel on my way to Nagri, where was a remote area in Tibet and nowhere to buy the tool. Even if there was one in Lhasa it would take at least ten days for a special delivery service. I was lucky that my mate Duola asked a driver to bring the tool for me from Lhasa. I thought there should be no more nightmare like this but the nozzle of my brand new multi-fuel stove was broken. The next day I tried everywhere to weld them back together. The first three shops could not do the welding for copper. The fourth one said they could do it but could not guarantee a sUCCess. The engineer said it would be ten Chinese yuans if it was a success. I agreed. Just in seconds, my nozzle became crap in a flash of lightening. I was so upset. Again, Duola helped me by bringing her own MSR oil stove and Dingding's sleeping bag to Nagri. That was already April 16 and I did not have much time to waste. The following day I found a vehicle heading to Jieshan Daban.The sand storm over Yarlung Zangbo RiverA lonely peach tree blossoming in Yarlung Zangbo Grand CanyonNatural hot spring in wild, me singing and drinking (photo by a friend of mine) Day 1(April 20), 16km, Camping 5192mIt was a truck with a full load of iron wastes, arriving in Jieshan Daban at 6'o clock in the morning. It was still night and extremely cold and dark. Driver was not bothered to pop his head out of the driving cab. I climbed up on the top of the iron wastes, taking my bicycle down. In a hurry, I punched my old water bag. Fortunately I had another MSR water bag given by a friend of mine otherwise I would definitely fail without even starting my journey. For the first time for me to set up the brand new tent in strong, cold winds. It would be impossible to do so if the tent was not a whole piece. Extremely cold outside, about -15C, might be lower than that, I put my head into the sleeping bag but was nearly suffocated to death, honestly. The smell of Dingding's sleeping bag was, lol, so extraordinary. I woke up around 11 o'clock. There were still strong winds outside so that I had to use my bodyweight to keep the tent in place. At the time when I just started to cook and eat, four patrolling soldiers approached me. To their surprise someone, in this season, camped in Jieshan Daban. I was so nervous and afraid they were the people to block my journey because I was caught and deported from the desolate land last year. Luckily the four soldiers did not know my destination and were very kind to me. After they left, I immediately packed my stuff and pushed my bike into the depths of the unpopulated area just in case anything unexpected happened.The bike was very heavy due to the provisions and hard to control. There was even a quite small hill that I had to remove my bike panniers to get over it. This really struck me because this happened even the path was still the hardship one at the moment and I could not imagine what I would do once I entered the uncertain, endless wilderness. Until now I had not met anyone, even the nomadic pastoralists. I remembered there were quite a few of them roaming at the edge of the northern Tibetan plateau last year. All of these indicated it was not the good pasture season in such low temperature and strong winds. Around 16km there was a sheep cote, where I passed it last year, east of Lungmu Co. I was exhausted at this point so that I decided to camp in here and to rest my head. After arranging tent everything I went out to look for the wetland discovered by Duola and Liumeng last year. I was determined to find it.There were many hot springs in the wetland which were underground water with a constant temperature. The wetland therefore became an ideal habitat for some fishes and weeds under such harsh weather, which was the very unique land feature of terrain in this over 5200m highland.Perpetual snow in the valley blown to corn shape by strong windsThis wetland was discovered by Duola and Liumeng. The workers at a nearby mine did not know it and I too missed it last yearUnderground water with a constant temperature, an ideal habitat for some fishes and weeds under such icy weather 感谢大伙儿支持和加分,不一一回复了。特别感谢多啦,希望能有机会一起喝酒吃肉。 Day 2 (April 21), 0km, Camping5192mBlustering gale all night, up and down like ocean waves. The next day rather than continuing to travel, I stayed inside the sheep cote, hesitating and pondering over. Indeed, there were so many problems before this journey;I did not have sufficient physical preparation;the load had already reached its limitation; I still coughed a lot;the weather was so extreme and cold. All in all, I did not think this journey was well prepared and I did not have confidence in completing this journey mentally and physically. To do, or not to do, it was the question. Similarly I did not have confidence in my facilities, not knowing whether all of them would work functionally or not. The fact was one of the rivets got broken again and the front rack came loose. In the afternoon, I replaced all the rivets of the panniers with screws I had prepared before. This was an excellent job I had done which gave me no further troubles throughout my whole journey. I also re-adjusted the front rack. However I did not think it would definitely all right because I did not have a tool to do it. When the darkness descended,I made up my mind to continue my journey, which, of course, was not beyond any imagination. Orchid-like weedsSmall springs everywhere, clear and chillyA thin layer of ice covering the fresh spring water The sheep cote, it was the door under the sleeping bag, which was in the same place as last year, everything looked like yesterdayThe wetland at duskLungmu Co at dusk. You could hear the gigantic sound of wind if the picture had a sound Day 3 (April 22), 52.4km, Camping 5145mGot up in the morning, could not put everything into the bags. Without much choice I had to throw away three portions of tsampa, elbow pads, and crampons. Following the road of the lead-zinicmine I found the side path to enter the wilderness, which was on the riverbed and very hard to see. I missed this side path last year so that I had to take a short cut into the wilderness directly then. That was why I had taken extra care to find the side path. The following journey was to get over a big hill, which lay 5275m above sea level and was the highest point of my whole journey. Around 2 o'clock in the afternoon, I passed the side path leading to Orba Co and started a journey which was complete strange to me. I ate a piece of pilot breads, which was frozen like rocks so that I had to use my spade to crush it. At 6 o'clock in the evening, I had pushed plus rode my bicycle for about 32 km. I reckoned I should have been able to double this if I did no carry such heavy load. The wind became stronger and stronger. I opened the parasail kits and tested it. The result was far beyond what I expected. With the aid of the strong wind I was just like flying over the wilderness. After 8 o'clock in the evening, I started to observe the water Source and to get ready to camp. Map showed there were successive springs along the path and assembled to puddles. But I had overestimated the water source here in this land and in this season there were endless wilderness inside the valley, where I could not see a single drop of water. As it became darker and darker, I felt a little bit nervous which resulted in three spokes of the parasail broken and became a useless rubbish. Anyway, it helped me to move forward 20km more which benefited me a lot later on. When time approached 9.30 pm, it was almost completely dark. I had to lie my bike on the ground and went on to try to find water on the north side of the valley. This was a wide and flat sandy land, where I could not see any ditches there and further was complete darkness. I returned to get my GPS to look up the contours and found the south part of the valley was closer to a hill so I took the way. Finally I found a piece of ice in a ditch. I smashed about 20litre of ice. The ice was quite shallow scattered with sheep poo. On my way back, my eyes were hurt by strong winds, which got me a couple of days to recover. It was nearly 23 o'clock after I set up the tent. It also took about 40 mins to melt the ice. I was so tired and my appetite was completely spoiled. I then had a little bit of milk. I had never expected thing would go like this, it was so distressing. Streams along the path, ice everywhereThe river flew into Matou Hu, in whose north part there was a satellite lake, a wonderful ice-skating court It took 40mins to melt the ice in midnight Day 4 (April 23), 31km, Camping 5028mA cloudy day with gusts. From now and again, hails chased me from behind. Sunny spell. Heavy sandy land made me have to push my bike. At 3pm, I arrived at Luxing Hu, where there was a house made of clay. This was the last permanent building of my journey. Last year, Duola and Liumeng once lived in this house for three days without meeting anybody. It seemed it was the same but the truck parking in front of the house made me worry about. I went to the sheep cote first to check over, where there were only a few lambs following me everywhere I went later on. This made me feel warm in my heart. I observed farther places using my binoculars but could not see any people or sheeps. After making sure there were no people around I opened the locked door using a screwdriver. The living room was very clean. There were two boxes of beverages on the ground and a string of cured lamb legs hanging over in the interior room. A pot of water was on the top of the stove, lukewarm, which indicated the host must be not far away from his home. I filled up my water bag and left the house. I also put the screws back to the door in order not to leave any trace of my visiting. I then took a spanner from the toolbox of the truck, which gave me great help for the rest of the journey.I left the house as quickly as possible. After last year's experience, the nomadic pastoralists were the last people I wanted to meet. A few hundred meters away from the house, the vehicle traces were fading fast. Even downhill, I had to push rather than to ride because of the heavy loose sand. From the route point of view, only after Luxing Hu it was the real unpopulated land. After many days, I thought of the lamb legs from time to time. It was pity that I then had plenty of provisions and the bike was too heavy to carry anything more. Continue to melt the ice under the morning sunshine, all of the sheep poo had been removed carefullyCamping site, the little hill over there was the place where I got the ice last nightThe house by the Luxing Hu, empty, the last permanent building I saw throughout my journeyDay 5 (April 24), 19.8km, Camping 4951mSet off at 10.30 in the morning, the weather was similar to yesterday. Probably this road was the high plain or somewhere the wind passed so that it was so windy. The average wind speed was degree 6 but could reach degree 9 in the blick of an eye. The road was still full of sand and very heavy to walk on it. My eyes became worse under such harsh weather. About three o'clock in the afternoon, I saw something in my right, looked like antenna. I went closer to see what it was and found out it was an iron tower (the triangulation station). In 1970s, a joint team from Chinese three military regiments entered this area doing research. They have left a lot of triangulation stations and benchmarks, which I had the priviledge to see them today.At dusk, I approached to a spring by the Bungdag Co, which flew into the frozon lake. The sand and soil, brought by the strong wind, scattered on the surface of the ice all over the lake. There were so many cracks around the icey surface of the lake. I geussed it must be caused by the springs under the water rather than by melted ice. In the west of the Bungdag Co was the side path leading to Keriya Pass, where a SUV could reach directly. I had looked out any vehicle Tracks but failed. The cloudy sky started to snow. I set up the tent comfortably because I knew that I was safe having such a sweet spring beside me.Triangulation station erected by scientists from the joint research team on Chang Tang of three military regiments in 1971[size=+0]The gap between water and ice in Bungdag Co, I guessed there must be some springs under the lakeThe storm just above the ground, a chaotic darkness[size=+0]Icy Bungdag Co,one of the four biggest lakes in Northern Tibet, wild ducks flying over this vastness and lonenessSnowing at any time, should not happen so frequently like this in this seasonDay 6 (April 25), 4.3km, Camping 5002mWeathering landforms everywhere around this area. Spongy volcanic rocks could be found easily. I pushed my bike turning around a small hill, seeing a big river, the Yinshui He, flowing from Orba Co into Bungdag Co, which I had been to its upstream last year. It was also a passage for animal migration. The downstream of the river was extremely wide and broad. The thickess of the ice layer could reach one meter with the main stem in the middle course of the river, very deep. There were a few springs along the river, sweet and clear.I only went forward a little bit more than 4km but I had walked more than 20km for finding my way. It was not possible to cross the main stem, let alone the north bank of Bungdad Co. What I could only do was to try to find a shallow place to cross. But the southern area was a even larger piece of wetland and forced the road turn towards west. I spent a couple of hours but failed to find a good point to cross the river. In the afternoon, I decided to follow the edge of the wetland. When I reached the hill foot, the wetland finally disappeared. Around this area, there were clearly volcanic feature of terrain and I even found traces of pasturing and cairns made from volcanic rock.Here was the last pasturing trace I found throughout my journey, I guessed it was a summer pasture area. After this, there was no clear sign of human activities in this vast wilderness. I had been looking for my ways until it was dark. I made up my mind where to go TOMOrrow. The terrain here looked like Yardang landforms, as well as volcanic landforms The Yinshui He river from Orba CoSprings scattered all over the river bank, painted green by lovely algaeThe river was very deep. The mixture of green and amber colour showed the sand and mud carried by the melted iceThick layer of ice, sunken surface caused by strong gustsThe south course of the Yinshui He, countless small streams. To the right was the wetlandLooking for ways in the east, a trace of pasturing and the cairn made from spongy volcanic rocksMy camp, opposite to the hillDay 7 (April 26), 11km, Camping 5009mI moved forward to the direction I found yesterday, turning around the wetland and walking toward east. At 2pm, I was blocked by the zigzag Yinshui He again and I had no choice but to cross it. The river was about 700m wide, covered by ice which appeared very different. The hanging ice, the folding ice, the piling-up ice, the icy puddle, and the sleet were everywhere along the river bank. Having noticed all of these, I reckoned the river would be receding at dusk, which was why there were so many different shapes and forms of ice. I put my slipper on, going into the main stream of the river. I found there were at least three different courses of the river, the thickness of the surface ice varied and the river water reached above my knees. I sighed there would be no way back once I crossed this river. There are many ways in one's life too, you can only take it once and you will no long have the courage to repeat it.I pushed the bike crossing the river. Some of the ice was a bit soft, jamming the tyres so that I had to use my feet to break them first. Some of the ice was a bit thick but with half-melted underneath, sticking the the bike completely, some of the ice was half-water half-ice with a sandy riverbed, which was really hard to pass. I had to remove all of the panniers at the last stage of the crossing. I spent the whole four hours to cross the river, my legs got many bloody cuts. At 6pm, the surface ice was almost disappeared completely, the river level rapidly rising to a chaotic status. I thought if I hesitated a little bit at that time, I could not have the courage to cross this river under such circumstances. The river bank was unimaginably sandy and was quite steep. I had to unloaded the panniers again to reach the top of the bank. By the time of sunset, the weather became exceptionally good. The sunlight from the descending sun, the blue sky, the faint moon, .... I liked such a colorful and peaceful Chang Tang and very much enjoyed my camp and myself bathed in such beautiful colour.The ice like this was very thin and suspended, far away from the main stemHard surface with half-melted underneath, the soft sand at the botton was most scaryThe ice like this could easily jam the wheels, hard to get it outI had to unload the panniersChaotic water and terrible hails turned up in no timeThe Chang Tang at the moment liked it used to be,a mixture of cold and warm tones under the golden setting sun Day 8 (April 27), 14.6km, Camping 5112mLast night, I forgot to bring in the odometer, which was out of order due to the coldness in midnight. Since then I used GPS to check the mileage. The digital thermometer was no longer working. I had to use mercury thermometer to collect data. Night temperatures were basically between –15℃—–20℃ while the temperature inside my tent was about –10℃. The advantage of the integrated tent was that it limited the ventilation so to keep warm inside. However, it got clearly disadvantage of heavy condensation and dew. Every morning, there was plenty of frost inside the tent so that I had to put my hood on First Before fully getting dressed. The winds in Chang Tang finally became consistent with the pattern I had researched the other day no or very tiny wind in the morning, strong wind started after 2pm, and then at around 8pm its strength was reduced again. The accuracy of this prediction was about 80%.The road was very bad today. I walked whole afternoon in an ancient riverbed and it was so difficult that I had to use all of my strengths to move a small step forward and then to stop to breath, slower than a snail. After five hours' struggling, my eyes got wet when I saw the grassy river bank. Finally! The nightmare was over.Cold and clear morningHeavy morning condensation in the interior, a lot of frost to clearSuch dawning sunlight indicated a cloudy day ahead Day 9 (April 28), 18km, 5072mIn the morning I entered a range of sandy roads which were so terrible. The solar panel specially designed for GPS got short circuited. After checking it was found to be the diode got damaged. Luckily I got a replacement. Because the GPS was exclusively supplied by a solar panel so that it was no longer a problem for the power supplement of GPS. In a period of 70 days, I did replace the battery once, which saved me a lot of alkaline batteries. I did have another solar panel of 5.4 W which was used specifically for 7.5V Camera, DV and other digital facilities. Unlike water, I had never been short of power.At 7pm in the evening, I arrived at Pur Co. The surface of this lake was very odd the ice by the river bank rose and the river bank was broken, I reckoned that was due to the strong winds. The ice there was mingled with something yellow, could be the stain of alkali. There were many wild yaks on the other side of the lake. There could be two brown bears but I could not be for certain. On the east side of the lake, there was a peninsula leading to the centre of the lake. I camped just opposite to the peninsula. At night , I smashed the ice to get drinking water, which tasted alkali. For the first time I cooked the cereals, which was brought completely by accident. This was just because I found there was a little bit of extra space when I was in Nagri packing the stuff for this journey so that I bought two packs of cereals. It tasted disgusting, probably there was too much alkali in the water. I threw away half of it. Later I realised that probably I subconsciously felt that the provisions was so heavy. I would rather make it lighter at any cost.Dry all my stuff in the morning sun, a routine matterA faint dusk in Pur CoThe river bank pushed up by ice and opened like zipper by gustsThe pushed up surface of the iceThe place where I got my drinking water, a thin layer of ice behind the ablation corns  The moment just before sun set, glittering Pur Co, nothing was the same差点儿没找到俺自己的帖子,原来变色了。多谢各位鼓励。 Day 10 (April 29), 16km, Camping 5141mIn the morning, I walked around the north bank of the Pur Co, where it were continuous ups and downs sprinkled with light yellow sprouts across the sparse grassland. The wild yaks clustered into small groups. All of a sudden, there was a group of five of them running towards me, blowing a huge cloud of dust with the power of thunderbolts,I believed that anyone who did not know the characters of the wild yaks must be frightened to death under such circumstances. The fact was the wild yaks in groups never injured people. Rushing to you just to show you its territory. When they approached people at certain distance, they would turn sharply and run away, and then stopped somewhere high to stare at you. You can not imagine that the wild yaks were very cautious animals compared with its almost one ton of weight. Their first reaction, when meeting people, was to raise their tails, the front hooves rubbing against the ground, the horns pointing forward, the eyes redden, and the long body hair shaking, all of which showed their determination to fight.This was the warning sign that you should retreat. However, you should realise that this was only a gesture that they were afraid of you and wanted to scare you away. The thing was that if you were not afraid of them and moved forward, they would run away in no time. There were only some mad yaks attacking people, which was really rare to happen. In Chang Tang, an experienced driver know that it is very dangerous to pass directly from two or three lonely wild yaks. They always tried to avoid confronting them directly. If this was not possible, they would lit a cigarette, smoking, to wait until the yaks walked away themselves. This was because the wild yaks really could attack vehicles, which was not completely rumors. I once asked them why I had not been attacked. They told me that because my bike was so small they would not be bothered to attack it. My own experience was that approaching a wild yak very slowly, do not look into its eyes, and ignored what it was doing. As long as it moved forward a little bit, just stop and give the yaks a little bit of time to think. Because if you forced the yak, it could be themost dangerous animal in the world and nothing could stop them killing. Even a gunshot could not kill it but only left a small hole in its skin. In the past, the nomads living near this land would use yaks' skin as chopping board which was very much endurable. At noon, I lost my balacLAVA, which was brand new and I had never used it once. I could not be bothered to go back tofind it. This resulted in that I had to have my fleece hat day and night in the rest of my journey, which did not provide fully protection from the sun in the plateau. But somehow I was all right, perhaps because my skin is similar to those of yaks, lol. At around half past one, I found a deserted Jeep, upside down. I felt it could be there for years and it could be the vehicle of someillegal HUNTERs. Nowadays, we have wildlife conservation reserves in Chang Tang and the animals here are well protected. However, some people kills the wild yaks to sell them as the domestic yak's meat. In general, it is worth 10,000 Chinese yuans for a single wild yak. Therefore many people take the risk to make money. They often enter the unpopulated areas to hunt and their activities can reach 200 km in diameter. This is why the wild yaks in the deep wilderness are less afraid of people than thoseat the boundaries of the Chang Tang region.There once happened that a wild yak mother revenged its baby's murder in the Altun mountains. Its horns pierced the killer's chest and held his body over its head for more than ten days, which was very touching.Around 3pm, I walked out of the Pur basin. The next point was Hong Shan Daban and then it was the Yueya Hu by the Toze Gangri. At this time I found a vehicle track from south to north. I checked over but could not find the way where they had gone. I took my map, GPS, and compass, climbing up a small hill to estimate the location of Hong Shan Daban. The mountain was very round and it was hard to find the mountain pass. After determining the location of the Daban, I moved straightforward. When I passed a messy grassland, I saw something that I was reluctant to see more than hundreds of wild yaks' head scattered all over, which was definitely the scene of the illegal hunting. After that it was a very long ancient river bed with soft sand slowly rising until the foot of the mountain.There are some spines on the surface of the tongues of wild yaks, which are used by nomads in this area as combs. They use them from their teens to the time when their hair becomes silver.The deserted Jeep, could be left by illegal hunters years agoThe slaughtered wild yaks with the wheel size heads. Some of the skulls were chopped into half. Why was that? Could be taken away for making combs?My camp at the foot of the Daban underthe lingering golden rays of the setting sun. Tomorrow's weather must be wonderful, I reckoned Day 11(April 30), 20.4km, Camping 5120mThe surface of the road leading to Hong Shan Daban was very hard, most of them were small rocks, sort of gravels, plus a quite long downhill slope, I pushed my bike more than 20km for the first time after Luxing Hu. The mountain pass was quite flat, just like a broad ridge, it was 5256m above the sea level. Upon arriving at the pass, Toze Gangri of 6356m was in my sight clearly, very much round and there was no back bone like normal snow covered mountains. Most of the snow mountains in Chang Tang looked like this probably it was due to the geological movements. There were quite a few chirus or Tibetan antelopes in the valley but I was not interested in this kind of animals anymore after I witnessed a large scale of migration of such animals last year elsewhere.The herbivorous animals here are very quick to reach its original size of the population, such as wild yaks, chirus, Tibetan gazelle, pika, and marmot. When you go into the depths of the Chang Tang, you could hardly be surpised by the sudden appearance of the chirus because they are so common in here. At this time of year, the chirus have already male-female parted. You could see many pregnant female chirus but hardly see any males. According to recent research, Zonag Co is not the only lake for breeding. There are at least four of them in the whole Chang Tang. Zonag Co, Tuzi Hu, Heishi Beihu, and another lake I can not remember. I think there must be more than four of them and most of the populations do not migrant long way like most people used to think. They generally migrant from south to north between Central Mountains and Kunlun Mountains.The chirus looks very timid but are very curious about outside world. They are not really afraid of people, particularly in the depth of the Chang Tang. The nearest distance we can approach is about 30m. They just stare at you calmly and think who you are and why you move so slow. They would run in front of you. Look like they are afraid of you but the fact is they are playing with you. A man's own character shapes his fortune. This is of course suit for animals too. The chirus are the typical one. They have a super speed and a pair of sharp antlers. If they are crazy, three of them work together could easily kill a wolf. But as you might have known, their antlers are just for fighting to mate with females.Down the Daban there was a very steep and straight road, I tried to ride the bicycle but ended up with falling over. The front rack came loose and one of the pannier flew into valley. The foot of the mountain was the Yueya Hu covered by ice, which was alake full of heavy metal elements. Along the lake bank there were many stark rocks very much weathered, lining up just like castles or houses. This made me stop to investigate what they were from time to time, I did understand they were just rocks though but they were so real like the figures of real people. On of them even made me hide in a ditch, observing them again and again using my binoculars. There were also many black volcanic rocks. All in all, the features of this area were really unusual.Passed over the Yueya Hu, it was an endless ancient lake bed. What my GPS showed was this area was a big lake like tentacles. I looked around, it was endless wilderness without a piece of ice and a drop of water. Roughly, I estimated this lake bed was about 1200 square meters. I had to tell you that Chang Tang was a place where there was no high-resolution map. The marks in the map often were some kind of memory. Just like this ancient lake bed under my feet, may be it was full of water a few years ago. Who knows. Pushing the bike in such an endless lake bed was very easy to get lost. My mind was in a chaotic status too.The migration of the animals, photo taken last year The road rising up to the Daban, full of gravels, very hard, ideal for pushing your bikeThe Yueya Hu gazed at by the round and smooth Toze Gangri. At a glimpse, could you tell which was mountain, which was cloud?Ancient lake bed. The white stains were the alkali, look like ice. About wildlife (part 1)Declaration Personal experience for reference onlyDangerous wild animals and their threats to human beings are a ever-LASTING subject for those backpackers travelling in the wild.In Chang Tang, for example, there are two kinds of deadly animals, one is wolves and the other is brawn bears. As substitutes, wild yaks and crows might be dangerous to you in some circumstances that I will come back to this a little bit later on. As for how to protect yourself against these dangerous animals, I think the primary point is you do not try to hurt them because the emotions of human and animals are same instinctively. [Wolves]Throughout my journey, I met wolves a total of seven times, in which I confronted them five times. As you might have known that wolves have become more and more solitary animals, it is very rare they live in a large group nowadays. Please allow me off the point a little bit and talk about the ecological problems in Chang Tang. The problem is now not the decrease of the number of the chirus but the imbalance of the whole food chain, more specifically, the number of the animals on the higher trophic levels of the food chain has not yet reached its ideal level which results in this kind of imbalance. Particularly, the pikas and the marmots who have lost their predators rapidly expanse which results in the desertification of Chang Tang. As early as the middle of last century, wolves were the dominant predators in the vast wilderness. They became a threat not only to other preys but also nomads pasturing in this land. Therefore, the then government called on people to cull back the population of the wolves in Chang Tang, which resulted in the current situation directly. The last official record about wolves attacking humans was around 1970s, which happened in Bamaoqiongzong. A team of secientists was surrounded by a group of wolves and they had to shoot them using guns. Of course, at present in Chang Tang, wolves are absolutely lonely.In this traverse, the first time I encountered a pair of wolves, one of them staying in front of me pretending to attack me while the other staying behind me. This is the standard attacking strategy of wolves. First, you should not be nervous which can be easily detected by the predators. Second, you should not retreat even an inch because this means you are the prey rather than the predator. Do not make any large movement, of course you could take a picture if you feel safe to do so. You must look into its eyes for a few minutes or even half an hour. When the wolves can not work out who you are and consider you are not posing any danger to them, then they will leave. You should remember that wolves in this land do not lack of food and it is much easy for them to catch a pika than a human. Even if being hungry, they would evaluate how easy to get you done, What you need to do is to show them that you are not interested in them and you are not afraid of them at all, let alone to show your ID card to them. As for the wolves family, really, I have not heard for ages. If you really have an encounter with them and they have no other choice, then it definitely depends on your forture. In fact, for so many year, it has been very rare to happen that wolves kill human. But the rumours are still there, in particular, the road connecting Xinjiang and Tibet.The nearest encounter with a wolf throughout my journey, no conflict at all[Brown Bears]Brown bears are real dangerous animals to human. Every year there are some accidents happened in some regions of Xinjiang on the north side of Kunkun Mountains and steppes in Northern Tibet. More than that the bears could attack your house, smash your windows, and eat your sheep. Therefore, in Northern Tibet some local councils give subsidies to the pastorarists for compensating the losses due to the bears because they are not allow to fight back and kill the bears except their lives are in great danger. Once there was a nomad taught me a method to protect yourself from bears. He told me to pick up a stick to feed the bear and the bear thinks the stick is your hand which tastes disgusting. So the bear would leave. It was so funny but the reality is to find a stick in this vast wilderness is just like you win the lottery.Bears are omonivorous animal who are generally not interested in human flesh. You can find that in most of accidents, the bears did not eat any of the human flesh rather they just smashed them for kind of fun that we could not understand. For the reason why bears kill human, one explanation is the conflict between human and wildlife in this extreme ecological environment. The nomads invade the habitats of the bears, which results in these conflicts. On the other hand, it might be because bears have quite high IQ so that they think it is much easy to kill a sheep in the cote rather than to kill a pika in the wild.I have met bears five times in my traverse, in two cases we were very close to each other. I had even walked with one of them for quite a while, just like we had a date for a walk. The fact is it is not that terrible like you might imagine. The same rules for dealing with wolves apply to bears. Never provoke dangerous animals. A bear can run at a speed of 40km/h, do you think you can compete this in a highland 5,000m above sea level?However, there is a situation where it is really dangerous, that is the encounter. It is not easy to control your instinctive reaction to the external dangers. Last year once I turned around a hill, there was a bear just in front of me. The bear of course was frightened by me with its front legs holding up, waving in the air and roaring. At that time I sat on the ground, ignoring it. The bear then left in a few minutes. Chang Tang is a vast land so that this is not that easy to happen. But if it does happen, really only God can bless you.The nearest encounter with a bear throughout my journey. This bear disappeared in a herd of wild yaks, which I had tried hard to spot, really weird About wildlife (part 2)Declaration personal experience for reference only.[Wild Yaks]I have talked about quite a few, like in the post of Day10. I will no longer talk about it.This was the funniest encounter with a solitary wild yak, who did not warn me. If I sat down, it sat down too. If I moved forward, it stopped. Could not imagine what it was thinking about.[Crows]Crows are dangerous only when you fall unconscious in the wilderness. Of course they will be the first to taste your flesh in that case. Unlike their cousinsliving in urban areas, the crows in Chang Tang have a larger body like eagles. When they fly over your head, you could feel like it is a piece of cloud. They are scavengers but like fresh meat too. It once happened that a baby was killed by crows relentlessly, let alone the lambs got killed by them. Once a nomad asked me for fireworks to scare the crows away. (They are sacred birds not to be killed by human)It is easy to defend yourself against crows, that is to keep fighting, never fall in the wilderness.A short break attracted the crows. Of course, they were miscalculating this time, photo taken last year[Strategies Adopted]At the time when I met the four soldiers in Jieshan Daban, they said there were many dangerous animals in the Northern Tibet and asked me if I had brought a shotgun. I think if they knew that I would enter Chang Tang they would definitely check if I really have a shotgun. The so-called defence facilities I brought with me were the fireworks and pepper spray. I had never used them. The fireworks were ruined and thrown away when I crossed a river and I had never opened the pepper spray. I even had never thought about this when camping in the night. The reason was I did not feel the needs. During the day time whenever I met any animals I had never touched the knife I had brought. I did not have anything to defend myself when I walked out to investigate the route. The Chang Tang is really a vast area so as to be very easy to detect anything strange.By the way, you'd better to avoid mating season's animals because even tamed rabbits could be aggressive in mating season.The thing is even if you have a gun, it is not very much helpful when bears attack you. Therefore, your attitude is most important.I can tell you something. Dogs are more dangerous than these wild animals. I had been chased by Tibetan dogs, pounced on by dogs in mating season, also besieged by a group of dogs. I really feel it is more useful to know how to defend a dog.Declaration again The above experience is from Chang Tang only. Of course, the more you prepared, the better. Day 12 (May 1), 23.8km, Camping 5117mToday was May 1 -- the Labour Day, I had been walking in some lake area marked in the map but clearly dried up. The lake basin was flat and hard so that I even pushed my bike more than 20km. Let it be the special treat for my May Day. After midday it became cloudy with growing winds. Since the Yueya Hu that I passed yesterday, there were no big lakes until Yanghu Co (My route would be between Jianshui Hu and Bairab Co), there was even no light alkaline water to drink so I had to pay extra attention not to miss any possible drinking water supply to fill up my water bag. There were a few very small lakes but all were alkaline puddles which was very shallow, whose depth was no more than the length of a half-finger. These puddles were covered with a hard shell of the mixture of salt and ice which smelled stinking and decaying when getting closer, must be toxic water I supposed. On the shore of this type of small lakes it was muddy soil and very hard to get closer.There was no sign of tundra at all.It was almost half past six when I found some snow corns in a ditch, which was the only drinking water supply of the day. There was a thin layer of melted ice on the surface of the ground near the snow corn, which was very hard to collect and was contaminated by the alkali. The snow corn was the yet melted thick snow, which was shaped like a corn by wind. The snow was quite hard and dry,porous like ice. I crushed a few snow corns, putting them into the water bag.They would be my drinking water tonight. These snow corns were the only one in today's wilderness, I reckoned the reason why they were not melted like others was the soil underneath contained large amount of ice blocks which acted as a freezer.Very strong gale in the night, it was hard to bear the sound of the vibration of the tent. Small single tent was good in the sense that it would not be blown away as long as you stayed inside. But you had to be very careful to set up the tent. I once did not pay much attention when doing so, the tent was blown away by winds, and rolling over like a Giant lantern ... I ran after it, got it back, and was exhausted. In general, it is not possible to fix the tent completely using tent pegs because they were not very much effective like large tents. It was snowing around 23 o'clock, the winds were howling from north,then the falling snow flakes landed on my tent quietly, I finally felt at peace and fell asleep. The flat ancient lake basin, assisting me walking more than 20kmSmall lake en route, toxic waterSnow corns, the only drinking water supply today Day 13 (May 2), 0km, Camping 5117mWaking up in the morning and opening the tent, the heavy snow outside must be sent by the God to force me have a break for the May Day. After lying in for a while, getting up and walking on the snowy ground out I went to have a look around. As first sight there were a herd of chirus. They were plainly to be spotted because they looked like a clear black straight line in the while snow. I returned to get my camera and then followed them to take some pictures. But they were very much alert and kept a quite long distance from me. I felt they were a group of pregnant females, instinctively protecting themselves from any potential harm. I was no longer short of water, the snow gave me a precious supply of drinking water. The problem was that they were very petrol consuming. I tool 8.6 litre of petrol and the oil stove was Duola's MSR. The pot was of 1.5 litre, mainly for boiling water. After several days' experiments, I found that the liquid water needed 16mins and 14-15mins to boil in the morning and evening, respectively. For ice, it would take 35-40mins while for snow it took 45-50mins. Melting snow was a very time and petrol consuming process so if I had a choice between snow and light alkaline water, most of time I would go with the latter. Lying inside the tent, listening to musics,I smoked a cigarette while gazing at the more and more chirus around me. Because it was very cold I had been wearing my shoes all the time. Now I just put my bare feet under the warm sun for some fresh air. I found three cuts in my hands and one in my sole. The cuts were about 4cm in length, looked terrible but it was actually all right really. Half of my toes were injured by to much walking, quite painful. I fetched my medicine bag and found I only got four patches of plasters, a serious mistake. One of the cuts in my hand had never been cured until I was out of this desolate land so as to feel like this finger would drop from my hand at any time. The others quickly recovered in a few days then new cuts appeared elsewhere. This process occurred periodically. I felt that it was somewhat related to the cold, dry weather and the lack of vitamins. The snow rapidly disappeared, which is unique phenomenon in Chang Tang. Because of the low air humidity and the high radiation from the sun, the snow was evaporating very fast, much quicker than the melting speed. Owing to this, the ground was generally still dry after the snow disappeared. In most cases, it would be only 2/5 left in the afternoon around 2 to 3 o'clock and small patches of ground could be seen. It would be completely all right for walking the next day. On the third day there could be some snow left in somewhere the sunlight hard to reach. So generally it could give you three days of water supply after a heavy snow like this. One of the pannier was broken, the most expensive one from deuter series, supposed to be waterproof. I will come back to it at some point later. Everything was covered by snow, no way out Lying in the middle of Chang Tang, listening to Tian Zhen's songs, and smoking Baisha cigarettes, what else can you ask for?  The pregnant female chirus in migration, probably heading to Heishi Beihu to give birth([]

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