Preface: The host is an outdoor rookie born in the 90s. Because of getting acquainted with the off-road e-family “Adventure Report” team, he had the opportunity to go to two uninhabited areas and important historical relics – Loulan, feel the charm of primitive nature, and witness The weight of history. It’s amazing to say that I just had a little understanding of no-man’s land two years ago. I never thought that I could go there in person now. I started from Beijing by car and gathered in Golmud, Qinghai. It took 7 days to complete the Altun Mountain Nature Reserve and Lop Nur. Exploration of the ancient cities of Milan and Loulan. Here I will share what I have seen and felt with you. (Source of the following pictures: Yang Zheng)
Although it is only a glimpse of Altun Mountain, the experience has already been thrown to the extreme.
The cloud shadows move and dance on the continuous sand sea, and the crystal clear and cool snow-capped mountains stand behind the sand sea. The melted snow water penetrates the sand and grasslands, forming azure lakes and rivers that spread vertically and horizontally. The cold wind is blowing and the lake water is cool, but it nourishes 359 rare wild animals in the Altun Mountains and cultivates a rare gene pool of plateau species.
Under the harsh environment, nature combines very different scenery and strange landforms. This is a no-man’s land hidden in the wilderness, and it is also the original habitat of thousands of creatures. This is the Altun Mountain Nature Reserve.
Human beings have never stopped exploring Altun Mountain, and we are not the first to enter this secret garden. As early as the 19th century, the Russian explorer Przewalski and the Swedish explorer Sven Hedin successively crossed its edge area, because the Altyn Mountain is surrounded by Qilian Mountains, Kunlun Mountains, etc., and is in the inland closed plateau basin. They were not able to go deep due to restrictions such as natural and harsh climatic conditions. After Sven Heding left a sketch outlining the desolation and severe cold of Altun Mountain, he left helplessly.
In the following century, human beings continued to try to go deep into this place. In order to prevent human beings from polluting the Altun Mountain environment and causing damage to the animal and plant ecosystems, the Altun Mountain National Nature Reserve was established in 1985. In recent years, the ecology of animals and plants has been effectively protected. Within the scope of the environment, the Altun Mountain Nature Reserve has released some places for us, allowing us to enter the place in Sven Hedin’s painting and learn about this legendary land. “Arid Center of Asia”, “Barren Land”, “Dead Land”.
The altitude climbed to more than 4000, and the scenery began to be unreal. Clouds and mist hovered over the mountain ahead, spreading all the way to the ground, only the top of the mountain was looming. A dirt road stretches into the distance in the vast expanse of wild grass and Gobi, and the end of the road is unknown. The clouds in the sky learned to change colors, hanging layer upon layer on the sky ahead. When entering Altun Mountain for the first time, everyone seems to be struck by the beautiful scenery in front of them. After walking for a while, we have to stop and feel for a while.
The first wild animal I saw was the wild yak, the “overlord of the plateau”. They have black hair all over their bodies, and they are in groups on the mountain. Some yaks were very curious and ran near us from a distance. The ton-heavy behemoths were very happy to run, and then suddenly stopped at a certain point and observed us straight. When they found that we were not aggressive, they dispersed and left. . Huge physique, calm demeanor, showing a dignified, simple and honest appearance.
Wild yaks belong to the national first-class protected animals. However, before the establishment of the reserve, wild yaks were often hunted and killed by gold diggers and miners. Crustal changes, the precious gift given to the land of Altun Mountain is the “gold”. There are many gold mining areas in the Altun Mountains, and tens of thousands of illegal gold miners once poured in outside. These people used to hunt and kill wild animals as meat supplies. It was not until the establishment of the reserve that the situation was curbed. At present, the number of wild yaks in China is about 30,000 to 50,000.
On the way, we saw a yak carcass lying on the grass. The carcass was so broken that it looked like it had been gnawed. There was not even a bone left in the head. The ribs were exposed on the chest. It had been hunted, most likely by a pack of wolves. We got out of the car and looked at it for a while, analyzing the cause of its death. Everyone knows that competition, elimination, life and death are the most common in this primitive nature. Animals in the food chain are born and die every day. This huge yak carcass is lying in front of our eyes, making everyone feel awe of nature.
Tibetan wild donkeys are also very common, and they are significantly more aggressive. Whether it is a group or a single Tibetan wild donkey, they start running when they see us from a distance. They want to race with cars. When the Tibetan wild donkey is found, the vehicle must slow down or stop, otherwise these cute animals will keep running desperately to win. They are strong and strong, running at a speed of 60 kilometers per hour, and running 40-50 kilometers without stopping. When we find that we have been left far behind by it, we will pass in front of our car contentedly to show victory, then shake our round buttocks and walk away proudly.
In the next few days, we also saw gazelles, groundhogs, lizards, various rare birds and other creatures. They either passed us, watched us from a distance, or tried to compete with us. They are the masters of this land. To them, whether it is the explorers a hundred years ago or us now, they are just some uninvited guests.
We drove from the test area of the reserve into the buffer zone and drove along the north side of the highest desert in the world, the Kumukuri Desert. The Altun Mountain Reserve is the first reserve in the world to protect the plateau desert ecosystem. It is not surprising to see continuous tall sand dunes along the way. It’s just that the ecology of Altun Mountain is far from being as simple as a plateau desert.
The terrain of Altun Mountain Nature Reserve is sloping from southeast to northeast, surrounded by a series of huge glaciers above 6,000 meters. The highest peak is the snow-covered Muztag Peak, with an altitude of 6973 meters; the lowest point is the Ayakkumu Lake in the north. A huge hill stretches across it, and divides the Kumukule Basin in the middle into two “small basins”. The scenery on both sides is completely different, each with its own merits.
On our left is the sand mountain and the snow mountain, and the sand lake lies under it, the blue is breathtaking. On the right is the endless Kardun Grassland and the branch of the Altun Mountains, where Tibetan wild donkeys, wild yaks and other animals are running in groups. After the light is blocked by the clouds, moving shadows are formed on the sand hills, grasslands, and mountains. Different elements are intertwined, and the scene in front of you is majestic and majestic.
A spring water with a diameter of more than 200 meters is surrounded by steep sand walls on three sides, with only one gap. This is the world-renowned landscape “Sand Spring” in Altun Mountain.
Experts came to appraise it and said that the spring water seeped here from the side of the sand lake. The groundwater flow continuously washed away the sand at the bottom, and the sand on the top would fall down again, which formed such a shape. It is hard to imagine that the bottom of a desert is actually water, which has a great visual contrast effect. We are all dumbfounded and sigh at the uncanny craftsmanship of nature.
On the way, we were also attracted by a lake stretching for hundreds of kilometers along the roadside, bright and clear like crystal, which is called Ayakkumu Lake by the locals. Several glacier movements have formed depressions here, which are irrigated and nourished by the melt water of glaciers, forming a large lake with an area of up to 8,000 square kilometers in the vast Gobi. The scene is as amazing as Shaziquan.
But the lake water is far from being as gentle as it seems. Although the glacial melt water injected into it is fresh water, due to the evaporation of strong sunshine all the year round, the center of the lake has become salty water with high mineralization. Even animals dare not drink it. It is the largest among the 134 alpine lakes in the Altun Mountains. lagoon. But her beauty still reminds me of a love story that Wang Xiaobo said to Li Yinhe: “You are so kind, I love you so much, but unfortunately I am not a poet, so I can’t say more beautiful words.”
I think Sven Hedin must regret that he failed to cross the barrier of the mountain, which he thought all his life was a forbidden area for life. In fact, this place is full of vitality and has a stronger vitality than the outside world. Even if Altun Mountain is listed as one of the four major uninhabited areas in China, it is not really empty, but there are towns. Qimantag Township lives in the hinterland of the Altun Mountain Reserve. There are a total of 11 people from 4 families living here. Qimantag Township Government can be regarded as the government agency with the largest jurisdiction area and the smallest population in China.
(The off-road e-family adventure report donates camping supplies to the Altun Mountain Central Protection Station)
It is said that the more important purpose of setting up townships here is for roads. With villages and towns, you can apply for the construction of roads to facilitate mining in the mountains, and at the same time, you can develop adventure tourism. During our trip, we carried out an ecological scientific research expedition in the Altun Mountains. Except for a small off-road section, we often walked on this kind of rural dirt road. I think that in the mysterious place of Altun Mountain, the significance of the road is far greater than that of the town.
When passing by this township, we only saw a few loose houses, but no villagers. In addition to a few families in Qimantag Township, the central protection station of Altun Mountain is also set up in the middle of the village. The staff of the protection station will go deep into the wild to patrol the mountains every month, and will also stand on the watchtower to survey this secret area, and control all human beings who come in violation of laws and regulations.
(Teammates pick up the rubbish buried by the predecessors)
Due to the geomorphological characteristics of the Altun Mountain surrounded by mountains, it is more convenient to control as long as the entrance to the mountain is blocked. But even so, there are still people who ignore the laws and regulations and choose the more dangerous path to enter the mountain. During our trip, we saw with our own eyes the rubbish left by the predecessors, those plastic knives and forks, water bottles, cotton paper towels… buried by a thin layer of yellow sand under the sand mountain next to the spring, which is different from the sight in front of us. It was only when the extreme beauty was out of place and eating wild animals would be life-threatening, that I deeply realized how necessary it is to strictly control the no-man’s land.
Fortunately, it has been effectively protected and developed here, without destroying the harmony between man and nature. The purity of the species can be maintained, so that thousands of creatures still have a primitive habitat, which has been continuously transformed into the spectacular scene it is today. Walking through this protected area is like being in a shocking wide-screen movie, where it is dynamic and natural. As the supporters of the theory of evolution say: the earth under our feet has evolved from a lifeless dead place to a vibrant planet, and in the long river of life succession, whether it is species or the total number, the general trend It tends to be prosperous and prosperous.