let’s set a goal, to see Yala in autumn
by Li Zhongdong
"The most beautiful scenes are always in autumn". In a poem in Tang’s Dynasty, there is a saying that “autumn sounds like thousands of leaves falling, thousands of candles burn out"; if we change that to " autumn sounds like thousands of leaves falling," is just our portrait of the city of Yala Snow Mountain. The water in the fall and the forest with colorful leaves, fog in the morning and sunset at the evening. We are changing all the direction waiting for the sunrise and sunset; we are chasing after the lights, wishing to find the most beautiful moments of the nature;we are recording the characteristic index on all the way with our GPS, compass, range finder, pen and paper, camera, recorders for each geological landscape parameters, observing the earth in the history of the river in the subtle changes, only for one purpose, which is, to let more people come here to experience the magic of nature and un comparable beauty of nature.
"Steep North Road towards a steep peak, snow frozen since thousands of years ago has not yet dissolved; fog scattered made beauty wearing jade decorations watch the jack hibiscus in the mountain." The poem is written about the Yala Snow Mountain.
Yala Snow Mountain, located between Daofu County, Ganzi State and Kangding County, with an elevation of 5820 meters, standing against the Gongga Mountain far away, is one of the famous snow mountains in Kangba District in Sichuan Province; at the same time, it is also one of the four mystery mountains described in the Tibetan epic "the Legend of the King Gesa’er".
In the late autumn, we went into the snow mountains just like this... ... leaving the car parked in a piece of Sequoia, when it was banned for getting deeper. The horse rider has arrived, whose name is Gengdu, making the horses scattered among the woods, and another rider he brought is his son, 12 years old, as the result of our amount spent, 20 Yen. I could not help laughing. The father and son came from last night began to move from their home in the town Xiede, walking for a whole night; their work was really hard.
We asked for four horses, but they still brought five horses. He said he brought an extra one in case that some people get tired and cannot continue walking; if no one ride that one, no extra money would be collected. Gengdu lives in the deep district of the mountain, but very smart. Then it was not surprising that our team members were sitting on the horses for no much long time after entering the woods.
There are 8 kilometers from the Sequoia forest at the confluence of two rivers to the sister lake; to go there, we should first climb a glacier moraine embankment with a height difference of nearly 300 meters. This is formed by the accumulation of substances transported by the ancient glaciers; in geology, this may be explained as the distribution of the embankment shape to determine the ancient glacier period and the positions where the glaciers have reached.
I carried my photographic bag walking on foot in the jungle; passing through the Sequoia forest, there was a mountain oak forest, which is evergreen hardwood plants, often with the shape of the main shrub. In the shrubbery, there are many glacier boulders, which were a type of ancient glaciers from the distant rocks, which could also be an evidence for the arrivals of the glaciers.
The glacier boulders in the Alpine oak were suspected to be the U-shaped valley left by glacier flow
The core task of this research is to exploit the Quaternary glacier relics, so the text will inevitably mention a lot of professional words about glacier relics that are hard to understand. As for the Yala Snow Mountain, we must not only observe the present beauty of its form, the beauty of color, but also study the phenomenon not paid attention to by tourists, in order to track back to the past of Yala and the formation of the Yala landform.
Climbing on a relatively smooth and plain section, we breathed intensively with our mouths widely open, waving hands to inform the horse riders to set the meeting point after getting down from the horse. Because I have seen the East branch of the river Ganerlongke through the tree branches, which had shown completely from far end, which is a very typical glacier U-shaped valley. This is the U-shaped valley landform, with a flat bottom, both sides of slopes of which ware curved, seemed like a half-track used in the skateboard race. This is formed through the glacier movement on both sides and the bottom of the rock erosion, in the plateau valley is more common. Glacier U-shaped valley would often become beautiful pool, such as Jiuzhaigou Waterfall Lakeview and travertine landscape in Huanglong, which was formed in the early glacier U-shaped valley development, or Shuangqiaogou in Quatro-Sister Mountain and Blue Moon Valley in Yading, which were all classic glacier U-shaped valleys.
After climbing over the glaciers on the glaciers, the landforms suddenly become much wider and platter. We had already entered the U-shaped valley section of the ditch without conscious. Yala snow mountain was on our right side, where the sun rises, under which lied the redwood forest; the bottom of valley lied a large wetland, in the center of which the stream spread with a shape of unbounded hair. Where there was no water, there was only yellow autumn grass and gray dwarf rhododendron.
I felt happy that I chose to hike on feet; waling in the wetlands, all the snow-white mountain red river and yellow grass so just swept and cleaned out the fatigue after climbing the glacier. Our eyes, cameras and moods are greedily engaged in such a color with elegance.
In the middle of the valley we could also see several vertical arrangements of the small embankment-like landforms, which is the glacier in the moraine embankment and side of the moraine embankment, which are also carried in the glacier movement of material accumulation. We even found in the embankment-like landform a large stone sea. In Baidu Encyclopedia, the stone sea is defined as "the formation of crushed stone, rock blocks formed by chilling weathering, carried by gravitational and other battalions, or by the handling of crushed stone." This is an ice margin, one of the three major types of ancient glacier landforms (the other two are glacier accumulation of geomorphology and ice etch); we saw this piece of stone sponge with a length of kilometers, the composing stone gravel still maintaining angular, indicating that the stone is not far from the distance. In the stone sea in the stone ring and polygonal soil and other ice margin role formed frost heave surface morphology. This might be regarded as an accident gain from this trip.
The stone ring formed due to the freezing interaction, seemed like put into the way deliberately
This ditch we are passing through has two sides of the entirely different landscapes and types of vegetation. On the left side, the snow mountains, the forests, the lakes, the wetlands and the rivers are combined together smoothly without influencing the original beauty. While the other side is a bare mountain covered by nothing, at the bottom of which lies a row of neat inverted stone piles; there are some low Rhodiolas and rhododendron and other flow-beach plants growing between the inverted stone heap and the bare rocks; in 2004, when I first came in such a flow of stone beach, I successfully collected more than ten strains of snow lotus.
The sister seas (translator commenting: literally we can use the word ‘sister seas’; in fact, it means ‘twin-lakes’), located at the brach of the River Ganerlongke and the River Yala, are composed of a large and a small two Haizis; the water source of these two Haizi are based in a same stream, but are collected from the source of two rivers; the water source of the smaller Haizi is from the River Ganerlongke whilst that of the bigger one is the River Kangding Yala. It is amazing that the two Haizi lakes are sourced by one sourcing stream that is from two rivers.
The lakes are the spirit of the whole plateau, which are so beautiful that people are always surprised! The most important task to be finished today is to explore the three lakes in the scenic spot, which were called by the locals as upper Haizi, Mid-Haizi and the lower Haizi. The former twos are always considered to be produced as twins.
Upon the huge deposits-up like the back of whale, both sides of the mountain steep were like a knife, under the blue in the heaven, the exposed rock ridge sketched the desolate the edge of the sky. On the left side of, a pile of gray stone inverted pile neatly hanging on one side of the mountain, such as a strip of the skirts hanging on the shelf. After passing through the upper level of the slope, the Mid-Haizi become exposed, such as a piece of jade embedded in the meadow between the snow mountains, while the upper Haizi is hidden far away, sometimes observable and sometimes not. The place where we were standing was a Mani heap, which was described by the locals as where they can overlook the whole lake at the highlands, where the scattered stone blocks were collected to form the shape of a tower; white stones were located at the top, and there are colorful flags on which the prayers were written set among different Mani piles. Taking Mani piles as the foreground, Haizi in the camera frame would be of more sacred and humane atmosphere.
I bent down my body to form a semicircle, stepping on the dwarf cuckoo and the cypress on the hillside to observe the Haizi from far away, also looking for the best photographing point. The surface of mid-Haizi was polygonal, like an out-spread blue cloth, the right bank of the lake is the slope of Yala snow mountain, half of the main body of which was covered, only exposing half of the peak of the snow mountain. On the right bank of the slope, there is snow, which is collected just now. Lake on the left bank of the terrain was much gentler; the steeps in the mountainside suddenly slowed into a solitary stretching towards the lake, the front of which was the upper Haizi, and then the front of that is a steep slope, making two lakes hanging between these two mountains. The grass near the lake, has already turned yellow in the cold wind, alpine dwarf rhododendron was lumps mixed between herbs. Lake water reflected of the blue sky, the lake contained the blue sky with the white clouds by reflecting. Gengdu put his horse free to eat the grass, and he himself burned a fire to boil tea. The horse, the curl smoke, the snow mountain, the lakes and the meadows ... ... would have indicated the quietness of the lake.
Simply having taken the tea boiled by Gengdu and the tsampa he brought (translator commenting: a type of dry food produced in Tibetan mountain area), we walked around the lake to see the upper Haizi. On the plane on the upper Haizi was crescent-shaped, the area is slightly smaller than the mid-Haizi. We did not find the water source supply around the upper Haizi, and we did not find a clear drain, but there was a stream flowing into the lake on the left bank of the Mid-Haizi. However, there was no obvious excretion for the mid-Haizi. The two lakes seemed like made by God, and their water circulation system is like a mystery, leaving visitors confused. After careful observation, we found that the surface of upper Haizi was slightly lower than that of the mid-Haizi, after which we suddenly realized that the water source for the two lakes was the creek we saw on the side of the path. Part of water from the mid-Haizi infiltrates into the upper Haizi, thus becoming the source of water for it; the other part similarly flows through the infiltration of drainage into Gnaerlongke, which could be regarded as a spectacle of homology.
Youcuo is the largest lake area, and also the most incredible lake area in the site. It was not easy to get to Youcuo, because we had to pass through a wetland and cross Ganerlongke; six years ago, when I got here, this wetland made us a big headache. Although this time we were led by Gengdu, he seems to be not familiar with Youcuo area, and led us to the swamp area for twice.
After passing through the Ganerlongke, there is a huge moraine embankment, with a height of at least 200 meters. It is not easy to hike up for 200 meters starting at a height of 4200 meters of the plateau, but fortunately the site composed by the golden leaves fallen can reduce our fatigue. On the whole way Yala is in the front, under the blue sky, seeming like a beautiful fairy, making every step of us more excited.
Get onto the platform, the color of autumn became more obvious, covering Youcuo in the colorful woods. We walked through the redwood forest, with the cold wind blowing, with the grass and leaves turned yellow, with the trail covered with golden pine needles, like a gold carpet. The lake lies at the bottom of the snow mountains, within the colorful forest. Lake is not large, but the water was thoroughly clear, therefore with an attractive surface, quietly contained the reflection of the colorful forest. With the reflection by the lake, Yala mountain mountains seemed higher and more majestic. The upper part of the mountain is covered by snow, and several glaciers hang in the cliffs. The middle of the mountain, a waterfall from the steep flute, straightly fall to the valley. And getting lower, the golden Sequoias grow around the lake, like decorating the lake with a golden edge.
The sunlight was exactly appropriate, painting the whole top of the mountain with red, and the red part of the mountain was reflected on the surface of the lake, which was like that the container of different color paints was poured down, showing the color of the entire autumn.
Even Gengdu, who is used to variety of attractive scenes, along with his son, got abnormally excited. The little boy grabbed his father’s hat and put it on his own head, caught my sunglasses and wore them on, then he stood on a stone beside the lake, making different poses and asked me to take pictures from him, with the snow mountain as the background.
The sun went down gradually, we went on the road back home, stepping upon the dew water on the road. Turning back of my head, I saw the sun lightening Yala snow mountain, like a spotlight on a stage, making Yala show a metallic light. Yala snow mountains would still be visited by nobody; it is so magnificent but so lonely. On the west side of it lies the Tagong plain with different colorful flowers and on the south side lies the Gongga Snow Mountain and Hailuogou; the north side is where the most beautiful village Danba is hidden. People hiking from far places all over the world, pass it by, remembering the best known sistes but leaving it in the depth of the mountain…