A Three-day Autumn Trip in the Northwestern Sichuan
Heishui County and Li County locate in the east of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, covered by mountains and rich in sunlight. Its undulating altitude provides different layers of plants, like meadows, mushes, pines and cypresses. In fall, from October to November, with declining temperature and shortening daytime, leaves of deciduous species present different colors because of the changing pigments content in them, making the whole scenery colorful and fascinating.
Besides the stretch of colorful forests in Heishui County and Li Countynamed Naizi Gou, Kalong Gou, Miyaluo, Bipeng Gou, there are also many cultural landscape like Sergu Tibetan Village, TaopingQiang Village and Ganbao Tibetan Village and some natural landscape for mountaineering and snow-watching like Gagu Glacier, San’ao Mountain and Yaksha Mountain. If you take self-driving, the scenery all along the way must be very splendid and attractive.
Zhimu Wood－Kalong Gou
Driving up the Heishui River about 108 km from Mao County, you’ll enter into the colorful woods of the Heishui Kalong Gou Scenic Area---Zhimu Woods. Heishui River runs among mountains withtrees growing vigorously forming the shape and the colors in woods vary rapidly，making the forty-Li colorful woods extremely enchanting. Ancient villages, woods, bridges, mills, streams together with lakes, form a beautiful, fascinating landscape picture full of life impressiveness and sense of unsophistication, strongly conveying the power of truth, goodness and beauty.
Chengdu－Wenchuan－Mao County－Heishui (lunch)－Zhimu Woods－Heishui (diner &accommodation)
-Departure time: 6 a.m. from Chengdu
-Lunch time: 12 a.m. Heishui County (lunch & room reservation)
-Free time: Zhimu Woods for 2 hours or so then back to Heishui
30 yuan per person (Zhimu Woods)
Breakfast: self-served or taken in Wenchuan
Lunch: Sichuan restaurants. Specialty：Qiuxi Silver Carp in Yipingxiang Sichuan Restaurant
Dinner: Heishuiyangjing Tibetan meal. (Address: No. 90, South Street, Heishu County, outside the ground floor of Heishui Bureau of Education). Specialty: pickled cabbage doughball
Accommodation: Hotels in the new urban area of Heishui County, 100-200 yuan per night
Cautions: You should have trip pals with driving license for the long driving time and prepare enough foods, water sunscreen，thermal leggings and down coats.
San’ao Mountain－Naizi Gou Colorful Woods－Yaksha Mountain
San’ao Mountain is regarded as the holy mountain in Heishui, formed by three pyramid-shaped snow mountains that connect with each other into a triangle. From left to right, they are Aotaimei (Mother of mountains in Tibetan) of 5257 meters high, the main peak Aotaiji (Father of mountains in Tibetan) of 5286 meters high and Aotaina (Son of mountains in Tibetan) of 5200 meters high.
Seeing from the viewing deck of San’ao Mountain, we found all hillsides in varied colors with branches of some trees dangled with pearl-curtain-like usnea and the meadows on the mountain top with waving prayer flags telling Tibetans’ prays to the holy spirit in the mountain. On the way down the mountain, colorful woods alongside have already melted into the sunlight shining andsparkling. When we passed by a village named Yamen right opposite to Aotaimei Mountain, there was a wedding ceremony. The bridegroom was a well-known local young man, who was the first one who reached at the peak of Aotaina. Maybe it was due to the inherited tenacity and endurance of Tibetan, he was not only an adventure in mountaineering, but ran a studio organizing outdoors men to adventure.
We had a whole picture of the opposite Aotaimei Mountain, the Sibiri Village at the foot of which was surrounded by endless colorful woods. Seeing from a distance, the village stood silently as if it was forgotten by the passing time. The sunlight cast a golden veil on it and the holy mountain gazed at it with deep love and blessed generations and generations here.
Naizi Gou Colorful Woods:
Naizi Gou means a beautiful, rich, peaceful place in Tibetan. The eighty-Li colorful woods are famous for its quiet and graceful valley---Naizi Gou. There is a narrow road alongside the way to Naizi Gou. Driving down the road, you will find come to a gallery full of colored prayer flags, through which you will arrive at a world heaven---Maheba Village.
Yaksha Mountain is also named Yakou Mountain, in the northern part of Heishui Mountain with 4450 meters’ height. It is only 38 km from Luhua Town. The snow mountain is always veiled in mist, sometimes silent like a quiet beauty, sometimes smart like a prompt rabbit. You can see four distinctive seasons here, with spring rain, summer sunlight, autumn breeze, winter snow. Whatever the season is, you can find yourself lost in such a paradise.
Heishui County－San’ao viewing deck－Heishui County－Naizi Gou－Maheba Village－Markang－Li County
-Departure time: 7 a.m. from Heishui County
-8 a.m. San’ao viewing deck (seeing sunrise on the mountain top)
-9 a.m. Going downhill (shooting time &Siribi Tibetan Village &Hamu Lake)
-11 a.m. Heishui County (Tibetan feast with tradition Tibetan drink, buttered tea and highland barley wine only for non-drivers)
-Afternoon: Naizi Gou (sightseeing by car) &Maheba Village (shooting time)&Markang& Li County
-6-7 p.m. Bipeng Gou (dinner & room reservation)
No charged tickets.
Breakfast: offal soup (18 yuan) & steamed studded bun (Address: No. 78, Changzheng Road, Heishui County)
Lunch: Farm-Fun (Tibetan meal). Specialty：Tibetan hotpot, Hand Beef, cold sauced asparagus, potato with chilli powder.
Dinner: the restaurant in hotel. Specialty: stewed marinated beef
Accommodation: Recommendation: Wasidu Tibetan Hotel: breakfast and dinner (both charged) are provided; standard rooms and apartments are available; hotel attendants will teach you Guazhuang Dance, a traditional dance in Bipeng Gou.
Cautions: A small part of the way to San’ao viewing deck is mud road. The way uphillrequires well-qualified drivers and SUV.
Off the car at Shanghaizi, if the sun has not yet risen, you’ll find a poetic Chinese ink-wash painting scrolling in front of you with crystal-blue sky, floating clouds and mist and emerald-green mountains. After a while, the sun starts to poke his head out of the mountains and spreads its warmth gradually. The outline of mountains faraway is blurred by the sunlight as if wearing a veil.
The woods in Bipeng Gou are mainly golden larches. Panyang Lake is major scenic spot of Bipeng Gou.The blue and green lake reflectinggolden woods and white snow mountainspresents a compelling picture. If there are several tourists walking along the lake and the gallery over the lake, their moving reflection will add some vigor to the painting.
Bipeng Gou－Li County－Wenchuan－Dujiangyan－Chengdu
-Departure time: arriving at Bipeng Gou before 7:30 a.m.
(Buying the round-trip tickets for sight-seeing cars, watching sunrise & shooting)
-Going to the Panyang Lake by tour electric cars, then to Swallow Rock Nest (not deserving a look). Recommended routine: walking back to Dahaizi, then taking sight-seeing car back to Bipeng Gou.
-Afternoon: Back to Chengdu by bus.
-Tickets: 80 yuan per person
-Round-trip sight-seeing car fare: 60 yuan per person
-One-way tour electric car fare 20 yuan per person;
Round-trip electric car fare:30 yuan per person
-Parking fare: 15 yuan per car
Breakfast: hotel restaurant or noodles outside the scenic spot.
Lunch: self-served or inside the scenic spot (expensive)