This one's a continuation from Ürümqi.
A cozy sleeper coach drove us from Ürümqi to Burqin (read bu-er-jin), a cute little city that was just a night away. A Volkswagen Santana picked us from where we set our foot in Burqin and drove us to "Little White Deer" inn. The city, albeit I had a very superficial gaze to describe the least, gave me a feeling that it had a tad Russian influence for its pointed red roofs. The breakfast, the best I had in China, at "Little White Deer" inn included hot rice gruel, milk tea, fresh vegetable salads, oven fresh cookies, butter roasted bread slices with four different varieties of fruit jams to spread over. Next two hours were spent in the sedan, which made its way along the picturesque mountains and valleys. For a moment I felt I was taken to Mongolia - circular white tents emitting thin white smoke, the horsemen acting as shepherds and cowboys, hordes of horses grazing among the green meadows caressed by the mild northern light.
A quick and simple lunch at Jiadengyu followed by baggage loading onto horse-caravan marked the beginning of our hiking. Yellow birch and pine trees welcomed our start and accompanied us till the end of journey. An hour's gait along the mountains, like a bolt in the blue, we were mesmerized by the vistas of sylvan beauty - a river with the bluest water surrounded by colorful woods of birch, yellow as gold and red as wine. I had seen such incarnation of mother earth on the desktop wallpapers but never in real. To add to beauty there were stables and barns as brown as sweet smelling loam, innocent white lambs grazing next to river - just like a wonderland without Alice.
Appreciating the beauty to myself and showing it to my camera every now and then, I walked along till I reached our camping site. Mysterious and invincible darkness complemented with poorly lit torches slowed down our last descent towards the camping area. It was 10 in the night; we pitched our tents and lit those tiny gas burners. The cold made my teeth chatter like an olden day calling bell and my body occasionally shiver like a dog shaking its body when it’s wet. These actions were mitigated by a cup of hot coffee and yummy noodles, after which we neither had energy nor inclination for any other pleasures than sleeping.
Day 2 of the trek to follow soon...