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A Chinese Man's Solo Travel Across No Man's Land in Tibet (2)

22 July 2011

The excerpts from Yang Liusong's (杨柳松) travel log:

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This is the third day, 22 April 2010. I ascend to the mountaintop that soars to the height of 5,275m above the sea level. In the other side of the mountain is a world that I never explored before. I take a lunch break, and my lunch is a ship biscuit which is as hard as a stone that I have to break it into small pieces with my spade.

After lunch, my journey into the complete new world begins. The ground condition is good enough for me to take a ride on the bike from time to time, and by 6pm, I've travelled 32km. By then the wind blows stronger, so I utilize the wind power with an makeshift "umbrella sail" to help push my bike forward.


After 8pm, I start to look around for a suitable camping site, which means a place near the water. The map indicates there is a rivulet formed by springs in the area, but I find none. The valley is a land dry and barren.

By 9pm, the sky grows completely dark, and I have no choice but to stop to camp. Leaving my bike and bags at the site, I grab the GPS to search for water, and eventually in a gully find a large piece of ice mixed with sheep dung. My spade, once again, comes in handy, and I chopped 20 litres of ice from the block.

When I eventually return to the site and have set up my tent, time is already 11pm. It takes me another 40 minutes to get the ice melted. My eyes are hurt in the wind on my way to fetch the ice, and I am drop dead tired to be able to eat anything, so just drink a bit milk and slide on the floor to lose myself in dreamland.


Day 4
23 April 2010.

I wake up in the morning to continue my task of water production. In the bright day light, I can see the things more clearly so I have cleaned all sheep dung from the ice.


The mount in the front of my camping site is where I found the ice last night.


I hit the road at 10:30am. The weather is still rather gloomy. The wind blows at a speed of 40-50km/h, and the hailstorms frequently erupt. The ground is covered with thick sand - there is no way I can ride on the bike.

I arrive at Luxing Lake (鲁形湖) by 3 clock in the afternoon, where I spot a lone mud house. Near the house there are lambs in a sheep pen, and when they see me, they come to follow me around which makes me quite touched.

But there is no one in the sight till the farthest of the points that I can detect with my telescope, nor flock of sheep. So I opened the door with a screw driver. The rooms inside are neat and clear. The water in the kettle is still lukewarm; two boxes of soft drink are casually placed on the floor; and in the inner room, there are dried legs of lamb hung on a string. I fill my container with clean water and take a much needed spanner before leaving the house and removing all the traces of home break-in.


Day 5
24 April 2010.

It's still an awful windy day, and I still hit the road at 10:30. At some point, the wind intensifies to a gale force with a speed reaching 75-88 km/h.

My eyes, that were hurt on the night before, become terribly sore in the wind, but still I can spot a remaining trace of past human activity. It is a simple metal structure erected by the army when they conducted a preliminary geographic survey of the Qiangtang Nature Reserve in 1971. I climb to the top of the structure and gain a broad view of the territory.


I find a spring late afternoon. The water channels into an icy lake that is covered with yellow dots all over - they are the products of the joint work of wind, sand and dust.

The frozen landscape is simple and serene, only the sound of few wild ducks circling over the white lake reminds me there are still lives in this world.


The gloomy sky finally opens up and snow falls violently. I pitch my tent, without hurry. As long as there is water, nothing worries me.


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Yang Liusong (杨柳松) and his bike

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