Into the dragon's lair

28 August 2008 Xining to Wulan, Qinghaoi Province
0730. We had breakfast and headed to the Xining Airport to pick up our fearless leader Xiaoming. The day began with a steady rain shower throughout the city, with temperature lingering at around the mid 60's degrees Farenheit.

[Gabriella overlooking the shoulder of Ning Wang, who navigates Xining traffic going out of town]

Xiaoming's flight arrived on time in Xining from Beijing. Our crew is ready to go. We drove west into the mountain ranges marking the gateway to the heart of the Tibetan Plateau. We passed Qinghai Lake, the largest lake in China, along the way.

[Xiaoming riding a yak on a mountain pass near Qinghai Lake to start off our field season]

The people of Qinghai Province are composed of Han Chinese, Muslims, Tibetans, and other minor ethnicities. Yaks and sheep are the main livestock of the local herders, and many of them are found along the side of the road as photogenic spots for passing tourists.

[our caravan traveling along a railroad traversing a mountain range on the northwestern edge of the Tibetan Plateau]

We rode into the town of Wulan at around 1830. After finding a hotel along the main (and only) street, we had beef and lamb for dinner. Around the dinner table we discussed the plan for tomorrow: we are only 174 kilometers from our first field area, Huaitoutala. We will drive to the nearby city of Delingha, buy food and fuel, and head into Huaitoutala to set up our base camp.

Our morale is high; everyone is looking forward to starting our work, after almost a week's worth of driving across China.



Jeffrey said...


The Stern-Maker family is enjoying your blog already. We are signed up for the fall trip to Redrock, and we are looking forward to hearing all about your trip in person.

Good Hunting,

Maddy, Noah, Alison and Jeff

Spencer said...

*waits to hear of field work in anticipation*