[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]
[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.