Wumao Earth Forest, Yunnan, China Week 11 7th July 2011
Following morning we walked around the Earth Forest.
Very soft sandstone and clay capped with a harder rock, possibly a silcrete.

Then eroded by rain and wind.

The different bands had eroded at different rates.
Quite tall. Dwarfing Ali.
It would have been nice to have a bit of sunshine to bring out the colours but that is not our lot today.
The darker colour of the protective cap can be seen.

It hadn't occured to me previously but an essential ingredient for this sort of landscape is possibly that the bedding planes (the layers of sediment that are deposited) need to be horizontal.

This is "Toad Crying for Rain By Toad".

There is an emphasis on "imaginal stones" at the expense of geology and geomorphology.

Being bereft of imagination, or at least being among those people who fail to see what is in the imagination of others we sometimes struggle with the imagery.

I'm usually content just to be in awe of the forces and time which carved such a landscape.


We spent a few hours walking around. The tracks made it easy.
And a few diversions off the main drag.

We did see a couple of other visitors (Chinese tourists).

Hard to leave it.

Sorry for the two too many photos.

Final one. Just before it started raining which drove us to the exit.
We are headed from Earth Forest to Stone Forest.

The expressway did a huge loop on its way up the hill.

Off the expressway we drove on a "National Road".

Our busiest road so far.

There was a continual competition for which line of traffic could take the greatest risk in turning a two lane highway into three and occasionally four lanes.

Stay calm, just a steady, consistent, predictable, progression. Leave space for people to pull in front.

It generally all works as its conducted at the usual slow pace. We couldn't have gone faster than 60 km/hr if we'd wanted to. Mostly around 50 km/hr and often speed limit of 40 km/hr. Yes, there were those car drivers that wanted to speed but even they weren't fast, just faster.

The driver of this truck wasn't so fortunate. It had jack-knifed off the side of the road. The cab is hanging over a steepish drop.

A Chinese spaghetti Junction.

We had absolutely no chance of making sense of it and just followed Garmin - though even that was a challenge as the junctions are so wide as to be difficult for us to recognise.


There was a horrible sinking feeling on the expressway travelling uphill when a bang was heard, followed by a rattle and other bangs. The rear view mirror showed a huge cloud of dense black smoke.

A few days earlier we'd used some webbing to support a water tank strap. One end had come loose, a failed weld way up in the sub-frame. The webbing had split on a sharp edge, wrapped itself around the propellor shaft, and the metal end had pounded a hole in the exhaust silencer.

Phew! Nothing serious.

While looking for somewhere to park at the Stone Forest we realised we were outside the local mechanic's premises. He was attending to a tour bus so we figured "why not".

This was the discussion about the problem and the fix.

Two people started work almost immediately.

Translating from one language to another is a skill I much admire in others, being totally incapable of absorbing any second language myself.

Add to that the technical words for vehicle bits and pieces which Susanna had never met previously, and had little idea of the concepts, and a great time was had by all.

It was eventually resolved that the silencer could be removed and a patch welded over the hole.

A suitable sized flat plate was cut, tacked at one end, and progressively hammered into shape and welded.



The bucket is collecting engine radiator water - its piped through the fresh water tank for heating in cold climates. The lost radiator water from an over enthusiastic mechanic loosening the wrong thing..

We drilled a couple of holes in the delinquent tank strap and used some wire rope to hold it up.

That was the second attempt. The first attempt was looking like welding a bit of angle between the chassis and the tank strap.

Hat's off to Susanna who had to help explain that welding to a chassis was unnacceptable and that the tank is attached to the subframe which moves relative to the chassis so not a good idea.

Unfortunately we now have a slow leak from the tank. About 7 litres per day. Not quite sure where from so will investigate later as the truck is parked at different angles.

Not too bad in a 120+ liter tank with water available most days. In the meantime a bucket under the drip when parked.

I don't know how other people manage but for me there's a bit of an emotional roller coaster associated with episodes like this. Symptoms and first impression was of a serious problem with the engine. Where else does a cloud of black smoke while travelling uphill under full throttle come from. Everything after that was an improvement.

A life of solving problems in industry, of recovering from seeming disaster, meant the only thing to do was set about fixing the problem. Fortunately something that now comes easily. Until its fixed the brain seems to switch into a higher gear as all the options and suggestions are considered. A combination of getting close to the critical bits and standing back and taking it all in. The "what if" and "oh s**t" sets in later, along with the stress headache and a bit of lost sleep.

Total cost for 3 hours work was about $30.

It was late when we finished. We were given a lift to a restaurant. We ended up staying a couple nights. We were walking distance to the Stone Forest. Yet again humbled by the helpfulness of people we meet on our travels.

Shilin (Stone Forest), Yunnan, China Week 11 8th July 2011

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