To Dahongliutan, Kunlun Mountains, Xinjiang, China Week 129 September 15th 2013
We follow the Yarkant He (river) eastwards from Mazar.

Yesterday we partly crossed the Kunlun Mountains, north to south. The range is never more than 125 km wide.

Today we are traversing the mountains west to east. They extend about 3,000 km. Separated into west and east by tectonic activity. 

The river valley is relatively flat.

The river braided.

Dry valleys on either side that have at times seen water.

This valley is towards the south.

First Pakistan, then to the east Jammu and Kashmir (India).

There's a large Chinese military presence in this area and we require many permits to follow this road. 

A day of mountains and rivers.
The Kunlun Mountains have been pushed up in three geological stages.

If I've read it correctly a mixture of granite, basalt and gabbro pushed up.

But Loess added later.

And somewhere near are the remnants of about 70 volcanoes. Which we think partly helps explain the abundance of scree slopes and loose deposits along the river banks.

Our valley disappears a bit to the south east.

We turn left over a pass.

Not sure what this is in the previous photo. It looks strategically placed.
The road is a superb bit of engineering.

There are signs of the old road.

It would have taken several days to cover what we have just done in a day.

Our road is still under construction further on.

There are occasional tracks to mines.

Either up ridges, as this one, up the middle of valleys, or up scree slopes.

We are near the top.

Heikadaban (Heika Pass).

Not quite 5,000 m.

Crystal clear air. A track up a river valley.
Too many patterns.
We stopped for water on the far side of the pass.

Despite the sunshine we are a tad cold.

"Just" a valley that our water is coming from.
Looking back at the pass.

From one wide river valley to another - the Karakax He.

Looking to where the river flows, and we follow.
At one time there were about 50 eagles in the air, soaring on a thermal before setting off hunting.

We spotted about 200.

Too far away to photograph effectively.

A long steady descent.

Sometimes in 5th gear at 80 km/hr.

Side valleys to the south.
We can see for miles.
And miles.
Every so often some vegetation.

But not enough to sustain anyone, or any animals.

Though we aren't sure what the eagles feed on.

The valley continues to widen.
Another mine tucked into the mountainside.

Definitely not magnetite.

Somewhere in the distance is Dahongliutan.
Around the riverside.
The clouds make patterns on an already wonderful landscape.
Dahongliutan is no bigger than Mazar.

Even thought the "da" means "big".

Irreverent thoughts of English villages named "upper" and "lower" etc.

But it did have a "Chinese Restaurant" rather than a noodle bar.

So we had fried rice and a pork / vegetable dish.

Filled up with fuel.

This is the first time we've had a distance between fuel stations greater than we can drive on one tank.

We used some of our second tank.

Apparently it is forbidden to carry spare fuel in cans or other containers.

Camped on the nearby river flats again. About 4,200n.

To Duoma, Kunlun Mountains, Tibet, China Week 129 September 16th 2013

Don Robinson Mon, 16 Sep 13 17:49:42 +1000
Thanks for sharing your journey. I am enjoying your photos and comments.

Sorry, comments closed.