June 30 ~ Heavenly Lake

Our grand adventure for Thursday was to leave the city and head out to the nearby mountain range for a visit to the Heavenly Lake.  

Darcy and Caleb played together so well the entire ride there (and back) with Darcy's Fairy sticker cling book.  Highly recommend them for traveling kids ~ we have the fairy, princess and Disney Cars editions

As we left the city, the landscape began to change pretty rapidly.

  sunflower fields 

While we adults enjoyed the scenery, the motion of the van lulled our little guy to sleep.

 LOVE holding a sleeping baby!

An hour out of Urumqi we got out of the van to much cooler weather.  It was time for jackets and sweaters for sure.  As the highs for all three of the cities we were visiting were in the 80s or above, we didn't bring any long pants for any of the kids.  Those of you who have been here before can imagine the disapproving looks we got as we paraded our kids in shorts and skirts up the mountain.  Folks were wearing full down parkas.

  We're excited to go see the lake!

Once at that point, you buy a ticket and take a bus ride up the mountain.  Along the way there are several points that you can stop off, to buy peaches from the orchards, to visit a Khazak village and tour a yurt, and a two other stops that weren't obvious to us as Alfred was catching a little cat nap when we got to them.  But we were excited to see the lake and decided to keep going to the top.  In the 30 minutes we were on the bus, we ascended from about 900m to 2000m above sea level.  As you can imagine, the scenery changed pretty drastically.

One thing you may notice is that the higher we got, the more mist we saw.  Our hearts began to sink as we realized that our view of the lake was likely not going to be as beautiful as promised…
See the lake off behind the brightly colored dragon arch?  Yeah, we didn't either. 

So we didn't see the lake.  Or well, actually, we did walk down to the edge and could see about 30 feet of it.  And the water was remarkably clear.  Disappointing, but what can you do?

But we did have our family picture taken at the sign for the lake.  We're imagining a lovely view of the sparkling water just behind us…"
We decided to make the best of the situation and at least visit the Khazak village and see a yurt.  This village is set up for tourists to come visit, and the people who live there are less nomadic than ones who live in other areas (they only move about twice a year where the true nomads may move twice a week or more) but it was still an interesting visit.  

 The outside with its brightly decorated doorway

 Richly decorated inside.

 Visitors are welcome to try some snacks.  As we've been eating street food all week AND it was about 2:30 at the time, we decided to give them a try.  Some were really yummy, others were…well…not.

Ky rocking out one of the hats.
 Daniel was really fond of one of the types of snacks.

 Our little Hokies in the middle of a Khzak village.

 While we waited for a bus to come pick us up our kids played in the rocks.  Darcy said that was her favorite part of the day…

 Hey look, the sky cleared up!  (or we put the kids in front of a poster of the lake as we were leaving…)

And of course we just have to document Daniel's first shiner.  At least it happened AFTER the harmonious period was over.

 It's a long story, but it does involve our newest family member insisting on having his own way and it not working out so well for him.

It was a long day, and we opted to go to dinner somewhat early (back to Marwa because we can order there) and walk back through the food market one last time.  And of course that meant a stop with our friendly fruit salesman.

  Getting one last hami melon on the street.

 Daddy and his little girl enjoy their sweet treat.

And now we are packing our suitcases to prepare for our next stop on the trip.  Goodbye Urumqi, we'll miss you and your delicious melons!


Andrea said...

Of course the rocks were their favorite part! Love the picture inside the yurt.

Gwen said...

Wow, that really was a grand adventure! You are seeing a different part of China than most people do. Love the pictures!

prechrswife said...

It is really a neat thing to see this part of China through your eyes.

Jenn said...

So cool that you are getting to see so much of Daniel's province away from the city. Love the fruit vendor story, bet he will be missing yal tomorrow. Hope the flight goes smoothly.

Emily H. said...

Love all the VT pride! Let's Go....Hokies!

Traci said...

Oh I hate you didn't get to see a good view of the lake.

Heather said...

This couldn't remind me more of Kazakhstan. How cool! Love seeing your journey! God certainly has created an amazing family!!! perfect.