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Karakul Lake, and et cetera

To wherever I cast my view, there was only majestic.

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Karakoram Highway, August 21st 2012

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We are still on the highest highway in the world, Karakoram Highway, and I'm still taking pictures from the car. As the grassland spread wider, we near Karakul Lake.

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Being on the altitude of 3600 m, Karakul Lake is the highest lake on Pamir Plateau. Although called 'the highest', Karakul is surrounded by mountains that are snow-capped all year long. The highest 3 mountain peaks that can be seen from Karakul are Muztagh Ata (7546m), Kongur Tagh (7649m) and Kongur Tiube (7530m).

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"Karakul" which means "Black Lake", is popular for its crystal clear water that creates stunning reflections. The lake bottom itself is covered with water-weed beds.

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If only the sky was as clear...

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According to Wikipedia, Karakul depth reaches 242 m and the surface stretches up to 4.8 km2.

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Let me give you a close up. Isn't this amazing?

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Do you see that black tiny ones on the middle left? Those are the trucks crossing Karakoram Highway. I am now standing with my back towards the lake.

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This is my driver (in red T-shirt) talking with a local.

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This is the stone house where I stayed for the night. It was surprisingly warm inside.

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Do you see those white yurts on the right? Besides stone houses, you can opt to stay in a yurt. I was glad I didn't have to go all the way down there to get to my bed, as in such a high altitude, every step is precious energy.

Near my stone house I showed above were also yurts to stay in. Tujadim offered me an option of stone house and the yurt. I asked, "Which one is warmer?"

"For sure, it's here!" Tujadim answered. Hence, I didn't move my things and slept with my Korean new travel-mate and her other five fellows in a yurt.

The next morning when they came to my stone house for breakfast, one of them commented, "Oh, it's so warm here!"

"Was it cold in your yurt?"

"It was very cold last night."

I myself brought with me a sleeping-bag but didn't use it, because the thick bedding under me and the heavy blanket over me, kept me warm enough. Hmmm... this should be the story for tonight.

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Here's a close up of the stone houses and yurts far... down the valley.

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Quoting from Wikipedia:
"A yurt is a portable, bent wood-framed dwelling structure traditionally used by nomads in the steppes of Central Asia. The structure comprises a crown or compression wheel (tüýnük) usually steam bent, supported by roof ribs which are bent down at the end where they meet the lattice wall (again steam bent). The top of the wall is prevented from spreading by means of a tension band which opposes the force of the roof ribs. The structure is usually covered by layers of fabric and sheep's wool felt for insulation and weatherproofing."

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On windy place like this, it's indeed best to write everything you'd like people to read, on a stone.

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Let me dazzle you a while.
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Time to hit the road again! I departed with my Korean travel-mate and headed to Tashkorgan, the border city between China and Tajikistan. Coming along with me?

Posted by automidori 01:06 Archived in China Tagged china xinjiang karakoram_highway karakul

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