Wednesday, August 19, 2015


There's no better deal than to sleep in the our hosts' huge and drafty and rather bare wooden Tibetan-Chinese house sitting right by Lake Napa (纳帕海). This is like...atas base camp. Sleepings bags under a sturdy roof. Waking up to this view in the mornings outside the front door with a steaming hot cup of local strong black coffee is simply beautiful, fog or otherwise. This early in the day, one just wants to stay quiet to contemplate the scenery, rolling mists and sounds of nature.

Lake Napa is a designated nature reserve, 3125 square kilometers of wetlands for water fowl and migrating birds. The endangered rare black-necked crane hang out here half the year. Saw many of them. The lake runs into the nearby Jinsha River (金沙河), shrinking and flooding according to the seasons. It's swollen during spring and turns into wetlands after. At 10,700ft above sea level, the temperatures are cool and comfortable all year round. The alpine meadows are equally beautiful and cloaked in different colors every season.

While this is a popular tourist spot for visitors to ride horses across the wetlands, it doesn't hold any major hotels or resorts just yet. Some are being built though. Locals still live here and earn their living from the land, but the natural habitat is diminishing and agricultural practices are gradually lost due to the effects of being just a short 10km from downtown city centre. I shudder to think how this will look ten years later.

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