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Section 1

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Section 2
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Section 3
you may rent a jeep to go further deep in to the mountians



urumqi south mountians where you can go overnight in the yurts
   

Urumqi's Southern Mountains
When the hot summer comes, the residents of Urumqi and tourists pile into buses and cars for a trip out to the cool Southern Mountains on '"the outskirts of the city. Part of the Tianshan Mountain Range, the Southern Mountains loom south of Urumqi. Here rolling hills rise and fall, and dozens of valleys run east and west parallel to each other, scattered with green pastures, thick woods and murmuring springs. Among the best resorts are the East Poplar Valley, West Poplar Valley, Back Valley, Sweet Valley, Rush Pith Valley and Wood-house Valley. The Urumqi-Korla Highway runs along the Urumqi River basin and is the best route to follow when touring the Southern Moun-tains. As it climbs the hills, the road affords a view of rapidly changing scenery, with the flora changing in accordance with the . different temperatures at different heights. Setting out from Urumqi , it is a fifty-kilometer drive to West Poplar Valley, where visitors are immediately greeted by a cool breeze caressing their faces. Birds sing, horses and cattle graze on slopes around and the meadows are dotted here and there with the white felt tents or yurts of the herdsmen, convalescent homes and restaurants, while in the distance rise snow-capped peaks glittering white in the blue sky. Tourists may call at the yurts of the herdsmen,
who entertain their guests with tea with milk, fermented mare's milk, roast mutton and home-made cheese. They can make excursions into the mountains and wander through shady woods. Those who love riding may rent horses from the Kazak herdsmen and race on the vast grassland. A cool and refreshing spot is to be found at the end of West Poplar Valley. Amidst sheer cliffs overgrown with trees, a forty-meter tall waterfall roars down like a silvery dragon, its spray forming a fine mist spreading over green trees and moss-covered rocks around. East Poplar Valley lies on the other side of the road. Just as scenic as West Poplar Valley, it is a quiet spot frequented by painters and poets. A further twenty kilometers up the road, lies Back Valley in the heart of the Tianshan Mountains. Forming the key passage linking northern and southern Xinjiang, the peaks here rise ever higher, and ravines and gullies run this way and that. The Urumqi River roars into the valley and winds its way through virgin forests where plentiful rainfall assures luxuriant vegetation and wild animals abound. Forty-meter tall dragon spruces stand in the valley, some of them so huge that even several people together cannot encircle the tree trunk. Farther up, the mountain road grows steeper, with overhanging cliffs towering on one side and an abyss on the other. Eventually the traveler reaches the "Kingdom of Glaciers"-the source of the Urumqi River. On this peak towering 4,000 meters above sea level lie seventy-seven glaciers of varying sizes , covering a total area of 34.5 square kilometers. The largest among them, Glacier No.1, is 2.4 kilometers long and 500 meters wide , covering an area of 1.95 square kilometers. These moving glaciers were formed over the years by accumulated snow, which has turned into semi-transparent pale blue ice. Like huge bulldozers, they have carved the landscape into strange shapes. This concentration of modern glaciers, with their typical landforms and sediment and intact vestiges of ancient glaciers, has attracted many scientists since the 1950s, and the region is one of the best places in China for glacial observation and research. By the side of the road stand a few buildings, which house the Tianshan Glacier Observation Station of the Lanzhou Glacier-Frozen Earth Research Institute under the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Quite a number of tourists and Young Pioneer summer-camp groups have made trips to this area in recent years. It is now possible to visit Glacier No.1, which dazzles viewers and radiates cold. Workers of the Glacier Observation Station have dug an eighty-meter-long observation tunnel into the glacier tongue, the mouth of which is curtained by dripping melted ice. Huge snow lotuses grow among the surrounding rocks and snow cocks sometimes fly by. The other valleys of the Southern Mountains all have their own merits. Climbing up to Sweet Valley, tourists come to a vast platform luxuriantly decked with brilliant red and purple wild flowers . The air is permeated with fragrance attracting swarms of bees and butter-flies. Known as "the natural garden in the depths of the Tianshan Mountains," this valley has been visited by many important guests. On festive occasions, Kazak herdspeople like to come here to dance and sing, and hold horse-racing and wrestling contests.