Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Stone Forest

I've seen lots of things traveling in the last month and a half, but possibly my favorite was Stone Forest. The name explains it pretty well. Imagine several thousand natural rock pillars sticking out of the ground. Or better yet, look at a picture of it.

Over the years, some of the rocks got lodged in awkward positions.

I usually don't like people to be in my picture, but here the perspective of random tourists at the bottom might help you understand the scale of the location. Many of the rocks were fifty feet tall (with the tallest being ninety feet, according to Lonely Planet). At the entrance there was a technical description of how the rock formations came into being, but I understood that even less than the average translation.

There were paths all over, and many of them weren't taken up by the innumerable Chinese tours (which are just as obnoxious as Chinese tours in America, by the way). I found one path that led to the top of a high rock and got this picture looking into the distance.

A note about my hat. I'm glad April and Kristie like it, because all the Chinese think it's ridiculous. Now that my language skills can recognize when I'm being talked about, I only ever hear people talking about my hat. I bought it in Kashgar, so it's legitimately Chinese—but maybe too Chinese. I think it's a hat similar to the kind Mao wore, and any time a foreigner wears a Mao hat it must be hilarious.

Something about me, though, attracted all the Chinese ladies. I couldn't leave a rock before a random Chinese tourist asked if they could take a picture with me. After my third picture at the same place, one guy started joking (probably jealously) about how I should charge. Maybe it was my sweet shirt with Naxi hieroglyphics. Or maybe looking at rocks made everything else look exciting, too.

The rocks really were amazing, though. Some had small lakes surrounding them.

Others were so strange that people had named them for their shape.

I did get the impression that for the people who worked there every day, the limestone lost its allure.

I was not so jaded. I hope the pictures convey some of the grandeur of the garden. Stone Forest was a must-see.


Anonymous said...

Excellent job with the pics, Will; keep 'em coming! We've never seen pictures of Stone Forest - anywhere.
PopPop & Mimi

Mom said...

and even though Poppop posted their comments, even Grammie called to tell me how much they liked this post with all the photos!
I also printed off a couple of them to mail to Nainai. She just can't cope with reading the blogs, but she loved them once they were printed!! Way to wow the grandparents!

Anonymous said...

Stunningly beautiful. This trip is amazing, though I doubt I would be as mellow about some of your misadventures as you mom appears to be.
Mrs. Curti