Yesterday morning we hired a small van & driver - and made our way about 100km NE to Tianchi Lake (Heavenly Lake)- a little east of the Tianshan Mountains. The Lake is 1900+meters above sea level, surrounded by snow-peaked mountains, glaciers and alpine trees. The tallest peak in this area is called Mt. Bogda (1980m), which you can barely see in this picture. The lake is very blue & cold - all glacial melt! Someday, it might be fun to backpack further, or take a trek over the pass. We will wait until the girls are older, and can carry their own essentials. :) For now, we carry them!!
It was such a refreshing day, as we are so used to our massive concrete city and dry climate. We brought our own picnic lunch of tuna sandwiches, fruit & carrot sticks. There were lots of Chinese tourists - but as we strayed off the beaten path, we found great spots to explore without feeling like one of the "tourist attractions." You can take a leisurely boat ride, see Kazahk yurts, or join a Kazahk-led horseback tour of the hillsides. We enjoyed the cable-car ride up the mountain, throwing rocks into the lake, and bonding with friends.