The terrain

Sand, gravel, mud, mountains, dongas, rivers and lakes and more. The run took us across some of the most revered and diverse landscapes imaginable. One always has an idea in your mind, and to this you plan and progress yourself. The problem that I came across was that the idea that I had was so far wrong. It ended up being an hourly experience, I neither did nor know what to expect over the next hill or even what was waiting on the horizon. The journey was so different to what I originally experienced. I think this was one of the big factors that made this journey such a challenge and so inspirational, everything around me seemed to be changing as quickly as I was. It was never boring we were constantly kept on our toes as the country side evolved and changed around us, inspiring us and at the same time destroying our resolve, but tempted us to keep on going to see what was lying ahead of us was it going to be as beautiful as the previous day or was it going to be as sole destroying and depressing as the destroyed area we had just passed through.

The beginning was the Gobi desert plain in the Gansu province. Carrying on for hundreds of kilometres. Sometimes it would just be gravel mounds for days on end. Suddenly a massive moonscape mountain range would pop up on the horizon and we would climb up to 2800m. A day later we would descend down onto the plateau and then into the desert again, this times a sea of sand as far as we could see. Rows and rows of the bow shaped Barken dunes, which marched on in front of the wind, leaving no trace of anything in their path, even the wall would be temporally dressed in a cloak of sand. The desert would temporally evolve into some sort of scrub land; little bushes everywhere much like our “Karoo” landscape. A harsh flat plain which gave refuge to a little life, small adders, whip snakes lizards a few scrub hairs and goats, which destroyed this fragile ecology which had spent hundreds of years to establish itself in this harsh dry unforgiving land. No sooner had we reached this plateau it would drop off again and back into harsh desert, red sand and flood washed plains which would all lead into dry river beds on the valley floor. Washed by flash floods, and scared by these storms which provided 80% on the water in this area, as fast as it comes it rips through everything and disappears back into the dry parched red earth.

The desert finally gave way to the rolling plains of the Saanxi, Sanxi, and Nixa.

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