In August we headed west into Xinjiang, visiting Kashgar city and heading up into the mountains for a trek that peaked at the base camp of Mt. Muztagh-Ata.
As well as the sights of Kashgar, and the high mountain scenery, we got a very good look at some of the local customs, with a Krygyz camel team with us on the trek, and a visit to a Uyghur family farm near Kashgar.
Locals say that if you haven’t been to Kashgar, you haven’t truly visited Xinjiang.
To begin the trip we visited the old town of Kashgar for a look about the night market, and then the alleys and lanes of the old city itself.
Then we drove out into the mountains, getting very close to the border of Pakistan, Kyrgzstan, and Tajikistan on the way to Lake Karakul and Muztagh-Ata.
We trekked up in to the mountains, camping two nights at high altitude and getting all the way up to the 4,500m base camp of Muztagh-Ata.
Back from our trek, we visited a local family farm near Kashgar. If you’ve hiked with us before in Beijing, you might have met Abu, one of our part time guides. He’s from Kashgar, and was back up there for Ramadan and his summer holiday from university in Beijing. He took us for a walk about his family’s farm, and we had a delicious meal out there as well.
To finish up the trip, we took a look about some of the other sights of Kashgar City: the Id Kah Mosque, the Grand Bazaar, and the Livestock Market.
In a corner of the night market in the old town, we found an old Uyghur man selling quite a variety of items from his tiny shop.
Getting ready to make Kashgar-style steamed dumplings.
Two sisters running around in the old town.
The night market market in Kashgar’s old town is famous for the food – some stalls so popular you can’t get a seat!
A view of the outskirts of Kashgar’s old town.
A warm welcome for us from a wee one in the old town.
Alleys in the old town.
Clear skies over Lake Karakul.
Hidden in the clouds, 7,719m tall Kongur Mountain.
After crossing a chilly stream, a hiker spots the mountain.
Our camel team, with the Kyrgyz herdsman wearing his nifty hat.
Another chilly crossing. Cold feet for a little while are better than wet boots for the rest of the trip!
A village in the foothills of Muztagh-Ata. The people who live here are of Kyrgyz stock.
Fresh grass is dried and stored for their yaks to eat in the winter time.
Hidden behind these clouds is the peak of Muztagh-Ata.
Hikers and guides at our campsite below Muztagh-Ata.
We were invited to take a look inside one of the yurts in a seasonal settlement near our campsite.
The stream that runs by the settlement is fed by snowmelt from Muztagh-Ata.
The clouds start to clear and we can finally see more of Muztagh-Ata
Team photo at the base camp of Muztagh-Ata.
Just after we headed down from the base camp, the clouds closed in once more.
We saw a lot of these marmots in the hills.
A mud-brick house near Kashgar.
We visited a local family near Kashgar – the first step, according to traditional custom, is to wash the hands.
Home-grown fruit and vegetables, and fresh naan bread – delicious!
A shot with the family – we know them because their son Abu studies in Beijing and helps out on our Beijing hikes from time to time.
Back in Kasghar, we had a look about Id Kah Mosque.
The line up at the busy livestock market.
Cows can also be purchased.
This cow wasn’t so keen to be sold.
Also for sale: hand-made shearing clippers and knives.