Epi5 The Fantastic Canyon
Genghis Khan is a venerated ancestor of the Mongolians. Although the days when Genghis Khan led his hordes of army galloping boisterously can no longer be seen, from a distance, the rocky hill standing among the bevy of mountains at Aolunbulage somehow resemble Genghis Khan in his Mongolian coat armor defending the gateway alone with his life for his people, a scene redolent of his tremendous achievements.
Aolunbulage is located at Alxa League on the Northwest of Inner Mongolia wherein magnificently roseate rocks, and fantastically grotesque canyons bestrew its surrounding that blow people away in admiration of the Creator’s mind-boggling craftsmanship.
Aolunbulage Canyon is perched at the Hetao Plain East of Lang Mountain where the Ancient Yellow River Course once lied. Through thousand years of waxing and waning among the traces on earth left by torrential flow of the river, and the marks on rocks imprinted by sand and wind erosion during the arid weather, there arise the sinuous watercourse and canyon that span over tens of kilometres.
The rocks on both sides of the canyon are either formed by coarse materials that are unconsolidated in nature or fine materials that are consolidated. Through fluvial erosion of the Yellow River in ancient time, the rocks had formed uniformly identical texture with uneven surfaces. The rocks are rich in iron, hence crimson in colour similar to rust glittering under the sunshine. Everything in front of oneself in the canyon swivels in a spiral and dazzles vertiginously as if one has entered a dream world. If one raises his head and looks at the top of the canyon, there shows the evidence of wind erosion that continuously molds the rocks into bizarre shapes as if the scene changes along with every step one takes which is so bewilderingly gorgeous. Through their unbound imagination, the Mongolians even granted visualised names to these rocks, thereby giving them infinite vitality.
In the past, the pasturers in Aolunbulage led nomadic lives. They called any place with grassland and water their home, took the earth as bed and the sky as blanket. Nowadays, not many of them stay in the pasturing business – even if they still do, they do not live like nomads anymore. Instead, they build their own houses and settle down, making a livelihood mainly by pasturing sheep and camels. They also grow vegetables, which renders them self-sufficient in food and provides extra income when they sell the crops.
However, Aolunbulage’s arid climate and piercingly cold wind of sand have resulted in an increasing scarcity of places suitable for pasturing. Still, a kind of plant flourishes amid this unforgiving environment – Haloxylon ammodendron. As a variety of shrub, it is usually one to two metres tall, with a maximum height of five or six metres. This plant may not look attractive, but as its roots can hold the soil and sand tightly in place while its twigs and leaves shield soil from the wind, it has been crucial in preventing desertification.
Haloxylon ammodendron has a stable character. Even with all types of extraordinary canyons and rocks towering behind, it remains undistracted and faces the wind of sand calmly while fulfilling its responsibility of safeguarding the land. This is probably a reflection of how people live in the Aolunbulage area. Living under this kind of condition has trained them to be diligent and enduring in challenges which they strive to overcome. And this gives a sense of reality that touches your heart in a dream-like canyon.
Assistant Producer: Cindy CHAN
Producer: Lawrence LEUNG