China never ceases to amaze me….
When we checked into our hotel in Aksu, Jason (our Chinese guide) asked me if I wanted to stay for two nights in Aksu.
We usually stay for two nights if we arrive late and there are sights that we want to see around the area, on the next day.
But here in Aksu, nothing showed up when we looked for it online.
People mentioned things to see that were actually located in Kucha.
When we checked in, I noticed a beautiful photo above the registration desk.
I pointed to the photo depicting a stunning canyon, and asked Jason to inquire if it was located in the area.
“Well, yes actually, only 90 KM away.” Said the girl.
We left after lunch the next day, to see this canyon.
The road turned into a gravel road for a while, and no other cars were in sight.
At the end of the road was a gate and a few dune buggies and a couple of large Hammer four wheels vehicles, for driving on deep sand.
The stuff told us that they only have one four-wheel drive ATV (all terrain vehicle) but they do not trust it… Because the wiring was acting up…. And that the dune buggies were just for fun play, not to go deeper into the canyon.
Jason and Jules tried to convince me that it will not be a good idea to take an unreliable ATV in the heat into a desert canyon…. But I knew better….
No serious fun can be had in life without taking some chances….. And without a bit of danger, risk and uncertainty….
I insisted on renting the ATV and made an arrangement with Jason, to send a rescue vehicle, if we were not back in two hours.
It is hard to explain how much fun we had…..
The canyon was so beautiful, open, raw, wild and filled with wildlife.
Almost immediately we spotted a small creature which looked like a small starved dog.
It had sandy color body and tall rabbit ears.
It looked at us for a while, posed for me to photograph it a few times, and then galloped away, as fast and as light as a deer.
We think that it was an Antelope-Jackrabbit, but all the photos I can find of it on the Internet, does not resemble the quick and beautiful creature we saw.
The ones from the Mexican desert and the USA desert area, all have a body that resembles a rabbit with very long ears.
This creature had rabbit ears, but it had the body and gallop of a miniature skinny deer.
Perhaps we saw a real incarnation of the mythical “Jackalope”….. (A legend tells of a love mix between an antelope and a jackrabbit…)
We rode the ATV through the empty canyon.
The cliffs were carved and looked like art pieces, sculptures and grottos.
Almost no one was in sight….
We took a short hike on foot, into a narrow canyon where the canyon walls come together, carved by the water which reaches very high levels, during the rainy season.
It was one of the most fun activity ever…
I loved seeing Jules bright-eyed like a kid, radiating great joy….. Like a boy with a fun toy…. In playground paradise…..
We usually do not love ATV’s, but there was no other way to see the length of this canyon without a vehicle.
It runs 13 KM each way excluding the option of exploring the side valleys (which we did on the ATV) and the sand was just too deep, to be able to walk distances.
There was almost no shade for miles too….
It was LOADS of fun!
We felt so blessed and fortunate to see a part of raw beauty and to have such an adventure in China.
Combined with a couple of hours cycling later, I felt like a tiredless kid again…