China #23: Scenic Landscape outside Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪古镇外风景)
Sights: Landscape outside Shaxi Ancient Town (沙溪田园)
Region: Jianchuan County, Dali Bai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan
Apart from the cultural heritage in Shaxi Ancient Town (see Story #21) and the ancient bazaar held on every Friday, the landscape outside the ancient town is another attractive sight. In winter, the golden landscape and bare trees are great scenery for travel-photographers who find lush green landscapes to be too common.
The Scenic Landscape
Starting with views right outside Shaxi Ancient Town. The withering feel of fall season added more rusticity to the ancient town.
On the eastern edge of the ancient town was Heihui River (黑惠江) that flowed from Lijiang and a main source of water to most rural villages in Dali. The river would flow under Yujin Bridge (玉津桥), an ancient bridge that was part of the ancient town's cultural heritage.
Not only were we interested in the bridge, so were the film crew that showed up one day to film a documentary on the Ancient Tea-Horse Trail (茶马古道). Shaxi Ancient Town was indeed the most appropriate background for such films.
We went closer to steal a shot of the "ancient caravan" when it re-did the bridge-crossing using horses to carry goods. After having visited Nuodeng Ancient Village (see Story #13), I knew that this mode of transporting goods was still being practiced in mountainous areas where modern vehicles could not be used.
We also explored the farmlands with beautiful trees near Shaxi town. Although it was winter, some fields were still growing vegetables and maizes.
The maize stalks had turned golden brown in the dry winter season. These maizes were waiting to be harvested.
And we walked further afield into more farmlands and to one of the villages close by.
We took a couple of photos in the village before heading back. It would be great to explore the village but we took too long to get there (already 3.30pm). We had to walk back to Shaxi town before nightfall as there were no lights in the farmlands.
And a beautiful chance shot with two bare trees forming a frame for my subject — Xiaoqi, a fellow traveller.
There is some ancient Buddhist grottoes and temples on Shibao Mountain (石宝山) near Shaxi Ancient Town, which is also a popular attraction when visiting the town. We will take a hike there in the next story.