May, 2019

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Shangri-La? Exploring glaciers in Ghulkin

The Hunza Valley is said to be the inspiration behind the mythical valley of Shangri-La in James Hilton’s 1933 novel ‘Lost Horizon.’ It’s really not difficult to see the reason.

Rehman is well-known in the Pakistani network of travelers for accommodating foreigners at his family home in Ghulkin, a small village in the Hunza Valley only 15 minutes from Gulmit.

We have contacted him a few days before to see if we can stay overnight. Busy about touring for Pakistani British families, he arranged for his wife Sitara to look after us. He called us the night before to arrange for a family friend to pick us up from our Gulmit guesthouse Saturday morning.

This is Pakistan, so only a few walk on time and our lift is almost an hour late. We didn’t mind, we enjoyed walking after breakfast in the guesthouse garden, watching apples fall from trees and apricots drying on the shelves.

When we drove to Ghulkin, we passed the Dutch and Hamish left. A man from Singapore at Rehan’s house (also left that day) said that they had all been there for the past 2 nights (Karakoram Bikers, the agency we all use in Gilgit recommended Rehman). We were the only ones there that night that we wanted to hear when everyone slept together in their room, the traditional Hunza room, and that meant we had …

Yellowstone Geology

Yellowstone Geology

Yellowstone is located on an active volcano! Three major eruptions have occurred in the last 2.1 million years, most recently 650,000 years ago. Magma only 3-8 miles down provides heat for thermal features at Yellowstone. The Upper Geyser Basin, home to the old faithful, is one of 3 large hot fountain basins along the Firehole River. We were there on a sunny day and we were treated to an eruption from 3 other geysers besides Old Faithful. For miles from the boardwalk, we passed many hot springs, mud pots, and fumaroles.

At the north end of the park, boiling water and steam flow to the surface through limestone, which dissolves to form weak carbonic acid. When hot water reaches the surface, calcium carbonate is deposited to form a travertine terrace from Mammoth Hot Springs. This is the same process that forms a travertine pond in Pamukkale, Turkey.

The visitor center in Canyon Village has the incredible geological appearance of Yellowstone. Yellowstone River Canyon has thunderous waterfalls and multi-colored canyon walls resulting from ongoing geothermal activity.

The crater was left after the last eruption was filled with lava flows. Across the canyon from Tower falls is a remarkable example of the lava flow that cools slowly to form a Basaltic column.

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