Friday, March 23, 2012

Kunming and the Stone Forest

From 2012 03 Kunming

Kunming is twelve hundred miles southwest of Shanghai. Its climate is ideal. It's on the same latitude as Miami, Florida, but with the elevation of Colorado Springs, Colorado. Kunming is one of the seemingly countless number of huge, sprawling cities in China. It has a population of 3 million (or 6 million, depending on how broadly you define the metropolitan area). If Americans know anything of Kunming, it might be from WWII history. Kunming was the base from which the Allies supported the efforts of Free China to resist the Japanese invasion. The main supply route was the Burma Road from Rangoon to Kunming, defended by American fighter squadrons known as the Flying Tigers.

Kunming was the starting point for our vacation in Yunnan Province. We spent an afternoon in the city. We strolled the delightful Green Lake Park and ate on the street-side patio of one of the restaurants across from the park. The next morning we visited the main target of our stay in Kunming, the Stone Forest, a national scenic area about 75 miles away. Supposedly, there's an old saying, "If you have visited Kunming without seeing the Stone Forest, you have wasted your time." We didn't partake of enough of Kunming's other attractions to vouch for the truth of that, but our time in the Stone Forest was definitely not wasted.

More photos from Kunming after the jump.

From 2012 03 Kunming

From 2012 03 Kunming

All the photos from Kunming can be viewed here.

Photos from Shanghai can be viewed here.
Photos from Dali can be viewed here.
Photos from Lijiang can be viewed here.


glbeach said...

I've very much enjoyed your 'travel-log' of China. I'm curious though - to the best of my recollection, Wisconsin is known to have substantial 'Karst' topography. Are there any areas or any parks in Wisconsin that remotely resemble the fascinating forms you presented in photos of the stone forest?

Mark Steger said...

Yes, Wisconsin has karst topography. The Niagara escarpment runs from southwestern Wisconsin all the way to Niagara Falls. There are cliffs and caves and sinkholes all along it. Unfortunately, glaciation scoured much of Wisconsin clear of what must surely have been a lot of interesting rock formations. The glaciers did skip some parts of Wisconsin and the rock formations that are left are worth visiting. But there's nothing quite like the Stone Forest of Yunnan in Wisconsin.