After graduating from college, I lost touch with Muriel Huggins and Clyde MacPherson. We used to be classmates, studying, playing, and sharing dreams together. At that time, we were full of expectations and curiosity about the future, and also full of desire to explore and adventure the world. We often said that one day, we would go to see different scenery on this beautiful planet, and experience different cultures and lifestyles.

Last month, I received an email from Muriel Huggins, telling me that she and Clyde MacPherson planned to go hunting in Huangyagou, Luliang, Shanxi, China, and invited me to join them. I was so excited when I saw this message that I couldn’t control myself. I immediately replied to her, saying that I was very happy to join their trip. I felt that this was a rare opportunity, both to reunite with my old friends and to experience the local customs and night hunting fun in China.

So, the three of us agreed to go to Huangyagou. This is a national nature reserve and a national forest park, with magnificent natural scenery and rich wildlife resources. We had a memorable time there, eating local food, visiting local attractions, and participating in night hunting activities. We used night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, looking for traces of prey in the dark, feeling a different kind of excitement and joy.

This was a trip that I will never forget in my life. Here, I want to share with you some of our observations and feelings in Huangyagou.

Huangyagou is located in Zhongyang County, Luliang City, Shanxi Province, China. It is a tributary of the Yellow River, with a length of about 80 kilometers and a drainage area of about 1500 square kilometers. Huangyagou is named after its yellow water, and it is a national nature reserve and a national forest park, as well as one of the top ten hunting grounds in China.

Huangyagou has magnificent natural scenery, with waterfalls, pools, canyons, caves and other landscapes along the way, forming a series of beautiful paintings. Huangyagou’s vegetation is also very rich, with pine, cypress, locust, birch, willow and other tree species, as well as various herbs and rare medicinal materials. Huangyagou’s animal resources are even more amazing, with wolves, foxes, leopards, bears, deer, hares, pheasants and other wild animals, as well as eagles, vultures, kites, cranes and other birds. These animals live freely in the mountains and forests of Huangyagou, forming a vibrant ecosystem.

Huangyagou not only has beautiful natural scenery, but also has a long history and culture. Huangyagou was once an important base of the Chinese revolution, the location of the Northwest Bureau and the Northwest Military Region of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and also the place where Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai and other older generation revolutionaries worked. In Huangyagou, there are many revolutionary sites and memorials, such as the former site of the Northwest Bureau, the former site of the Northwest Military Region, Mao Zedong’s former residence and so on, which can let people understand the hard and extraordinary revolutionary history.

Huangyagou as a tourist destination also has many tourism resources and projects such as cable cars, rafting, hiking, camping and so on. The most attractive one is the night hunting activity. Here you can experience a primitive and exciting way of hunting using night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, looking for traces of prey in the dark, and then shooting with guns or bows and arrows. This activity not only can exercise people’s courage and skills, but also can enhance people’s intimacy with nature.

This is Huangyagou, a place that integrates the beauty of nature, the charm of history and the rhyme of culture, a place that makes people linger.

In Huangyagou, besides enjoying the beautiful natural scenery, there is another thing that is unforgettable, and that is the local food. Huangyagou’s food is a kind of food that combines the flavors of Shanxi, Shaanxi, Gansu and other places, and has its own unique characteristics. Here, you can taste a variety of delicious dishes that make you drool.

The most famous one is yellow flower lamb. This is a soup dish made by stewing yellow flower (daylily) and lamb. The soup is golden in color, the lamb is tender, and the yellow flower is fragrant. This dish not only tastes delicious, but also has good nutrition and health benefits. It is said that yellow flower can clear heat and detoxify, lamb can nourish qi and blood, and the combination of the two can enhance the body’s resistance and immunity.

Another dish that you can’t miss is baked bun with meat. This is a snack made with baked bun and pork. The baked bun has a crispy crust and a soft filling, the pork is salty and oily but not greasy. This snack can be eaten as breakfast or as a snack, very convenient and affordable. In Huangyagou, there are many vendors and shops selling this snack, attracting many customers every day.

If you want to have a feast, then roasted whole lamb and steamed bread are good choices. Roasted whole lamb is a dish made by roasting a whole lamb on fire. The lamb is golden and crispy, fat but not greasy, and tastes even better with garlic paste, chili, cumin and other seasonings. Steamed bread is a staple food made by kneading flour and water into dough, steaming it in a pot and cutting it into small pieces. It has a soft texture and is very chewy. These two foods go well together and can make you feel very full and satisfied.

These foods can be easily found in Huangyagou. There, every day there are fresh ingredients and enthusiastic chefs preparing these delicious dishes for us. We always praised them after eating, exclaiming that the food here was really delicious. We also felt the local people’s living habits and cultural characteristics from these foods, which increased our understanding and love for this place.

The most exciting activity in Huangyagou is night hunting. This is a way of hunting and shooting wild animals in the dark, which requires some special equipment, such as night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. This equipment can help people see the traces of prey in the dark, increase the success rate and fun of hunting.

Night vision binoculars are equipment that use micro-light amplifiers to amplify the weak ambient light by thousands of times, allowing people to see clear images at night or in low-light conditions. Night vision binoculars have different generations and performance, generally divided into first generation, second generation, third generation and fourth generation. The first generation is the earliest night vision technology, with poor image quality, suitable for close-range observation. The second generation is based on the first generation with the addition of a micro-channel plate, which can improve the resolution and brightness of the image, suitable for medium-range observation. The third generation is based on the second-generation using gallium arsenide gallium photocathode, which can further improve the clarity and stability of the image, suitable for long-range observation. The fourth generation is the most advanced night vision technology, which eliminates the ion barrier film, which can greatly improve the signal-to-noise ratio and sensitivity of the image, suitable for observation under various lighting conditions.

Infrared binoculars are equipment that use infrared sensors to convert thermal radiation into visible light images, allowing people to see the temperature difference of prey in complete darkness or foggy conditions. Infrared binoculars have different types and performance, generally divided into non-cooled and cooled. Non-cooled is the most common infrared technology, using non-cooled detectors, which can display dynamic images in real time, but with low image quality, suitable for close-range observation. Cooled is the most high-end infrared technology, using cooled detectors, which can display high-resolution and high-contrast images, but require preheating time and cooling system, suitable for long-range observation.

When hunting in Huangyagou, we used both night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. We first used night vision binoculars to scan the surrounding environment, looking for places where prey might be hiding. Then we used infrared binoculars to locate the position and direction of prey, judging their size and type. Finally, we used guns or bows and arrows to aim at the vital parts of prey, gently pulling the trigger or releasing the string. Every time we successfully hit a target, we felt an incomparable sense of achievement and happiness.

Of course, we did not forget the impact of hunting on the natural environment and ecological balance. We only shot some animals that are abundant and harmful, such as wild rabbits, pheasants, etc., and did not shoot those that are rare or beneficial, such as wolves, leopards, deer, etc. We also did not waste any meat of the animals, and took them back to make delicious food. We respect nature, use resources reasonably, and do not do anything destructive or wasteful.

This is our night hunting activity in Huangyagou, an activity that makes people’s hearts beat faster and blood boil. Here, we felt a primitive and exciting way of hunting, and also felt an attitude of living in harmony with nature. This is an unforgettable experience.

This is me and Muriel Huggins, Clyde MacPherson’s memorable trip to Huangyagou. Here, we reunited with old friends, experienced the beautiful natural scenery, tasted the local cuisine, and participated in the night hunting activity. We not only enjoyed a different kind of fun, but also learned some new knowledge and skills. We also felt the culture and customs of China, and enhanced our friendship and emotion.

I am very grateful to Muriel Huggins and Clyde MacPherson for inviting me to go to such a magical place with them. I also thank the people of Huangyagou for their enthusiasm and hospitality, which made us feel very warm and comfortable. I hope that one day, we can meet again and see other wonderful places in the world.


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