被白霜覆盖的山毛榉林 Beech forest covered in hoarfrost
Cranborne Chase, England
If this looks to you like the setting of a fairy tale, you're not alone. These surroundings have long inspired writers and painters alike. Naturally, Cranborne Chase, England, has been designated a national protected area because of its natural beauty. It may be especially beautiful in winter, when the trees and shrubs can be coated with hoarfrost, an uncommon type of frost that forms when water vapor turns directly into ice, skipping the liquid stage.
Cranborne Chase is a plateau in southern England touching the counties of Dorset, Hampshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire. These 380 square miles of diverse countryside include rolling grasslands, river valleys, hillsides, and ancient woodlands. The area has been inhabited since the stone age, and for centuries was a royal hunting ground—in fact, the word 'chase' derives from these hunts. Today, while Cranborne Chase is protected from most new development, it's not a wilderness—nearly 90% of the land is used for farming and more than 30,000 people live here.
Misty Pine Forest
The woods are a tranquil place, but can be scary for a lone wanderer. Out here, you could suddenly find yourself running from the big bad wolf, escaping a witch's clutches, or just plain old lost. Though often in the old stories, scary places like this are also where the hero overcomes a great obstacle or finds a valuable treasure. Could you be in luck?
The spindly pine forests of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, shown here, are the setting for many traditional tales of evil spirits and spells. But even if you don't believe in all that magic stuff, a forest can still feel enchanted when twilight bathes the misty air. Just don't lose your way out here…
Four Sisters, thousands of trees
You'll find this wintery, sylvan scene on the slopes of Mount Siguniang, the tallest summit of the Qionglai Mountains in Western China. Its name, which translates as 'Four Sisters Mountain,' is inspired by the local Tibetan legend behind its four distinct peaks. According to the story, four sisters saved their people using a magic mirror to turn themselves into the mountain to imprison the devil. The tallest peak, peak of 'the youngest sister,' stands at 20,500 feet and is an extremely challenging climb– it's rarely attempted and wasn't summitted until 1981. The surrounding park includes three valleys flanking the mountain and is part of the Sichuan Giant Panda Sanctuaries, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In addition to giant pandas, the sanctuary is home to the red panda, the snow leopard, the clouded leopard, and between 5,000 and 6,000 species of plants.