Excited to be on the road again. This time I would be going all the way up to China's northeastern part, making a few stops on the way.
Mountain Heng (衡山), the Southern Great of other great sacred mountains in China, situated in Hunan Province (湖南省) kind of close to my hometown, Yangshuo. So I thought I'd make it as my first stop of this trip. And there's a new high speed train line that connects Guilin and Mountain Heng, it's super fast and super convenient, even if it costs a bit more than regular trains. I spent about 3 hours on the train from Guilin to Mountain Heng Railway Station which was quite far from downtown right at the foot of Mountain Heng. Took a taxi and got myself a hotel. It was very late by the time I arrived the hotel so I had to take a quick shower and plan the hike for the next day. I wasn't very used to be on the road after a long while I had not been.
Had been very lucky with the weather, it was a bit rainy and foggy that day.
Mountain Heng, along with the other 4 great sacred mountains in China, they had to be visited and worshiped by ancient emperors of China when they took the throne because they believed the great mountains would help them go smoothly down the road of being an emperor. Nowadays, people from all over China would come to make wishes in the temples on Mountain Heng by burning incense. I had not seen that many wish makers with incense on Mountain Hua and Mountain Song. Incense stores are everywhere down at the bottom of Mountain Heng. Two men writing down their wishes on a red stickers at an incense store in the picture above.
The hike started with an arch gate at the bottom.
The ticket check point, 60 RMB/ticket. There are 2 ways for tourists to go up, one is the big roads, you can either hike or drive a car all the way up, the other is the stone step or hiker's path. Also, there's a cable car you can make use of if you don't want to hike all the way up and down, one way and around trips are available.
A lake just a hundreds of meters after the entrance.
The roads and paths.
A park by the main big roads half way to the mountain top.
A small pavilion for tourists to rest along the hiking paths.
On the first part of the hike, most of the temples on Mountain Heng were Taoism temples. And the most important Taoism philosophy is Doing Nothing, let the course of nature make its own decisions.
Taoism in Chinese character carved into one of the rocks by ancient people by the roadside.
2 other stone carvings along the hiking path. The one on the left says: Taoism has no fixed form. The right one says: Things change.
Buddhist temples also were spotted along the way.
When I buried my head hiking in the rain and fog, all of a sudden, I came to a highland where I could see a pagoda far in the distance when it cleared up a little bit once and only.
Like the calligraphy on the rock says, things change, so does the weather.
As I climb higher, it gets colder and foggier.
One of the Buddhist temples near the top in the fog.
Peak Zhurong (祝融峰), the very top of Mountain Heng, 1300 meters high. Zhurong is the fire god in Chinese legends.
On the very top, felt like I entered a fairyland because of the fog and wind.
They had this super big bowl shaped dishes on the top, it seemed to me they were sending signals to some extraterrestrials
This sign I thought it was funny (I'd like to beware of lightning strike only if I was fast enough like THE FLASH.
I was going to hike all the way down since I had a couple of more hours before dark after I finished touring the top, but pouring rain caught me off guard so I had to take the cable car.
Well, I wouldn't say Mountain Heng is a must-see for most tourists when visiting China, but for those who want to know more history and culture of China, this is a place you don't want to miss out. Recommended touring length: 1 to 2 days. The hike up and down Mountain Heng would take around 5 or 6 hours depending on how physical you are, normally you can make it a day trip.
My next destination was Nanchang (南昌), the capital city for Jiangxi Province (江西省), located east of Mountain Heng. There was no direct bus or train, so I made a short stay in Zhuzhou (株洲), Hunan Province where I got an early train transfer to Nanchan. To be continued...