Do you believe in synchronistic events? Thanks to the internet I was fortunate enough to bump into a website dedicated to Songshan. It was then I realised not so far away from the hot commercial spot Shaolin lies the hidden gem TaiShi, (part of SongShan mountain range). The latter is by no means inferior to the Martial Arts world famous centre because the city DengFeng has numerous established kung fu schools.
So let’s start.
Quick wrap with vegetables for caloric bomb, a cup of doujiang (soy milk) and kick start the long trail. A bit of hassling around to see the signs of the park and my intuition brought me to the exact place. Not to mention that there were many students in the same direction, at least I wasn’t going to be lonely.
Bargaining with the guards. I saw the price 50 yuans was exaggerated and figured out that I should give it a try. “Do you have discount for teachers” was my pathetic attempt to cut down the price in broken Mandarin. "Of course, 25Y is the ticket." Needless to say, you can do the same.
Just half an hour from the gates I saw a small spring, I hoped to see a deep river later on. Guess why. While I was getting into my special state for trekking I heard the rumbling noise. The next minute I was in the river accompanied by teenage Buddhist Monks. What a relief for a person covered with dirt and a bit stinky. OK, time to go up. Steep slope and occasional pagodas on the way ahead, where you can have a short rest. The trained hikers will tell you it is recommended for you not to sit down for a long period but just stay for a few moments in an upward position to normalise breathing. From time to time, I took a glimpse over my shoulder to appreciate and the imposing hills the “crawling ants”.
On the rocky hill. Another mountain conquered by me (and hundreds of Chinese on this day). Some of the students prompted me to speak with the guys from the temple to stay there overnight. I had a different idea.
Camping on the peak is a complicated issue. I tried to be invisible and unintentionally overheard a strange mantra of an evening prayer. Murmuring the same odd pattern for quite a while as the dusk was on the horizon.
Wow it turned out to be a long one so expect the rest of the story soon.
If you don’t trust me about the marvellous Song Shan Mountain you can also check out what a fellow blogger (image courtesy) wrote here: