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Walking The Ancient Baoxie/Shimen Plank Road

Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,

Poor gives way to Wealth, Junior to Senior, Light to Heavy and Leaving to Arriving.

In the development of human civilisation later generations sometimes cannot but admire the outstanding intelligence and wisdom of their ancestors. Although their technologically was primitive their feats continue to amaze experts and later generations often find it hard to fully appreciate the significance of their historical message.

Mid morning yesterday found me somehow lifting my head off the pillow to begin the day after a huge X-Files night. I’ve had to keep the DVD’s on the back shelf for a few months as once I begin I can’t seem to stop watching and week nights find me glued to the screen until all hours promising myself 'just one more episode and then I’ll go to bed’. It never seems to work and one more episode turns into two, then three and then four more.

Before I know it I’m almost sharing my poached eggs and vegemite breakfast sandwich with Molder and Scully prior to dashing off to class.

After brunch and a second wake up coffee at KFC with Sarah we headed across to East Street to do our best to find Bus No: 21. I found the bus number on the internet and several of the teachers told me that it was the correct bus to catch, strangely though all of the bus stops had only Bus No’s 102 and 6 posted. On the bus to and from I did notice Bus No: 21 whizzing by quite frequently so I am sure that if anyone reading this intends on visiting the Plank Road that you’ll get there by catching either 102 or 21.

Thankfully we were amongst a small handful of young locals and after showing several of them where we wanted to go a university student came to our aid and told us that he also was heading to the Plank Road for the day. Together we boarded Bus No: 102 (across from the Tainhan Square on East Street) and for the next twenty minutes we chatted our way north west to a small dusty river side town (maybe called Shimen) and after crossing a bridge across the River Baohe we were told that this was our stop.

Soon after we were forking out the 50 Yuan entrance fee into Shimen Park.

As you would expect, the riverside park is full of the plank roads history and besides the tacky fake trees it is actually a beautiful place to spend the afternoon. There are small sections of the original plank road to visit, most of which now lay beneath the dam waters. We made our way to the top of the dam wall and spent the next few hours walking along the newer version of the plank road to where it ends at a small picturesque pagoda. We decided to continue along the walking track that led us to the small mountain side home of a local goat herder where we spent a happy fifteen minutes trying to play with some baby goats before making our way slowly back to the dam wall where Sarah and I parted ways.

She took the flying fox across the river (25 Yuan one way or 30 Yuan return) and as it had several hundred feet between the ‘flying foxer’ and the small amount of water below I decided to walk across the wall and meet her on the other side.

I’m more than happy to climb mountains, sometimes on crazily dangerous pathways that many others turn away from or take a bus ride along some of the most insane roads in China but one thing I’m not happy to do is bungee jump or fly through the air on a flying fox. Sometime during the past decade I developed the theory that I really do love life and that here in China I would rather have solid ground beneath my feet than trust a Chinese cable that is linked between two mountains.

This also includes most theme park rides along with patting dangerous animals but for some reason it doesn’t include suspension bridges and I have tried to understand my reasoning behind such a silly idea but have come to no reasonable conclusion.

A suspension bridge has only one extra cable attached to it and god knows how old the wooden planks are but I guess I like something solid beneath my feet. Anyhow, Sarah made it across alive and we spent time exploring the northern side of the river before crossing back to the park and slowly making our way back towards the main gate. Half way we came across a temple that had its doors closed to us and just as we were about to move on one of the monks appeared from out of nowhere, ushered us in and after a small donation he went about opening the doors to several of the buildings for us.

As darkness approached took the bridge across the river from where we caught the bus back to Hanzhong city. By the time we arrived we were both so hungry that we could have eaten…the…um…feet off a low flying duck. Luckily for me and not so for Sarah (being a vegetarian) Hanzhong was hosting the ‘First Hanzhong Delicious Food Festival’ and yes ‘delicious’ was included in the title. Here we met Nicko McDude and Aussie Brad and his squeeze Happy Mickey and for the next hour we raced from stall to stall (most of which were meat based) feasting on bbq sticks full of meat, fish and rice and noodle based delights. For the more adventurous there were scorpions and big hairy fried spiders which even I decided I could do without and to top it all off was a tray of delicious fried ice cream.

I was more than happy to find fried ice cream as I haven’t tasted it for about a decade!

The perfect end to a perfect day and for Chinese history buffs spending an afternoon at the ‘Shimen Plank Road’ is a great way to pass your time and from my understanding the ‘Shimen’ part of the Boaxie Road is actually the name of an ancient stone gate that can now be found beneath the dam waters but of course I could be wrong, it happens sometimes, many times, quite a lot actually but on my behalf, the entrance ticket reads ‘Shimen Plank Road’.

Six to one, half a dozen of the other, in the end it really doesn’t matter as we had a fantastic day which ended with spending time with good friends, eating delicious food and drinking cold beer. Below is some information on several of the Plank Roads that linked Sichuan and Shaanxi Province through some of the most rugged terrain, all built by the hands of ancient locals and allowed communication to pass between both areas.

<u>The History of the Plank Roads </u>

To the north of Hanzhong lays the protective screen of the Qinling Mountains and to the south the dangerous and difficult Ba Mountains, together making the Hanzhong Basin a closed geographic area. The ancients increasingly expanded their territory and after making explorations through the Qin and Ba mountains opened up many paths for communication and traffic. The different tracks across the Qinling included the Ziwu road, the Tangluo road, the Baoxie road and the Old Road (the Chencang road). Passing through the Ba Mountains were the Jinniu (or "Golden Ox") road, the Micang (or "Rice Granary") road and the Yangba (or "Lychee") minor road.

These seven roads are generally known as the Shu roads.

Ancient Plank Roads refer to the ancient passages built along mountains and cliffs by cutting holes in the cliff and inserting wooden beams on which planks were laid to make a passage. Wooden railings were erected alongside to ensure the safety of people and horses. Its history can be traced back to the Warring States Periods (476 BC-221 BC) and during both the Qin (221 BC-206 BC) and Han Dynasties (206BC-220) Dynasties construction was expanded.

A famous old Chinese saying goes;The way to Sichuan is harder than climbing to the sky and it is not an exaggeration.

For thousands of years the Qinling Mountain acted as a huge barrier blocking the way from Shaanxi to Sichuan. Finally the local people figured out that the best way between were to build plank roads through the mountains, sadly though most were burnt during wars or have decayed through the years.

Among the countless ancient plank roads the Baoxie Plank Road is the most famous and has the longest history. The south mouth of the valley was called Bao and the north was called Xie, thus the plank road was named Baoxie. It was one hundred and forty six miles long and the original was destroyed leaving only holes in the mountain sides. A tunnel, measuring 17.8 yards long and 4.6 yards wide is now regarded as the first traffic tunnel in the world. Inside the tunnel and on the cliff beside Baohe River famous officials and scholars in ancient times left many autographs and poems which were later moved for safe-keeping to Hanzhong Museum due to the construction of the dam.

In 1996 the locals restored six hundred and fifty six yards of the old site and constructed a park that now houses the Mountain Gate, Fengyu Pavilion, Cuiyun Pavilion and a chain bridge known as Lovers Bridge.</b>

The following is an inscription entitled "Rules for Road Etiquette."<b><b>It is the earliest example of &#8216;Rules of the Road’ found in China. </b>

The harsh Qin built this post station, [i][i][i][i][i] Water is plentiful in the station well, [i] Countless canes of bamboo are growing, [i] Together with great numbers of pear trees. [i] Four years and three and one half months, [i] A time of new (bamboo) shoots and late flowers, [i] Longing to go again over the mountains in the East.[/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i][/i]

Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________

The soundtrack to this entry was by the Celebate Rifles The album was &#8216;Blind Ear' ____________________________________________________________

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival


Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Baoxie-Shimen Plank Road &#38;amp; Delicious Food Festival

Posted by eddakath 17:00 Archived in China

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