Hey Hey and a Big G'Day toya,
With another four days off to play where else would one go but majestic Wuyishan! Thank you sunshine and two days of school sports!
It has a total area of one thousand square kilometers, a huge amount of unique and natural scenery that includes the nine-twist river, thirty six huge crags and what have been described as one hundred grotesque rocks. It is rich in cultural interest and has a huge historical legacy that includes the three thousand year old 'Minyue Culture and Kingdom', 'boat coffins' that are over three thousand years old which can be found in the areas rocky crevices' along with Taoist and Confucius Temples and a Nunnery or three.
For tea drinkers and for those of you like me who find Oolong Tea to be a major favourite, then you will be happy to know that Wuyi Rock Tea is supposedly where the origins of Oolong tea can be found. This was my fourth adventure to Wuyishan over a four year period and it still seems that this entire area which is found in Fujian's Provinces far North West (and an hour and a half from where I live) is still majorly overlooked by foreign visitors as the only foreigners I have ever seen there are the ones I take with me.
As I had been to Wuyi several times prior I decided to take Ross on some of my favourite big walks that would allow him to see the parks beauty from several unknown walks.
We started the day early and grabbed two local motor bike taxis and hoped that we would be dropped off at what is known as the Water Curtain Cave. Strangely though even with a Chinese map we were dropped off in the wrong place and after I got my bearings I found that we were actually halfway through the walk I had planned for the day. As it was at an out of the way car park there was no way to correct the mistake so in the end we slowly walked all the way to the water curtain cave and finally got to begin our adventure.
If you wish to head to Wuyishan and spend a day or two walking and I urge you do so if you find yourself in north west Fujian, head to the 'Water Curtain Cave' track and across the road you will find a small set of stairs, take these and simply follow the trail. You begin the journey at a small stone bridge and then follow the `Zhangtang Brooklet´ that runs beneath huge cliff faces on both sides. The vegetation is so lush and green and the water is crystal clear and easily some of the cleanest water I have seen in China.
Our first stop was the Huiyuan Temple which was first built during the Song Dynasty and then rebuilt in the late Ming and early Qing Dynasty´s.
After we left the temple we continued through the valley following what is known as the `Huiyuan Temple Fragrance Brooklet´. We were soon passing beneath the majestic Eagles Beak Peak and as we left it behind the huge Jade Pillar Peak stood before us. We continued on towards what is known as `Big Red Robe´ or `Dahongpao’ which is a beautiful Tea House that was built to protect the six tea trees that are now World Heritage listed and from my understanding they are the six original tea trees that then spawned the millions that can now be found all over Wuyishan. Here we joined the tour groups who come from all over China, Japan and South Korea simply to see these six famous trees. The tea house is set beneath huge cliffs and amongst a small tiered tea plantation and the six tea trees can be found growing in a small garden half way up the cliff face out of reach of the silly tourists who jump fences and ignore the several signs saying KEEP OUT in Chinese, Japanese, Korean and English.
We were soon walking the `Culture Tourist Route of Wuyi Tea´ and there is a reason why so many tourists are brought here, because it is beautiful!
For those like us who wish to continue walking well into the afternoon you will actually need to exit the park through the Dahongpao Tea Trees Ticket Office. For those who hate climbing a hill of stairs, then you´ll really hate the beginning of this part of your day but what is found at the top is easily enough to make me climb more than worthwhile. I made Ross close his eyes at the top until he rounded the corner as sitting beneath a huge cliff face in the distance can be found an extremely picturesque old temple.
Ross just like Luo Wei and Canadian Rob, who just like Aussie Martin and Georgia before them stood in silence for a few seconds before letting out a huge WOW when his mind finally took in the sight that was before him. After climbing a huge amount of stairs, sweating and breathing heavy you simply see this and you can’t help but forget how tired you are.
I have named this the 'Hidden Valley Temple’.
We then made our way down to the temple and were invited to sit in silence and share tea with the monk who resides at the temple. When I visited the temple with Luo Wei she and the Monks family tried their best to communicate but as they couldn´t speak Mandarin and she couldn´t understand their local dialect I have no information on the history of the temple and I still can’t any information on it on the internet.
Anyhow, after our temple visit we headed across the valley to the little shrine and here I was going to take Ross on the third part of the journey but as we had watched several tea farmers head in the opposite direction we deiced to follow them instead and see where we ended up. Walking in this area really shows you that everywhere in China every little piece of usable space is used.
This part of the walk is barely ever walked by anyone other than the happy smiling farmers you walk past whom offer a big smile as they clip and tend to the plantations.
Whilst following the farmers we wound our way along tracks that took us deep into the tea plantations and as we changed direction several times I lost my internal compass and after a few hour’s walk we ended up in a part of the park that was in the complete opposite direction than where I thought we were. Whist walking I spotted a small pagoda in the distance and when we arrived at the door and found that it housed a small well I had the feeling that I had been there before yet I couldn’t understand why.
Mainly because I thought we were a few hours the other way! Surrounding the pagoda was a tea plantation and the old stone well had been modernised.
Electric pumps were now used to flow the water to its destination and it looked so strange seeing a stone well electrical boxes and switches on the wall behind it. We then continued along the track and soon after we came across the Heavenly Tour Peak sign which is when I finally figured out where.
To Ross’s surprise in my confusion I yelled ‘you’ve got to be farking joking’. As we still had many hours before sunset we decided to do the following days walk!
Once we reached the peak the tops of the huge crags were beneath us with the river snaking its way between them. The bamboo rafts that we were going to leave for another visit looked like ice-cream sticks with ants on them and we decided that we would become those ants the following day. All around us were the breathtaking sights of some crags tops being covered with trees and others left completely bare.
Trees or no trees, all were an awesome sight.
After catching our breath and visiting the temple and once again made our way up hill and soon passed beneath the Wuyi Arch where I remembered my thoughts when I first saw this huge stone arch `what kind of a person would make someone else carry such huge stonework up a bloody mountain!´
We then slowly began to wind our way down to Peach Blossom Valley where set beneath another huge cliff face can be found the Kai Yuan Taoist Temple and across the temples green grassy grounds can be found a huge statue carved from stone. The statue is almost identical to the one I visited on Qing Yuan Shan (mountain) in Quanzhou.
A statue of the legendary Song Dynasty Taoism founder, Laozi.
We then followed Squirrel Brooklet and made our way down to the Seventh Twist in the river. After making our way back along the river we made our way past the beautiful Shizhao Pavilion and the Clouds Lair on the rivers six twist. We then zig zagged our way through Zig Zag Caves and by the time we reached the entrance/exit everyone had gone home.
Thankfully not long after we began walking a taxi stopped beside us and we finally got to rest our weary legs. After a few hours rest Ross finally got to enjoy a steaming bowl of delicious Lanzhou Beef Noodles. Lanzhou Noodles are my most favourite noodles in all of China and are handmade before your very eyes by the owner of the Muslim restaurant where they can only be found. When I lived in Shaowu last time we actually had a small Muslim Noodles Eatery that we always ended up in after a big night at the bar but sadly the family that ran it has moved back to the western deserts of Xinjiang Province leaving us without Lanzhou Beef Noodlesless.
Thankfully I remembered there was an eatery at Wuyishan. Thankfully also that it still remains!
The following day we decided to meet around midday and after haggling with a taxi driver we sped to Wharf No: 3 and after paying our one hundred Yuan each we joined a happy family on a bamboo raft and were soon found floating slowly down the river through Wuyi Canyon which is a fourteen kilometer stretch of the river. This stretch of water belongs to Tongmu Brook which is one of the sources of Nine Bends River that meanders between rocks and gorges.
Whilst we drifted we passed through lush green surroundings set beneath huge rocky crags and the family’s son tried his best to practice his English with us and at thirteen he did a good job at interpreting between us and everyone else on the raft.
All god things must come to an end and after saying goodbye to our young friend and his family we spent the rest of the afternoon in the main tourist part of the park and like yesterday we were lucky enough to get by without having to purchase any type of ticket. I remembered a track that winds its way beside the river and beneath what is known as Great King Peak. Halfway through the walk is a stunning ancient style home that is situated beneath the peak and surrounding the home is a beautiful bonsai garden. After being awed by the bonsai garden we continued along the track and soon found ourselves at the Zhizhi Nunnery. I have no details at all on this place except that it is quiet and extremely beautiful.
For it being a Nunnery we found a complete lack of Nuns. There were None Nuns and just like last time I visited I found myself wondering; when a Nun goes to sleep does she say Nunneigh?
Beers N Noodles toya…..shane ___________________________________________________________
The soundtrack to this entry was by The Underground Lovers The album was ‘a huge MP3 mix’ ____________________________________________________________