Some background of the site first…
Located to the northeast of Shangrao City, Jiangxi Province, Mountain Sanqingshan was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List during the 32nd session of World Heritage on July 6th, 2008. Apart from that, it is designated as a national key scenic spot, a grade AAAA national tourist area, a national natural heritage and a national geo-park. Mr. Paul, the President of the National Park Foundation of the U.S., remarked that: “Mountain Sanqingshan is one of the few essences and the treasure of the world”. Chinese National Geography recommended it as one of the “top five beautiful mountains in China” and geologists from China and America all agree that it has “the most spectacular granite along the verge of western pacific ocean”.
Mountain Sanqingshan is 89.48 miles (144km) east of Quzhou City, Zhejiang Province, 48.47 miles (78km) west of Shangrao City, 62.1 miles (115km) south of Wuyishan City, Fujian Province and 163.42 miles (263km) north of Huangshan City, Anhui Province. The scenic spot covers an area of 84.89 square miles (220 square km), of which 27.41 square miles (71 square km) is the main scenic area. Yushan County is closest to the mountain.
The three peaks Yujing, Yuxu, Yuhua looks like three divine spirits Yuqing, Shangqing and Taiqing of Taoism resting in a row, hence the name Mountain Sanqingshan. It combines the beauty of Huangshan Mountain, the spectacular of E’mei Mountain, the nimbus of Lushan Mountain and the steepness of Huashan Mountain in one, thereafter displaying a unique quality.
The granite landforms are the most valued component of Sanqingshan landscape. Mountain Sanqingshan has plentiful granite morphological landscape resource, picturesque meteorological landscape resource, ecological landscape resources, rare plant and animal resources as well as landscape resources of lakes and waterfalls and Taoism culture. Visitors can see the pictographic stone landscape here, lifelike natural sculptures, such as the Oriental Goddess, Gigantic Boa, Colorful Screen at Ninth Heaven, Thousands of Peaks Competing for the Best, Three Dragons Rushing to Sea and Guanyin (Goddess of Mercy) Enjoys Music. Visitors may also enjoy various special meteorological phenomena, of which the most important ones are: Cloud Sea, Cloud Waterfall, Sanqing Divine Light, Five Colors Road in the Clouds, and Meteor Showers. During winter, you can experience another landscape type, mountain blanketed in snow. Mountain Sanqingshan has been an important spiritual center for Taoism, an ancient religious culture unique to China. The historic Taoist stone structures, such as Sanqing Temple, Dragon and Tiger Palace and Wind and Storm Pagoda remain important relics of the Taoism culture.
Mountain Sanqingshan boasts a particular high biodiversity. There are 2,373 species of higher plant, 1,728 species of wild animals, forming the most diversified ecological environment in East Asia. In addition, 144 species of animal and plant are listed in the China Species Red List, and 79 species are designated as National Key Protection wild animals and plants in China.
Mountain Sanqingshan presents a stunning array of natural beauty combining primeval landscapes and pristine flora. Few, if any, other world sites can rival it in terms of grandeur and majesty of Mother Nature. Come and visit, you will find it a special and beautiful place, not only for China, but also to the world.
Now…for my day.
My friend Brian and I left Shangrao around 7 AM. We had to be at the bus station at 8 AM. I had purchased the tickets for the bus the day before. We arrived at the bus station with no difficulties. We went through security, arrived at the gate, and boarded our bus. It is my first departure from this bus station. It went very smoothly. And, the staff was very courteous and helpful. The bus was very comfortable, compared the buses I usually took in Ganyu. The bus trip took about 1.5 hours. It traveled on a highway that was still under new construction. We went through various mountain tunnels that were still under construction for completion. The mountains and the scenery were wonderful.
We arrived at the site. We had to climb a very steep road to get to the entrance. Vendors were selling walking sticks and other items. I bought our entrance tickets. They were about $25.00 USD each. There is a sky cable car ride to the top of the mountain. The lady who sold me the tickets did not include that into our tickets. Brian and I had a choice to make. Go buy the tickets for an additional $10.00 USD each. Or, hike to the top on the trail. I wanted to buy the tickets and walk back down the trail. Brian has bad knees and claimed that climbing the mountain is easier on his knees than coming down. So, we headed up the trail. I would soon regret this decision as it was almost all uphill.
Hiking in China is almost always on stairs. They seldom have footpaths or dirt paths to walk on. These stairs were made from the stone of the surrounding mountain. The steps were either very steep. spaced at different heights and distances, or were to wide or narrow. There was one point of the trail that the stairs were very steep and the foot step was about half the length of my foot. It made it very hard for climbing.
Brian climbed much faster than I did. He often left me behind and headed on his way upward. Now and then I would see him resting. He would soon pass me and continue going. I guess it is his way. I would have preferred to have him and I walk together. Rest together. And talk to each other as we went along. Because of our separation, that is why you do not see him or I in any of the pictures I posted.
We finally reached the top to the cable car building. To our surprise, there was more hiking to be done at the top. And, it looked to be very interesting hikes to be made. But, after hiking for two hours, constantly up steep steps, for at least a few miles, I had enough of stair climbing for one day. I lost Brian at the top. Eventually I saw him begin the stair climbing to continue up the mountain. I decided to let him go off on his own. I was not going to kill myself climbing more stairs today. I figured I can always return some other time to explore the trails. And, next time I will know to take the cable car up the mountain first.
As I had a few hours to kill waiting for Brian, I relaxed. I found a nice shaded area and read a book I brought with me. I had lunch with the snacks I had brought with me. I milled around the area watching people. And, I just relaxed my aching, tired body. Brian returned from his climb. And, we took the cable car back down the mountain. Our bus was supposed to leave at 4:00 PM. It had already filled up by 3:30 PM when we got back to the bus stop. So, we had to wait a little over an hour for the next bus to depart at 4:30 PM. This was fine with us. We got on the bus and took a nap. I slept most of the way back home. Overall, it was a good day. I look forward to going back. Maybe in the spring.