Today was an incredibly special day, we were invited by the reserve staff to view the tourist part of the reserve where we rode a cable car up Mt. Fanjing. We were really fortunate to see this location on such a clear day. From what our guide had explained to us, the mountain is typically covered in fog and mist due to the elevation. The peak of the mountain was 2,572 meters or 8,438 feet above sea level. If you desired you could send a post card from the top of the mountain.
It was amazing to see how the employees brought supplies and materials for the local shops and rest facilities up to the mountain. They would carry the supplies balanced on a piece of bamboo to the top. They must’ve been in peak physical condition in order to accomplish this task because even after the cable car ride there were many stairs that you needed to climb to get to the business service centers.
This site was constructed in the 1600’s by buddhist monks as a holy site and has many amazing view points that are quite literally amongst the clouds. We were lucky to go on this day and time because it was warm and the sun was shining in addition, there weren’t very many tourists. At each scenic location there was signage in both Mandarin and English explaining the significance of the site and a description of the legends that made the site famous.
After eating lunch on top of the reserve the fog began to roll in so we were able to experience the beauty in two different weather patterns. Tianen, who works for the reserve and Shuishien told us that it was there first time seeing those sights as well. So it was a great experience for all of us, although a physically demanding. It is recommended to take two days to experience this site, however we were able to do it in one day due to the amount of stairs and its physically demanding peaks. The officials who escorted us to the cable car had informed us that after he dropped us off and on his way back to his office he had seen several monkeys near the road so we had only just missed them by about 10 minutes.
We returned to the base of the mountain for some tea with the reserve officials in their office and to exchange pictures. Then we headed to a beautiful village nearby and ate dinner with Mr. Sha, who is one of the local forest patrol officers, were he offered us some rice wine to go with our delicious food. The food was amazing and the wine was so sweet, it reminded me of white wine. After we got back to Jiangkou, we met up with Dr. Chen who had taken the day to upload her data for processing and she explained to us what we would be doing the following day.
We were scheduled to go on a 7.5 km hike through the reserve to visit previously recorded plots and record vegetation data. The hike was expected to take approximately 6 hours however, the reserve staff was concerned about having foreigners in the core of the reserve, understandably due to the remoteness of the area and the safety issues so plans were changed and we were informed we would be meeting up with Shuang to aid in household surveys in the village adjacent to Shaoudon’s house.