Pre-Tibet Hike to Heng Mountain
Staying in the Florida of China for months makes winter a little less bareable each year. So, before leaping into the unforgiving frost of Tibet in Winter (as I’m told its quite chilly up there), I decided to pay a visit to Heng Mountain; the Southern Mountain and one of Chinese Five Sacred Mountains of Taoism. Heng Shan is a 150 km-long mountain range with 72 peaks.
My post today is coming from a small hotel in the foothills of this historically important mountain. Of course, it’s also a pretty charming spot to visit if you are in the Hunan area. (Southern China-2 hours bullet train from Guangzhou/ +2 more hours light rail from HK) Last Chinese New Year I visited Song Mountain, which is the home of the Shao Lin Temple. It’s considered the Central Mountain of the Five Sacred Mtns. Someday I’ll get to the rest of them! (Northern, Western, and Eastern)
What’s important about this place? Besides beautiful landscapes, it was visited by a swath of great emperors, hosted over 100 sacrifices (human perhaps?) and welcomed Tao/Buddhist pilgrims since the first Taoists came in the late East Han Dynasty (25AD-225AD); it also contains countless poetic stone carvings and over 1000 species of wild plants.
The Shou (Longevity) Culture is also strong here. It’s based in the earliest study of Astronomy in the world (by Xingjing). Basically, it matches the location of Mount Heng to the Zhen Star, which is “in charge of the life span of being in the world,” as reported by the Hunan government.
OK, enough about WHY this place is special, and for some pictures of this beautifully peaceful mountain.