Lire en Français : Jour 6 Bei Heng Shan
Preamble: visit of the Hanging Monastery
Everybody ready at 7.30am for immediate departure to the hanging monastery. We are right in the Chinese national holidays, departure time is critical. The hanging monastery is interesting, but the visit seems like a long waiting queue :-/
We did well arriving early. In two hours time the queue in front of the ticket office is expanding from one hour to three hours..! (Add that to the traffic jam on the way.)
Start of the third trail
Visit to the hanging monastery completed. This is the start of the sportive (and cultural) part of the day on the sacred mountain Heng Shan. We start with a 300m warm-up followed by a 3km run on road and trail to reach the mountain’s foot. We then hike fast up to the car park and ticket office (another one) of the mountain’s site.
From temples to temples
This is where I leave my mates and I start going up and down much faster on the steep slopes of the mountain which may I add are all stairs. I cross my mates when I get back to the main path from remote temples or view points.
Progression is not always easy with the crowds of pilgrims and tourists, but once into the run I can make my way through, sometimes running on the narrow ramps on the stairs sides.
The steep slope makes the heart rate raise quickly ; short pause shooting pictures and viewing temples are welcomed. Of course compared to all the visitors I am going up very fast, and comments are many. Especially in the main staircase that leads to the summit. That one is very steep, some visitors end up on all fours while I eat up the hundred steps, two by two straight to the top.
Reaching the summit, I go halfway back down the last section to meet with my friends. On the way to the next summit, a Chinese man is offering me a branch that all lust after, with small orange fruits about the size of pepper’s that taste of medlar tree fruits, sweet-acidulous.
On the way back down I go for an alternative path that leads straight to a small temple. Once at the bottom of this staircase I decide to go back up almost to the summit to go down again this time taken the temples path.
On the way down I again take the narrow ramps on the stairs sides. With good balance and not being scared of sliding or falling it lets you run down faster than the stairs. It’s the only place not packed with visitors. I progress quite fast, the path break opens in front of me. Kids are happy when I jump the last bunch of four steps pushing on my poles. I am at the bottom in no time.
Arrived at the entrance of the temples area (actually below, even below the car-parks), I go back-up again find my friends to complete the run together, sometime’s taking short cuts on trails between road switchbacks weaving down to the large new traditional building works, the future park entrance.
Back to the city
Taxi filled and back to Datong, which is a two hour journey on firstly winding roads that cross the mountains, then on the brand new deserted roads.
After a good shower, we leave for the same restaurant as yesterday. Ten people together, we have even spicier dishes.
And to finish of the day, before writing this post, I got a Chinese foot massage (30mn, 3.10€ – Very strong). Feeling good in the feet, ankles and calves