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Tour de China – Day 10

Location: Dengfeng, Henan, China (34.46308°N, 113.04591°E)

Mile: 398 (at bicycle club meeting)

The day began with a very wet 11km ride to the Shaolin monastery. The monastery grounds is pretty large, consisting of a number of different temples and cultural sights. The Shaolin temple itself isn’t that large. It consists of a number of old Chinese buildings amidst which were large Buddha statues and historical tablets. Many people were burning various size incense sticks before the Buddha statues. The largest incense sticks, about 6 inches in diameter and 5 feet long, cost more than USD$350.

Nearby the temple was the Pagoda forest, a graveyard for past Shaolin temple head monks. The more renowned or honored the monk was, the larger his pagoda. There is literally a forest of 250 of them in a small area.

2005-09-21_Sonshan Path_Dengfeng_Henan

From there I took a cable car far up onto the nearby Songshan mountain range. From the top I walked along a path until I came to a cliff, basically the entire side of the mountain. The path continued out onto the face of the cliff, seemingly hanging there with nothing but a small rail between you and eternity. After the first slightly frightening steps the path was exhilarating. It was breathtaking. God is an amazing artist!

On my way back into town I stopped by the Songyang classical academy I mentioned on day 6. It was a pretty place with stone tablets, courtyards, four thousand year old trees and classrooms where Confucian scholars taught students. It was quite peaceful there. I wouldn’t mind doing my Chinese language homework in such a place! Whip out the ink and brush and get to it. My goatee would have to be a bit longer though.

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