Going to Emeishan

Gathered at 8:30am to take a bus ride up to Emeishan (Mount Emei). A very queasy-making windy road up the mountain. We made it to a cable car spot and took it to ‘close’ to the top of the mountain. There was then another stroll up the mountain where we saw ‘wild’ macaques monkeys hanging out in the trees. They were like our squirrels at Vassar, cute but not too trustworthy. It was pretty amazing to see monkeys, though.

Latitude 29.522793, Longitude 103.335935, Altitude 3,046 meters (9,993 feet)

We reached the top of Emeishan where there is very tall golden Buddha with four faces. We were told that it was built in 2006. I assumed that the materials to build it where helicoptered to the mountain, but was told by Geography Professor that there are only 16 helicopters in China (a big problem for the earthquake relief efforts) and that the materials were carried up the mountain. The temple was rebuilt because of a fire and I think they decided to build the giant statue, too. The funding for the project came from foreign Buddhists, mostly from southeast Asia, according to Geography Professor. Note the picture of the guys carrying what seem to be boxes of soda up the mountain.

At the highest part of the mountain there is a lookout and it feels like you’re standing at the edge of the world, you’re above the clouds and the cliffs are vertical.

On the drive down, Geology Professor gave an impromptu talk on the geology along the roadway. It was strikingly noticeable that the rock formations here in this narrow, winding valley, were very similar to the formations in the Grand Canyon or in the Connecticut Rift Valley. There were red beds on the bottom that we could see and stratigraphically above that where some limestone rocks, indicative of a basin that filled in with a shallow sea (as the basin widened). Interestingly, at the top of Emeishan there were columnar jointed basalt rocks dated at the Upper Permian (250M to 260M yo), also a strong indication of the past geological environment…a rift valley.

Total change in elevation from Hong Zhu Shan Hotel to the top of the mountain is about 2,500 meters (over 8,000 feet).

On the way back to the hotel, the temperature really increased. We were going to do a little more walking but it was way too hot. We stopped at Temple that I do not know the name of (I was very hot and pretty tired and didn't even get a lat/long) which was also beautiful. There was wonderful chanting going on and locals coming to pray. Whether it’s a gospel choir, the Kol Nidre, the boys singing Evensong at Westminster Abbey, spiritual music does what it is designed to do, moves the soul.

The guys are noticing some interesting messages in the men’s rooms they encounter. Here are a few I’ve overheard:

“Don’t urinate everywhere.”

“Urinate here.”

“It’s civilized to urinate close.”

“You will breath the fresh air after you have a civilized urination.”

What goes on in those places!!!???!!!

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