Nine of us—five teachers and four students—spend several days earlier this week in the Wudang Mountains, a place of great cultural and historical significance in China, famous for its natural beauty, its Taoist temples, and its association with Martial Arts. We had a great time exploring the many shops in the town below the mountain, a challenging but adventurous time navigating trains and buses to get there and back, and a rich and rewarding time making a 3-hour hike up an old stairway to the top peak of the mountain range—incredibly challenging, though the payoff of reaching the summit was well worth the effort.
A recap in pictures:
A Taoist monastery at the base of the mountains, with a Kung Fu master leading his students in warm-up exercises. There were several foreigners here training; it seems people come here from all over the world to study martial arts.
Meet Thomas, one of the students who accompanied us on our travels. I’ve included this pic for two reasons. One, unlike the other teachers, I hadn’t yet met Thomas; the best word I can use to describe him is “delightful,” maybe a 21-year-old, Chinese version of Dick Van Dyke. Two, I’m drinking coffee out of a soup cup. I bought instant coffee at the supermarket, then got hot water and a soup cup (no coffee cups) from a noodle restaurant. Don’t judge me.
This might be one of my all-time favorite pictures of myself.
The stairway up the mountain.
A view of some of the various temples (which are scattered all over the area) taken from about ¼ of the way up; note the temples in the center peak and the lower left of the picture.
A temple we passed at about 90% of the way to the summit.
View from the top, looking down at a lower level temple area.
The “Golden Temple”—a heavily symbolic temple situated on the highest peak of the range, the destination of many religious pilgrims.
The “victors”: only four of us—Will, Thomas, Emily (another student), and myself—made the trek all the way to the top.