泰山 Tài Shān

泰山 Taishan

A place of worship for over 3000 years and one of China’s “Five Great Mountains,” Mt. Tai holds associations to sunrise, birth and renewal. The typical method for climbing the mountain is to start in the middle of the night so that you can see the sun rising over the clouds, an experience said to mimic being by an ocean. Doing the trip solo, I thought it best to do the climb in the daytime. Big mistake, I got absolutely fried. The rest of my summer trip was plagued by the fact I forgot to triple apply some sunscreen. Comically, after struggling up the path of just straight-up steps for hours, I emerged at the peak to find that women in platform stilettos had just opted to take the bus halfway up and then the cable car the rest of the way.

 

岱庙 Dai Temple

Lying on the axial path to the mountain, The Temple of the God of Mount Tai is a big complex first built during the Qin dynasty (221–206 BC). I visited the day before my climb when there was a huge rainfall, so the drenched 2,100 year old cypresses had an especially ancient, gnarled appearnce. Here’s a horrible photo of the main gate, the beginning of the procession up the mountain.

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Ascent

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Peak

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