China-2023: Wulingyuan, Zone 2 – cragged, jagged, ragged.

Wulingyuan National Park – Zone 1: done.

Next up – Zone 2. More of the same, you’re thinking? Well, kinda – but not quite…

Sure, we’re talking extraordinarily gigantic and fantastic rock formations, but in Zone 2 they possess a wholly distinct character: not as smooth – as in more jagged. Still utterly unbelievably awesome…

I’ve marked out Zone 2 here in yellow:

That morning we were up and off – in a coach for the 20-minute drive to the site. Upon arrival – food court (to make up for the calories spent sat on the coach:). Though we’d only just eaten at the hotel, we couldn’t resist a second breakfast! ->

Before I forget, we were walking here more than three hours – between the entrance in the morning and back on the coach in the afternoon.

The route isn’t too complicated, and there are two options generally: using your own two feet or going on the provided transportation. On foot – you take one of the ~two footpaths colored green on the map; on transportation – you can take the cable car (top right) and/or the mini-train (marked in black and white – bottom left).

Check out some of the names of places on the map: there’s Golden Mouse Gazing at the Sky, Heavenly Dog Watching the Moon, and Monkey King Patrolling!

After viewing the above map, we reckoned we’d be able to cover the whole of Zone 2 in a day. Only later did we find out that that map is just part of the full map for Zone 2, which meant we’d need two days:

McDonald’s? I don’t see many of them in China. Having already had two breakfasts, we walked on by )…

Suddenly… ->

Here are the jagged forms I mentioned ->

But the trees in unlikely places are in strong attendance, like in Zone 1 ->

The temple from which we made our descent:

On our way down – the views all around: grandiose, brutal, amazing ->

Steps – handy, of course, but they just go on forever and ever, and our knees were not happy! ->

But the views all around make up for our aching knees; what’s more – the sun was coming out! ->

Mind-blowing ->

Getting deeper ->

Rickshaws stand idle – too few tourists about ->

We arrive at the bottom and head for the exit…

At the exit – a store selling wood carvings and sculptures, from the tiny to enormous. Quite how tourists take their larger purchases home with them I never did find out…

The entrance to the mini-train station:

You need to buy a ticket for the train, or you can walk along the path the runs alongside the track, which is only ~1500 meters long.

Here’s one of the kid-friendly mini-trains, btw ) ->

And here’s another! ->

So… Monkeys, piglets… and now lambs! ->

And ~Thomas, of course ) ->

Snake! ->

In the end, given the knee situation, we opt for the mini-train ->

Down below – crowds (waiting for the coaches)! Eh? In the week after Golden Week? How come?! ->

Despite first impressions and mood-through-the-floor, the line for the coach lasted a mere 20 minutes. Another 20 minutes were the spent on a coach, and it was pretty much straight to bed at the hotel. Why so early? For we had more tourism-till-you-drop planned for the following day, naturally )…

The rest of the photos from China-2023 are here.

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