Wild chrysanthemums, wild roses, bracken, archangels, and Hefei Vacations stinging nettles had overgrown much of the route, and there were side paths leading off at Hefei Vacations frequent intervals. We traced some of them, I found one which led to a waterfall, aptly named The Waterfall that Penetrates the Clouds’.
The path levelled out and ran along under a cliff, we paused often to catch our breath, and after about four hours we saw the impressive gates of a monastery, its gatehouse guarded by two sculpted dragons breathing dark smoke from their nostrils and throwing flames from their paws. With excitement we discovered that the place was not empty or derelict, but still functioning.
According to one of the monks, this blessed saint’ monastery was created by a monk called Without Cloud, who had spent three years collecting enough money for it to be built. Its heyday was in the Ching Dynasty in the twelfth century and nowadays it has only nineteen monks and eleven nuns.