I rambled around watching as the mists parted giving glimpses of Sacred Mountain the mountains below, until, thoroughly chilled, I went back for a breakfast of greens Sacred Mountain , potatoes, rice and mushrooms. After eating we gave some money to the monastery and began a slow descent. Victor and Hanneke picked up their bickering where they had left off the night before. I didn’t want to listen to their recriminations, so made my own way down slowly and alone. At the highest spring on the mountainside I stopped to drink. The water comes out below a large bulbous rock that has a stone tablet inscribed with a poem. All the odd natural formations on the mountainside sport some small decoration, and large hollow trees have stone cairns and red cloth streamers, as befits consecrated nooks where gods and spirits are believed to dwell. Nature-worship is worship in a broad sense, it’s more of a practice of preserving man’s harmony with the spirit world, and keeping away the demons by showing respect and making offerings to avert their potential malice.
One side path led me to the shack temple where a very untidy man was living. He wasn’t communicative so we shared an amicable silence. Rambling back down the path, I felt so happy in my solitude that I began feeling guilty for leaving my companions, so I caught up with them and spent the rest of the descent trying to make them be nice to each other. From Shajie we rented a pack-pony and walked to Binchuan, which marked the parting of our ways. At sunset from the hotel balcony in Binchuan I could see the pagoda atop the Sacred Mountain, forty miles away, backed by a silvery sunset.