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Experiencing Guizhou's wild beauty

Updated: 2024-02-17 12:32 ( China Daily )
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A Francois' Langur and its cub are photographed in the Mayang River National Nature Reserve in Guizhou.[Photo provided to China Daily]

Data from the reserve shows that Fanjing Mountain is one of the world's rare genetic resource banks. It boasts 4.2 square km of primary forest and a large area of dove trees, a first-class protected tree which only exists in China, as well as a nationally protected wild plant and a species unique to China — the Guizhou Golden Snub-nosed Monkey — which is an endangered species on the IUCN Red List. Only about 800 exist in the world, all in Guizhou.

To reach the reserve's famous Golden Summit, it's possible to take a 3.5-kilometer cable car ride from Jiangkou county and then walk up several hundred meters of steep steps to reach the top.

It is the main peak in the Wuling Mountain Range, where Fanjing Mountain is located. In the morning, Golden Summit is often surrounded by clouds tinted red by the rising sun, a sight that is considered auspicious in Chinese culture.

The mountain is topped by a nearly 100-meter-high spire that takes Golden Summit to an altitude of just over 2,300 meters, and which is shrouded in mist all year round. Climbing it requires using the iron chains that have been attached to the rock, while navigating a flight of delicately carved stairs. It's a challenging feat, and one that attracts tourists wishing to take photos and leave their mark.

Those who choose not to take the cable car down the mountain can follow a 13.5-kilometer hiking trail from Golden Summit to the reserve's West Gate in Yinjiang county.

The trail is quiet. Walking above the sea of clouds through the primeval forest, hikers will encounter stones and plants along the way. The most impressive sight is the branches on both sides of the trail, covered with moss, which resembles a scene from Alice in Wonderland.

Occasionally, you can hear bird calls and see small animals scuttling through the leaves nearby. Visitors from the city are able to enjoy the beauty of returning to nature, and the other hikers we encountered on the trail seemed relaxed and happy, among them mountain enthusiasts from Europe, parents teaching their children about flora and fauna, and young urban professionals seeking an escape from city stress.

"Some people have even suggested that we should bottle the air here and sell it. Its negative oxygen ion content is unusually high," a forest ranger later joked.

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