Often regarded as the most sacred of the “Five Sacred Mountains”, Mount Tai symbolizes sunrise & birth throughout China.
Our path up involved a total of 7,200 steps with 11 gates, 14 archways, 14 kiosks, and 4 pavilions along the way.
Mount Tai has been a place of worship for at least 3,000 years and has been visited by many emperors at the time.
We entered through the Sun Gates to begin our ascent up the mountain.
Since it is in the middle of winter, workers manually tie colored yarn to the trees in preparation for Chinese New Year.
Ancient tree in the courtyard that has seen many turmoils over the years.
At the base of the mountain where pilgrims can purchase incense and walking sticks.
One of the temples along the way. Each temple has a key strength, whether it be for exams, health, wealth, or luck, that the visitors can ask for favors.
Off the beaten track we found a vast area with poems carved onto boulders and on the riverbed.
How has this come to be? An underwater well which has trickled and frozen over the winter?
It is not a difficult climb, it just has a lot of stairs!
Advantages of winter, we were walking along the riverbed to get a closer look at the frozen waterfall.
Our view at Midway Gate to Heaven while eating hand-made noodles in beef broth. Far off is First Gate to Heaven, the final checkpoint at the peak.
Past the mid-point we began the toughest part of the journey – the Eighteen Bends with 1630 steps covering almost 400 meters in vertical distance.
Looking down. We were glad there was no snow or ice to make the steep path even more treacherous.
Yet as we were gasping for breath these two workers were dashing down the mountain while carrying 2 mattresses between them!
Almost there! At this point I was really hungry and ate an entire bag of Wasabi peas in one go.
Finally made it to the top before sunset! The restaurants are busy preparing for supper.
We settled for a guest house near the weather observation tower, there is no running water in any of the buildings.
Group photo at sunrise. It was about -15degC, changing lens was becoming a challenge.
The Eastern side of the mountain to catch the first glimpse of the sunrise.
The mountain range stretching ahead.
At the Jade Emperor Peak [玉皇頂] of the mountain, 1545 metres (5069 ft) tall. Many people lock their wishes near the sky.
After breakfast we stumbled upon a celebration, to this day I still don’t know what it is for.
Men & women in traditional gowns performing their dance routine despite the cold weather.
A view of the path we had travelled along yesterday.