Text and photographs by Wang Lei
In late autumn, Baishan Mountain gets draped in dense fog. Water vapors left from summer drift into its valleys before condensing into thick clouds hovering around the mountain. The humid air makes visiting as much of a spa experience as an outdoor adventure, and adds a mysterious atmosphere to the already majestic scene.
In midwestern China, forming the border between Sichuan and Shaanxi Provinces, Baishan Mountain is home to karst landforms, gorgeous peaks, and gurgling streams - both above ground and below. My group of China Pictorial journalists started from Yichang City in Hubei Province and took National Highway 209 for several hundred kilometers before reaching the Shanghai-Chengdu Highway. The long relaxing drive through the cool autumn breeze ultimately led to two of the most amazing scenic spots in the mountain: Shennongjia and Tenglong Cave.
A Spa Tour of Shennongjia
A couple hundred kilometers from Yichang, the road became more and more winding. As it continued paralleling the Xiangxi River, the water gradually gathered more and more thick fog hovering above it. Our guide claimed that even he - a lifelong local - had never seen the fog so dense. Three big red Chinese characters on a huge rock on the side of the road announced our arrival in Shennongjia, and the thought running through my head was that we had finally reached the reputed hometown of the so-called “wild man” (an ape-like Bigfoot).......