Baijiaozhai National Geopark

Today we slept in until 9 and then got organized for a trip to Baijiaozhai, the other national park near Ziyuan. The rain yesterday brought in new weather. It was a dry and beautiful day, but very chilly, only 42 degrees when we woke up, with highs about 50 in the city and in the 40’s in the park. Baijiaozhai is another of China’s famous Danxia formations with the soft red sandstone mountains that were easily shaped and sculpted by rain and wind leaving beautiful formations. 

 We started our hike with fleeces, down vests and raincoats as windbreakers. We quickly warmed up as we started up many flights of stairs, some reminiscent of Huashan near Xi’an, chains and all.

 
These brought us to a stunning viewpoint. 

 We soon turned a corner and descended into Dragon-Subduing Roadway, a narrow cleft in the rock with a cute little bridge,

 views way down, 

 and an awesome path along the horizontal cleft. 

 This pass brought us to a small Buddhist temple (with a bathroom nearby, yeah!), after which the trail went down into another narrow space between two large mountains, this one full of large boulders that we hiked under. 

  
Before taking the path back to the parking lot, we decided to take a side trail to Tiankong Si, Empty Heaven Temple, at the Gate of the Stronghold Pass near Longtouxiang. This trail turned out to be a 30 minute staircase up to a mountain pass with a wall and gate in it which lead to the temple and a cool viewpoint on a narrow spit of rock jutting out into the Danxia landscape.

 We were now much higher up, above much of what we were looking at before. 

 To our right was another viewing platform reached along a narrow walkway attached to the side of the cliff. The kids were too tired to check it out, so I went on my own, leaving them with the iPad babysitter for a few minutes. 

 As you can see, there was also a cable car there which went to some other entrance of the park. You could also hike down to this other entrance on a crazy path along the side of the cliff. 

 Alas, that will have to wait until some future visit. We had to head back down the way we came to meet up with the taxi that was waiting to take us back to Ziyuan where we could catch the bus back to Guilin. We arrived at the Green Forest Hostel past 7 pm, quite worn out but glad to be somewhere familiar. We had dinner here but then found out that a hot water pipe burst so we can’t take showers. Then the heat didn’t work on our room. Ugh! They were very nice and moved us into a different room, one with a working heater. It is cold in Guilin, in the high 40’s tonight. The heat is a relief, though I am looking forward to a hot shower tomorrow after the hot water is fixed. Tomorrow we are going to have a rest day in Guilin. The day after we have a sleeper train to Kunming, Yunnan Province.

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