Wudang Mountains' Shengzhen Rocks
By Liu Kun, Feng Lu,and Wu Shujing ( chinadaily.com.cn )
We are fortunate to have Liu Zhijie (a Taoist and member of Baiyi School founded by Zhang Sanfeng) as our guide and begin on Wulao Peak, on March 30, after driving from Qiongtai to the village of Dawan. Wulao Peak rises up abruptly, while Baiyun Gully is full of disorderly rocks and jumbled grass, with no clear way to the gully.
Lu Xun's words enter my mind: “A path shows only when thousands of people walk across.” No footsteps, no way. We’d like to be pioneers in exploring Wulao Peak and it’s a good thing that we can leave our footprints for others. The wise enjoy water. But I pick up a dead branch as a walking stick. Birds are singing in the trees and the stream flickers, with green shoots and flowers on both sides giving me great comfort.
We have to use both our hands and feet because the peak has a 60-degree angle and is really dangerous. The followers are scared to death. Liu Daoming, of the Yuan Dynasty (AD 1271-1368), in his Summery of Events in Wudang, noted that Wulao Peak consists of Shilao Peak, Zhenlao Peak, Yuanlao Peak, Huanglao Peak and Xuanlao Peak, gnomes appearing after Xuan Di, because five gods stayed here for a while.
Wang Shizhen, of the Yunyang reign of the Ming Dynasty (AD 1368-1644) and a leader of the Later Poets school of Chinese literature, wrote, “I was on Lu Mountain last winter and spent this spring on Taihe Mountain. No one here is a stranger and all of them are lovely to me”.
Baiyun Gully is just below the Shengzhen Rocks and runs around cliffs and comes out in Jiudu Gully. We reach the summit after one -hour of climbing and the Shengzhen Rocks are above us 30 meters. But we have no faith in continuing the journey because of the cliff’s 90–degree angle. Liu says that we can look to the grass for hints of a path. And, after just a few steps, the stone stairs to the summit are in front of us.
“Look,” You Chen shouts and we cannot fail to see it and head up. After helping each other get to the end of the path, there is a rock in front of us. We get onto it, and see the path. There is a tree branch left by others in the wall of rocks to use as the tool to climb up to the Shengzhen Rocks.
“Whether it looks like a ridge or a peak depends on where you look,” we think, sharing Su Shi’s thoughts in his poem. The Shengzhen Rocks are 1,100 meters above sea level and consist of major rocks and subordinate ones. The distance between them is six meters. The first level has a well, a milestone, a wooden ladder and two walls, both destroyed by nature. At the end of the first level, there are two holes.
There is a sentence that, “The Shengzhen Rocks jet up from Wulao Peak in a flying way”, recorded in Taihe Mountain Topography. The Shengzhen Rocks are the 31st of the Wudang Mountains’ 36 and are also called Qianyuan Cave.
There is a marker built in 1912 by prominent Hubei people, engraved with “Remembering forever”, “Qianyuan hole”, “Well” and “8 years of R.O.C in Junzhou, Hubei province” just recognizable and some names. The well is just a pit, with scattered slate.