TAISHAN (Ti'an, Shandong Province, China) - the most sacred mountain in all China.

The day we climbed Mt. Tain for the second time (July, 2004), it had been raining. The peak was shrouded in mist, quite different from the first time we had climbed it (November, 1999).  We passed Black Dragon pool, numerous temples and waterfalls, banged a bronze bell to ensure we would be safe during our lives, and, now, according to tradition, we can look forward to living 100 years. My question was: If we had already climbed the mountain and gained 100 years of life, by climbing it twice, can we look forward to living 200 years?

Climbing in the mist... joss sticks lit by the faithful.

                                                        Searching for Gathered Fragrance Temple
                                                        miles of mountains rise into clouds.
                                                        Ancient trees darken the narrow trail.
                                                        Where is that mountain temple bell?
                                                        Snowmelt crashes down on boulders,
                                                        the sun grows cold in the pines before
                                                        it drowns in the lake.
                                                        Keep your karma in good working order;
                                                        many dragons lie in wait.

                                                        - Wang Wei (701-761)
  I "stole" the following 2 photos from a friend's book on Mt. Tai.

Soaking wet from the mists, but ringing the temple bell to ensure safety along the road of life: 10 yuan (or ca. $1 US). This seemed like a bargain to me!

Taishan in winter, another "stolen" photo from my friend.

see: (http://www.windycitybooks.com/China/p.6.html) for our first trip in November, 1999.

Unfortunately, I think we lost those extra 100 years of life soon thereafter by climbing Laoshan (Qingdao, Shandong Province), the second most sacred mountain in China, when the temperature was 93 degrees and the humidity index was 97%.

About 1/2 way up Laoshan Mountain.

Black Dragon Falls at Laoshan. Sigh - the reservoir and the falls looked so inviting!