The dragon and the phoenix are two of the most auspicious animals or birds in China, however they only exist in legends. The dragon is the symbol for men and the phoenix is the symbol for women. During ancient times, the emperors wore robes decorated with dragons to symbolise the ultimate power. The Chinese regard themselves as the offspring of dragons (Long De Chuan Ren).
The Chinese stick pictures of a dragon and a phoenix together with Xi (happiness) on a red background on walls and windows during their wedding to show the perfect match and symbolise an auspicious start to their lives together.
As you probably already know, red is the most lucky colour in China, followed by gold. During ancient times, gold was used as currency to exchange goods and therefore symbolises prosperity.
Phoenix mountain is situated near Phoenix city, about 57 kilometres from Dandong city, which neighbours North Korea, the two countries are separated by the Ya Lu river. It is called Phoenix mountain as the bumpiness and precipitous cliffs look like a phoenix has opened her wings. Unfortunately I did not know this at that time and did not observe this fact while I was climbing.
Phoenix Mountain is famous for its spectacular scenery, astonishing rocks and cliffs, bumpy and precipitous mountains, caves, streams, classic temples, stone sculptures, natural wonders and rare plants. It is just like a beautiful and massive Chinese oil painting.
Phoenix Mountain is the most dangerous mountain I have ever climbed in my life. I am not a big fan of mountain climbing, especially dangerous mountains. Before climbing the mountain I actually did not know how dangerous it would be and If I knew the truth I may have decided not to take the “risk of my life”.
The mountain is famous for its unevenness and its sheer drops, and it could take around three or four days, if you want to climb over the compete route to see most of the sights. Neither the tour guides or the pamphlets emphasized how dangerous the mountain could be and there was not any warning that this mountain is not suitable for everyone to climb, especially older people.
It all happened when we ran out of good places to visit in Dandong city and my husband suddenly said he read about Phoenix Mountain from the internet and told me that we should climb this mountain and it would be good fun.
When I was at senior high school and university I had classmates from Phoenix city, they told me some scary stories about Phoenix mountain. I heard some people got injured and some even fell off from the cliff and died while climbing the mountain. It made my hair stand on end and therefore, I never had any interest in climbing this mountain to risk my life, even though it is only a few hours bus journey from my parents home. However, my husband was really keen to climb the mountain, and at that time I forgot about the horror stories that I heard from my classmates.
It was beautiful weather in the middle of April. Normally at this time the area should be full of cherry blossoms and green trees, but for the year of 2010, the spring had been delayed almost a month. The mountain looked quite bare for this season and there were very few tourists too. We hired a mini bus, which took around 10 minutes to bring us from the gate to the climbing base...
To be Continued.