Zhangjiajie (张家界) : Golden Whip Stream, Through the Eyes of a Mountain

Trail Map

Golden Whip Stream reflects morning light, backdropped by towering pinnalces

In Zhangjiajie, we walked in the shadow of colossal. Cloud, dappled by overhead trees, fell upon our faces - we shielded our eyes from the sun's occasional bursts of brilliance. Golden Whip Stream shimmered alongside us, awash with golden morning light. Golden carp basked in the rays and bobbed downstream. High above, Zhangjiajie's iconic pinnacles dominated the skyline. They split the humid air, parting the sunlight into angel rays. Below, they cast their great shadows upon the stream below.

A mother monkey feeds her youngster

Golden Whip Crag is the most famous in Zhangjiajie. It stood alone, set apart from its kin by its impeccable posture. Where most pinnacles were weather-beaten or gnarled, Golden Whip Crag was unwaveringly straight. It is said that though many have tried, none have climbed Golden Whip Crag. The crag seemed to know this too. It seemed to revel in the knowledge, standing so proud and straight. Defying man in a way that even Everest cannot.

A forest of pine trees and jutting pinnacles

Past the stream, the ascents begins in lushious forest. However, beware the 'Red dog' as you journey onwards. A plaque depicts the fearsome animal. It reads:

"Red dog. Looks like dog, but more smaller. Red dog feeds on small to medium sized beasts, such as dog."

It is surely a terrible beast.

Three great pinnacles stand proud and alone

If you manage to evade the elusive 'Red dog' and reach the high point of Zhangjiajie, a walkway leads you around the very tops of the pinnacles. Here, you see through the eyes of the mountain. The views are unimaginable; a majestic gorge lined with rows upon rows of heavenly spires; an epic wall of rock splattered with blood-red tearstains; plunging cliffside valleys that mark the edge of the earth and dare you to peer over.

Will you?

        Words & Photography: Scott Norris (@radventuresofficial) // Summer 2016