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We paid the entrance fee, which was good for two days and included entrance to various sites in Yaoli as well as to the trail up to the falls. The trail is a one way loop and we are the only ones hiking. As I wrote in my post about Yaoli, this is a place whose tourism is being planned, but has not yet been invaded by crowds. As Dean Huang and I started up to the falls I was reminded of the pine and granite landscapes of New Hampshire and the gorges and waterfalls of my old haunt, Ithaca, N.Y.
But none of these favorite places features the vast waves of rustling feathery yellow green bamboo that we saw across the way and walked through as we descended. My Chinese friends are surprised when I tell them that we do not have this kind of bamboo forest where I live.
NanShan waterfall, I am told by a friend, but my research does not prove, is partially man made. From the base of this wonderful flow we cannot tell what is above. Is it a dam? No evidence from below. I have also been told that, due to some military secrets, the area has been at times forbidden to outsiders.
Waterfalls are my holy land and this one was a pilgrimage worthy of the hike, perfectly orchestrated for serenity and awe. Power of fast flowing water led us up to the unexpected force and magnitude of the large fall, followed by the peaceful hike down through the forest of bamboo.
We followed the sound of water rushing to find ourselves looking up a powerful wall of water.
Then we started down through the bamboo.
The trail brought us down past a small shelter with bamboo roots used to echo the curving roof lines of ancient architecture and tea harvesters finishing their day's work. The young leaves are harvested in the early and late day. When we ask around for a place to stay we find that the farmer's homes are housing the migrant workers now and so not available for us to rent rooms for the night. Across the river, we found a farmers house, shop with 3 rooms. We were offered the special room, with a television and a double bed for 40 yuan. We declined and negotiated the two separate rooms for the same price. We had dinner of fern stems there with the family kids, while the dad roasted tea leaves in a wide pan. My room was white washed, white painted beds, white linen, very soothing...sleep. Next day we hike up behind the village, past the Taoist hermits. I found fiddle head ferns, but we had eaten the stems. They don't eat the heads. And they looked perfect. Then a found a raspberry, one single orange raspberry. Dean had never seen a raspberry, he did not know what it was. He trusted me and ate it. One berry. They must grow somewhere in China.