Fuzhi Shan is a small mountain located in north Zhejiang province, China. Despite its not so impressive elevation of 835 amsl, it is anyway a very beautiful mountain, definitely worth the visit. Most importantly, as it receives rarely any visitors, it may be an ideal destination for one who seeks to experience some solitude within peaceful environs in an otherwise so crowded country. Besides wondering at the natural merits of the mountain itself, one may also be gratified in visiting the various ancient villages situated on its slopes, where their people still live and farm in pretty much the same ways their ancestors did several centuries ago, giving a quite accurate sensation of what life would be in medieval China. The mountain may be climbed within a two day round-trip from Shanghai, thus making a great possibility of a short trip for anyone happening to be there situated.
So and we, a fair early morning of a week-day, we were leaving behind us the hubbub of this bustling city heading thither. In order to get to Fuzhi Shan from Shanghai, we needed to change three buses and one train, in a trip which lasted many hours till we finally reached Shikuo village by afternoon.
Once at Shikuo another bus may be caught to cover the remaining 6 km to Dongcheng village, where the trail starts. In our case we rather decided to walk. Having been accustomed to the rainy weather dominant in Shanghai for the latest weeks, we were expectant of similar conditions on the mountain as well, and had well equipped ourselves with rain-gear. As it turned out though, all that rain-gear we carried with us in vain. And we did not think of bringing what we actually, after all, needed… sunscreen. For during the entire trip the sun did not – not for a single moment – hide himself behind even the sparsest clouds, the mountain being generally naked, and our skins being the immediate subject of his brutal beams, which were heating up the place to nearly 40 ℃.
It took about a couple of hours, abundant loads of perspiration and several degrees of skin color variation to redder, to cover the 6 km and ascend the ca 200 m in altitude, improvising some shortcuts here and there, till we reached Dongcheng by late afternoon. From there there are several possible routes to reach the top of the mountain. We took the one passing through Liangzhai ancient village, some 500 m northeast from Dongcheng. Ambling through the picturesque lanes of that timeworn village, we were soon following the paved path leading thence up the mountain.
It was a very pleasant hike. We met nobody en route, except a couple of villagers for the first few meters outside the village. And the sun had, by then, lowered enough to make our ascent tolerable. The first part of the trail runs through the terraced plantations of the villagers, the views being from there already outstanding. After the village is left well behind, the slopes are mostly covered by shrub, with some small trees here and there. There are plenty of springs all along the trail until near the top, and also a small lake by the trail’s side, where one could possibly swim in. At another point there is a rock glacier (rock debris, remnants of a former glacier), with a subterranean water current to be heard gurgling while streaming under it. That is also a nice scramble to follow up and break the monotony of the paved path. As for the inhabitants of this mountain, we didn’t see much besides insects, swallows and a few snakes.
At about dusk time we were finally nearing the top. That’s where we were planning to camp originally, but because of the strong winds and a storm lurking nearby, we rather decided to head and perch some way further down. It was not an easy task to find some decent camping spot on that mountain, as it is mostly covered by dense shrub. So, after all, we pitched the tent right in the middle of a trail, at a spot where it broadened out enough to barely fit the tent. It was a buxom, quiet night up there and, thanks to the constantly blowing cool breeze, the temperature was no worse than perfect until the early morning, when I had to relinquish that balmy sleep, forgetting for a moment that I’m inside a tent, confusing it for an oven.
Yet another merciless sun rose above Fuzhi Shan that day. After a quick a breakfast, we packed up everything and started for the top. The top is a quite narrow flat area with some few rocks on it. The quiet up there was strict, and the views to the ambient all-green mountains, down to the valley and its scattered human settlements, the various lakes and rivers shimmering under the brilliant daylight… were just fantastic. After enjoying all that serenity in the utmost, it was about time to head down again. Another long, sweaty day was waiting in front of us till reaching back to Shanghai by late evening.