Day 11: The Xitou Nature Education Area

by Theresa

Today was a day to take off the bucket list!

The Xitou Nature Education Area is similar to what we might call a National or State Park in the U.S., and we spent 5+ hours hiking and enjoying the fresh air. Please head over to the official website. It’s small but gives a great overview of everything I saw today. 

First thing’s first, though: breakfast! The whole group got another dose of that delicious bread from our trip last weekend! Such a sweet reunion.

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And now on to more important matters.

This is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. I spent time throughout the day with different groups of people, and we all made it a point to see the sites that were most important to each of us.  After all, this could be the trip of a lifetime (although I certainly hope it’s not!).

I personally saw the Rainbow Bridge, the Giant Tree, the Giant Rock, the Astronomical Observatory, and the Skywalk.  Overall, we hiked maybe 8 miles to see everything, over roughly 5 hours.

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I was especially excited about our unique lunch today. It’s called bamboo rice–rice, seasonings, boiled peanuts, and meat, cooked inside a shoot of bamboo, which is then cracked open for you to eat from.

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The whole park was one big difficult hike, but taking this shortcut trail to the observatory was out-of-this-world hard! It was 910 meters in distance (0.56 miles), heading directly to the top of the mountain.  There were points where the stairs were practically vertical.

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The view at the top was completely worth it, and we couldn’t believe that we were actually inside of the clouds!

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The best part of the day was during our hike down when we passed a troop of wild monkeys!!! There were at least 5 of them playing in the trees to the side of our trail. I’m surprised we didn’t scare them away with all of our shrieks of excitement.

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We finished the day with dinner at the dumpling restaurant–same place that delivered our lunch the other day. I ordered the same vegetable dumplings but also shared a dish of steamed vegetable dumpling rolls. I can’t tell you exactly what the difference is, other than shape, but they were both delicious!

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Stopped at another bakery on the way home to pick up dessert and some bread for the morning!

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So that was my blessing of a bucket list day! I can’t believe I climbed a mountain, played in the clouds, and saw wild monkeys.

Have you ever thought about your bucket list? What are some of the most important things that you have to do?

Let me know in the comments below!