The right trail--The summit of the mountain--The altitude-- A wooden shrine--Images of Buddha--"Wishes"--The panorama--Mount Show-ho-ling and its giant neighbour--Over- hanging a precipice--On a wooden platform--An unsteady path--A hard jump--The Mongol guide and the gods--Gilt Buddhas--Another difficulty surmounted--An attempt to blackmail--Armed bonzes--Parting friends.
THIS time the old Mongol put me on the right trail, and as he was such a slow walker I again started off alone. I made him give me my oil-colour paint-box, which he had been carrying for me; and with it, following a comparatively easy but steep track, I first reached a small but solidly- built shed, and then, climbing up the steeper and fairly dangerous part of the track, finally reached the summit of the highest peak. I said "fairly dangerous," for the last few yards before one reached the top of the pinnacle were not more than a foot wide, and on either side was a precipice, the bottom of which one could hardly see. In other words, the performance for those few yards was not unlike tight- rope walking, only with a drop of several thousand feet on both sides of you had you missed your footing. The altitude of the mountain was 12,000 feet.
The pinnacle of the great Siao-ou-tai-shan was a huge rock, on the top of which, no larger than about ten feet