Heroics on Mount Tai

I'm on the left of this picture taken in July, 1990.


I was looking through some pictures yesterday when I came across the one above.  That picture was taken in 1990 at Tai Shan (Mount Tai) in China.  I was in China as part of an exchange  program between a Chinese university and Heidelberg College, the college at which I was teaching.

I had forgotten about the waterfall in the background — I guess I can’t add it to our waterfall ‘collection’ since I didn’t know Betsy back then.  The young man on the right is ‘Joe’, our guide from the Foreign Affairs Office of Tianjin Normal University.  The other two men are colleagues of mine — Richard Cordell taught Chemistry at Heidelberg while Mel Cassler taught Mathematics.  I taught Computer Science.

Our hosts had taken us to visit Mount Tai in Shandong Province.  Mount Tai is one of five sacred mountains in China, and is often called the “First Mountain Under Heaven”.  For most of China’s recorded history emperors went to Mount Tai to hold ceremonies of worship to the gods of heaven and earth.  The mountain contains 22 temples, over 100 other buildings and more than 1800 carved stones.  It’s an area rich in cultural history and is listed  as both a world natural and cultural heritage by UNESCO.

We were taken about half-way up the mountain to Mid-Heaven Gate, where we caught a cable-car to the top of the mountain.  While we were at the  top, ‘Joe’ asked if anyone would like to walk down the mountain to the bus rather than take the cable-car back.  He said if we made it down the 5,000+ stairs we would be made ‘Heroes of the Peoples Republic’.

All the younger members of our group declined “Joe’s” offer, but Richard, Mel and I took him up on it.  The picture above was taken after we got back down to the bus.

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