My friend and I had spent the better part of a day climbing Qingcheng Shan, a UNESCO World Heritage mountain that was a cradle for Taoism. The mountain is host to dozens of temples and monasteries, and we started our trek in drizzly weather only to have the clouds clear as we got to the summit, to look out over a fantastic atmospheric set of mountain valleys.
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Morning in a Monastery
While trekking around Qingcheng Shan, we opted to sleep overnight in a monastery known as Shanqing Palace. Our hosts didn't know any English and our Mandarin was hilariously primitive, but we got by with pantomime, humility and discreetly watching the staff and following their lead as they prepared their morning breakfast of congee and pickled vegetables.