I and Stanley, David, Greg, Mary are good friends from college. We all love nature and adventure, and often go to the wild to explore and hunt. After graduation, we went on different paths, some went abroad to work, some stayed in China to start a business, some got married and had children. Although we keep in touch from time to time by phone or internet, we haven’t seen each other for a long time.
Last month, we finally had a rare opportunity to get together again and complete a hunting trip that we had always dreamed of. We chose Lumen Temple National Forest Park in Xiangyang, Hubei, China as our destination, because it is one of the most beautiful forest parks in China, with rich ecological resources and diverse wildlife. We wanted to experience a different night hunting than before, and feel the excitement and challenge in the dark.
For this trip, we prepared a lot of equipment, the most important of which are night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. Night vision binoculars can let us see the distant scenery and animals at night, and infrared binoculars can let us detect the body temperature and position of animals by infrared rays. These two equipments are essential for night hunting, they can make us easier to find and track prey, and also make us safer to avoid danger.
This is the beginning of our hunting trip. Next, I will tell you in detail about our night adventure in Lumen Temple National Forest Park, and how we enjoyed the local food. I hope you can feel our friendship and memories with me.
Our journey started from Xiangyang City. We took a rented minibus and drove along the east bank of the Han River towards Lumen Temple National Forest Park. Along the way, we admired the history and culture of Xiangyang, and felt the charm of this ancient city. We passed by the famous Longzhong Scenic Area, and saw Zhuge Liang’s thatched cottage and temple from a distance, imagining the heroic stories of the Three Kingdoms period. We also saw the sandbanks and ferries on the Han River, and heard that they were once ancient military sites and trade centers, as well as places where many literati visited.
About an hour later, we arrived at the ticket office of Lumen Temple National Forest Park. We bought tickets and parking fees, and then drove into the park. As soon as we entered the park, we felt a fresh air and a green scene. We saw the iconic building of the park – Lumen Gate Archway, which was engraved with six characters “Lumen Temple National Forest Park”. We got off the car and took a few photos, then continued on.
There is a ring road in the park that leads to various attractions. We drove along the road, enjoying the mountains and forests on both sides. We saw ancient sites such as Lumen Temple, Octagonal Well, Tianjing, Baoyu Pool, Longtou Pool, etc., as well as cultural landscapes such as Pang Gong Pharmaceutical Cave, Kong Ming Worship Master Hall, Meng Haoran Memorial Garden, etc. We also saw various wild animals and plants, such as wild boars, wild sheep, roe deer, woodpeckers, owls, gray sparrows, etc. We stopped from time to time to observe their habits and features with night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars.
At the end of the road, we reached the top of Lumen Mountain. Lumen Mountain is the highest peak in the park, with an altitude of 371.7 meters. From the top of the mountain, you can overlook the whole park and the surrounding scenery. We saw the Han River shimmering with silver light in the sun, we saw the skyscrapers and ancient city walls of Xiangyang City, we saw the thatched cottage and temple of Longzhong Scenic Area, we saw Xianglu Mountain, Shizi Mountain, Bawang Mountain, Lijia Mountain and other four peaks. We marveled at the natural beauty and cultural history of this place, and also felt excited and eager for the night hunting that was about to begin.
After sunset, the scenery in the park became more mysterious and charming. We had a simple dinner on the top of the mountain, then picked up our guns and equipment, ready to start our night hunting. We put on camouflage clothes and headlights, backpacks and water bottles, night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars in our hands, like an elite special force, walking down the mountain.
We walked down the road, using night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars to search for animals around us from time to time. Night vision binoculars can let us see the distant scenery and animals in the dark, and infrared binoculars can let us detect the body temperature and position of animals by infrared rays. These two equipments are essential for night hunting, they can make us easier to find and track prey, and also make us safer to avoid danger.
Soon, we found our first target – a wild boar. It was hiding behind a big tree, using its nose to flip over the leaves and soil on the ground, looking for food. We used infrared binoculars to confirm its position and direction, then quietly approached it. When we were about ten meters away from it, we stopped and found a suitable shooting position. I signaled to Stanley to shoot first. Stanley nodded, aimed steadily at the wild boar’s head, then pulled the trigger. A gunshot sounded, and the wild boar fell to the ground without any struggle.
We ran over happily and checked the wild boar’s condition. It was dead, without any extra damage. We tied it up with a rope and hung it on a tree branch, then moved on.
In the next few hours, we met several wild sheep, roe deer and grass deer. Some we successfully shot down, some escaped. Every hunt was a tense and exciting battle that required our teamwork and friendship, as well as our courage and wisdom. We helped each other, encouraged each other, guided each other, praised each other, and harvested results in happiness.
Of course, hunting was not smooth sailing either. Once we were almost betrayed by a woodpecker. The woodpecker was perched on a tree, pecking at the trunk incessantly, making a crackling sound. We thought it was looking for bugs to eat, and didn’t pay attention to it. Who knew it was actually warning nearby animals of our presence. By the time we realized this fact, several grass deer had run out of the woods and fled to the distance. We quickly picked up our guns and tried to shoot them, but it was too late. The woodpecker was still laughing at us, making us very angry.
Another time, we were almost scared by an owl. The owl was hanging on a tree, staring at us with its round eyes. We saw it with night vision binoculars and thought it was a prey, so we wanted to shoot it. But when we got close to it, it suddenly made a sharp scream, then spread its huge wings and flew towards us. We were startled and quickly dodged its attack. We found out that it was protecting its nest and chicks, so we didn’t bother it anymore and went around it.
Such experiences made us more respectful and respectful of the animals and nature here, and also made us more cherish and enjoy the adventure and fun here. In the process of night hunting, we not only harvested prey, but also gained knowledge and experience.
After a night of hunting, we harvested a lot of prey, but also consumed a lot of physical strength. We returned to our booked hotel, ready to take a good rest. We handed over the prey to the hotel’s chef, and asked them to help us deal with and cook. We decided to use our prey to taste the local food, and also celebrate our reunion and success.
The hotel’s chef quickly prepared a table of delicious dishes for us. We saw the fragrant beef noodles, crispy and delicious jingangsu, spicy and tempting Yicheng crayfish, refreshing and appetizing pickled beef tripe silk, colorful and delicious Yicheng plate duck and so on. We also saw our own hunted wild boar meat, wild sheep meat, roe deer meat and grass deer meat, which were skillfully made into various delicious dishes by the chefs, such as braised, fried, stewed soup, marinated and so on. We were drooling and couldn’t help praising the chefs’ skills.
We sat together and began to enjoy this rare feast. We ate and chatted, sharing our lives and work, recalling the interesting stories and insights of college days, feeling each other’s friendship and warmth. We also tasted the local specialty drinks, such as Xiangyang night pot oil tea, Zaoyang sour juice noodles, Xiangyang chan ti and so on. We found that these foods and drinks have a strong local characteristics and flavor, which opened our eyes and also satisfied our appetite.
In this meal, we not only satisfied our taste buds and stomachs, but also satisfied our souls and emotions. We thanked the local people for their enthusiasm and friendliness, and also thanked Chinese culture for their education and enlightenment. We felt that this trip was an unforgettable experience and a rare opportunity.
Our hunting trip ended like this. We packed up our luggage and equipment, ready to leave Lumen Temple National Forest Park. We reviewed our experiences and feelings here, feeling that this was a very meaningful and memorable trip. We not only experienced the excitement and fun of night hunting, but also tasted the local food and culture. We not only harvested prey and knowledge, but also harvested friendship and memories.
We hugged each other, blessed each other, said goodbye. We knew that this might be the last time we met, because we each have different lives and work, maybe we will never have the opportunity to get together like this again. But we also knew that no matter where we are, no matter what difficulties and challenges we face, we will always remember each other, always support each other, always cherish each other. Friendship is like stars, though far away they do not fade; life is like hunting, you need to pursue bravely. This is our motto, also our belief. We believe that as long as we stick to our dreams and goals, as long as we keep our passion and adventure, as long as we have our friends and family, we can create our own wonderfulness happiness. This is our story，also our life.