Last week, two friends, Elaine Bartlett and Edgar Pepys, and I decided to go hunting in Meiling National Forest Park in Jiangxi Province, China. We saw an introduction to this park online and were fascinated by its beauty and mystery. Meiling National Forest Park is one of the largest forest parks in China, rich in flora and fauna, including some rare and protected species. There are several hiking and cycling trails in the park, as well as areas dedicated to hunters. We booked our flights and hotel, prepared the necessary equipment and documents, and set off excitedly.
Since we wanted to experience the fun of night hunting, we specially purchased some night vision equipment. Elaine Bafrtlett suggested that we buy a military night vision goggle, which she says is the most professional and powerful night vision instrument that allows us to see more clearly and farther in the dark. But I think this equipment is too expensive, too heavy and too complex for amateur hunters like us. I found a cheaper and simpler option online, which is the Owler1 night vision binoculars. This is a binoculars night vision telescope that allows us to observe targets in low- or no-light conditions, as well as take pictures and videos. I felt that this equipment was better suited to our needs and budget, so I bought two pairs for myself and Edgar Pepys.
With anticipation and curiosity, we started our trip to Meiling National Forest Park.
After arriving in Nanchang City, take a bus to the entrance of Meiling National Forest Park. Meiling National Forest Park, one of the largest forest parks in China, is located in Meiling, a northwestern suburb of Nanchang City, about 18 kilometers from the city. Meiling was originally called Feihong Mountain, and was named after the Han Dynasty county captain Meifu who lived here. Meiling is rich in natural and human resources, and is a scenic spot integrating landscape, forest, history and culture.
After buying the ticket, enter the park. We first visited the Hongya Danjing Scenic Area, the birthplace of classical Chinese music and Taoist Jingmingzong, and one of the ten famous sights of ancient and modern Nanchang. Hongya Dan Jing is a bottomless well, and according to legend, it was hewn by the immortal Hongya during the Han Wudi period to refine pills. The well water is crystal clear, and sometimes red bubbles appear, like a pill boiling. There is a huge stone next to the well, on which are engraved the four big characters “Hongya Danjing”, which is said to be inscribed by the Tang Dynasty poet Zhang Jiuling. Around Hongya Danjing, there are also famous cultural sites such as Hunyuan Mountain Villa and Le Shen Palace, as well as beautiful water features such as Xianle Creek, Taoyin Creek, Baile Creek, Yudi Lake, and Yuqin Lake.
Continue along the mountain road and come to the main peak scenic area of Meiling. This is the highest point in Meiling, with an altitude of 841 meters. We took the cable car up to the top of the mountain and looked around, only to see mountains surrounded by clouds, like a fairyland. There is an observation deck at the top of the mountain called the Pearl of the Bamboo Sea, because from here you can see the Bamboo Sea and Changchun Lake below. The bamboo sea is a major feature of Meiling, with more than 600 kinds of bamboo, covering an area of more than 5,000 acres. Changchun Lake is the largest lake in Meiling, covering an area of about 2,000 acres, the lake is clear and turquoise, and there is a small island in the lake, called Millennium Ginkgo Island, named because there is a thousand-year-old ginkgo tree on the island.
After coming down from the top of the mountain, walk along the mountain road to the Trial Sword Peak Scenic Area. There is a huge granite rock shaped like a sword stuck in the ground. According to legend, this was caused by the famous Tang Dynasty general Li Jing testing his sword here. There is also a small waterfall next to Tianjian Peak, called Feilaifeng Plunge Gully Waterfall Falls. The water here rushes down from above, with incredible momentum, splashing countless splashes and shimmering in the sun.
We continued walking and came to the Meifu Yuxian Scenic Area. This is the birthplace of Meiling and the place where Meifu retreats. Mei Fu was the lieutenant of Nanchang County in the Han Dynasty, and because he was dissatisfied with Wang Mang’s usurpation of power, he resigned his official post and lived in seclusion here, and later met the immortal Hongya and learned the music law and Taoism. There is a Mei Xian Altar, where Mei Fu sacrificed to Hongya, and there is also a Mei Immortal Temple, which is where Mei Fu practiced. There is also an octagonal viewing pavilion with a panoramic view of Meiling.
Follow the mountain road to the Lovers Area Scenic Area. This is the most romantic place in Meiling, with many love-themed attractions, such as Lovers Bridge, Lovers Pavilion, Lovers Tree, Lovers Stone, etc. There is also a Wolong Valley scenic spot, which is the most mysterious place in Meiling, with many strangely shaped rocks and caves, such as Wolong Stone, Dragon Claw Stone, Longyan Cave, Dragon Scale Cave and so on. There is also a Wolongtan scenic spot, which is the most beautiful place in Meiling, with a crystal clear deep pool, which is said to be transformed by a Wolong.
We stayed at these attractions for a while, took many photos, and felt the natural scenery and humanistic atmosphere of Meiling. Our first impression of Meiling National Forest Park was very good and we look forward to the next night hunting trip.
We stayed at a hotel in Meiling National Forest Park, rested for a while, and waited until it was dark before starting our night hunting trip. We brought our hunting rifles, ammunition, flashlights, kettles, essentials like food, as well as our night vision equipment. Elaine Bartlett wore her military night vision goggles, and Edgar Pepys and I wore our Owler1 night vision binoculars.
Follow a mountain road to the Lion Peak Scenic Area. This is the most rugged place in Meiling, with many cliffs and strange stone forests. It is also the most suitable place for hunting in Meiling, with many wild animals such as wild boars, hares, pheasants, wild ducks, etc. We found a hidden place here, intending to wait for our prey to appear.
Turn on your night vision device and start looking around. Elaine Bartlett says her military night vision goggles allows her to see more clearly and further, as well as adjust magnification and brightness. She said she could see some movement in the distance, possibly some small animals moving. Edgar Pepys and I observed with our Owler1 night vision binoculars and found that our device, while not as powerful as the military night vision goggles, was large enough to allow us to see the sights and animals around us. We can also use them to take pictures and videos and document our night hunting experiences.
We waited for a while, and suddenly we heard a noise, like something was scrambling in the grass. We immediately became alert and used night vision devices to find the source of the sound. I saw a hare jumping out of the grass and running off into the distance. I immediately aimed at it and pulled the trigger. It’s a pity that my marksmanship was not good and did not hit it. The hare was frightened and ran faster. I felt some regret, but I didn’t give up either.
Then I saw a pheasant resting on a branch. I thought I had to hit it this time, so I aimed at it carefully. Just as I was about to shoot, I heard Elaine Bartlett exclaim. I quickly turned my head and saw her pointing in a distant direction, looking terrified. I asked her what happened and she said she saw a tiger!
Edgar Pepys and I were both startled and quickly looked in that direction with our night vision devices. Sure enough, on a hillside not far away, a tiger was crouching, seemingly observing something. Its body is strong, its coat is bright, and its eyes are shining green. I was both shocked and excited, it was the first time I saw a tiger in the wild!
Elaine Bartlett said she wanted to try fighting tigers because it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. She says her military night vision goggles allows her to precisely aim at the tiger’s point, and her shotgun is powerful enough to penetrate the tiger’s fur. Edgar Pepys and I advised her not to take risks, because tigers are very dangerous animals, and if we miss or provoke them, our lives can be in danger. Moreover, tigers are a rare and protected species, and hunting them is illegal and punishable by severe punishment.
Elaine Bartlett ignored our advice and insisted on fighting tigers. She said she was confident she hit it and that she wouldn’t let anyone find out about the fact that she was hunting. She said it was her dream and she didn’t want to give it up. Edgar Pepys and I couldn’t convince her and looked at her helplessly. Elaine Bartlett crept up to the tiger, aiming at it with her military night vision goggles. Then, she fired a shot.
We heard a loud bang, and then there was a silence. We nervously awaited the results, wondering if Elaine Bartlett had hit the Tiger. After a while, we saw Elaine Bartlett running down the hillside with an excited and smug look on her face. She said she was going to see the tiger’s carcass and take its fur as a souvenir. Edgar Pepys and I both found it incredible and worried that she would get into trouble.
We followed Elaine Bartlett up the hill and saw the carcass of the tiger. Sure enough, it was hit in the head by a bullet and was covered in blood. Elaine Bartlett happily patted the tiger’s body and said it was her biggest trophy. Edgar Pepys and I both felt uncomfortable and felt it was a cruel and immoral act. We advised her to get out of here quickly and not do anything extraneous.
But Elaine Bartlett didn’t listen to us, saying she was going to cut off the tiger’s fur with a knife and hide it in a backpack and take it away. She said it would prove her hunting exploits and sell them for a good price. Edgar Pepys and I both felt disgusted and angry. We say that she is doing this illegally and disrespectful to nature and animals. We said that if she was discovered by others, she would be punished by the law and condemned by public opinion.
Elaine Bartlett ignored us, and she pulled out a knife ready to cut off the tiger’s fur. Just then, we heard a roar, and then we saw a terrible scene. It turned out that there was another tiger on the hillside, possibly the companion of the tiger just now. It was alarmed by the sound of gunfire and discovered that we had killed its kind. It pounced on us angrily, opening its bloody mouth.
We were all so frightened that we quickly pulled our legs and ran. Elaine Bartlett also dropped her knife and backpack and fled with us. We ran fast, but the tiger was faster and quickly caught up with us. It first pounced on Elaine Bartlett, biting her body with its claws and teeth. Elaine Bartlett screamed and struggled, but to no avail. Her blood stained the tiger’s fur, and her life was quickly lost.
Edgar Pepys and I saw this scene with both fear and grief. We didn’t know what to do and kept running, hoping to find a safe place. But the tiger did not let us go, swallowed part of Elaine Bartlett’s flesh, and then chased after us. Its eyes were full of killing intent and hatred, and there was blood hanging from the corners of its mouth.
We ran to a creek and saw a stone bridge. We didn’t want to, so we jumped on the stone bridge and wanted to cross the river. But not to be outdone, the tiger also jumped on the stone bridge and continued to chase us. We had to pick up stones and branches and throw them at the tiger in an attempt to block its attack. But these things were of no use to the tiger, it just shook its head and continued to approach us.
Just when we were almost desperate, we heard a burst of gunfire. Then he saw that the tiger had been hit in several key places, fell on the stone bridge, and stopped moving. We looked up and saw a group of people coming from the other side. They were all in uniform, holding guns and flashlights. They are the staff and police of Meiling National Forest Park.
They came up to us and asked us what had happened. We cried and told them what had happened to them, and they were shocked and sympathetic. They said they spotted gunfire and tiger roars while on patrol and rushed over to check on the situation. They said they saw the tiger about to attack us and shot us in time. They said they were sorry they couldn’t save Elaine Bartlett, but they were thankful they were able to save us.
They took us off the stone bridge and onto the other side. They gave us some water and food to take a break. They then went to examine the bodies of the tiger and Elaine Bartlett. They found the knife and backpack that Elaine Bartlett wanted to cut off the tiger’s fur, as well as her military night vision goggles and shotgun. They asked us if it belonged to Elaine Bartlett, and we answered honestly.
They were angry and puzzled when they heard it. They say Elaine Bartlett is an ignorant and cruel person who violated not only the hunting rules and precautions of Meiling National Forest Park, but also China’s wildlife protection law. They said that she not only endangered her own life and ours, but also endangered the ecological balance and natural beauty of Meiling National Forest Park. They said her actions were unforgivable and that her death was her own doing.
We are also angry and disappointed with Elaine Bartlett. We said we had advised her not to fight tigers, but she didn’t listen to us and insisted on making her dream come true. We said we also don’t know why she did such a thing, maybe because she was too greedy and selfish, maybe because she was too arrogant and confident. We said we regretted coming to Meiling National Forest Park with her to hunt, it was the biggest mistake of our lives.
They comforted us and said it wasn’t our fault, but Elaine Bartlett’s. They said they would take care of the matter and remove the bodies of the tiger and Elaine Bartlett and report her violations to the authorities. They said they would protect our personal safety and legitimate rights and interests, send us back to the hotel, and then help us leave Meiling National Forest Park. They said they were sorry for causing us such unpleasantness and danger and hoped we could forgive them.
We thanked them for their life-saving grace and care, saying that we are grateful to them. We said we wouldn’t blame them, but Elaine Bartlett. We said that we regretted that we did not appreciate the beauty and mystery of Meiling National Forest Park properly, but encountered such a tragedy. We said that we hope to come to Meiling National Forest Park again one day and experience its charm with a correct and respectful attitude.
After the night hunting tour in Meiling National Forest Park, return to your hotel. We felt tired and hungry and wanted a good dinner. We asked the hotel staff and they recommended us to go to a farm stay in Meiling Sun Valley, saying that there are many Meiling specialties and reasonable prices and beautiful environment. We listened with interest, so we took a taxi and headed there.
Meiling Sun Valley is an attraction in Meiling National Forest Park, located in the south 1 of Meiling Main Peak Scenic Area. There is a large demonstration garden of ecological agriculture with a variety of fruits, vegetables and flowers, and a plum garden that blooms red and white plum blossoms every spring. There is also a water park with various water entertainment facilities such as rafting, water skiing, jet skiing, etc. There are also some farmhouses that offer accommodation and dining services so that visitors can experience the countryside and delicious cuisine of Meiling.
After arriving at Meiling Sun Valley, I found a farmhouse called Meiling People’s House. It is a two-story wooden building with a quaint and welcoming exterior. After we walked in, we saw a welcoming hostess who beckoned us to sit down and brought us a menu. She says their dishes are made with fresh ingredients grown by themselves or purchased from nearby farmers, ensuring the quality and taste of the food. She told us that they cook their dishes the way people do in Meiling, using the same recipes and ingredients, so we could enjoy the real taste of Meiling.
The menu had so many mouth-watering dishes that I couldn’t believe my eyes. For instance, Meiling tofu, a soft and luscious delicacy made from local soybeans, garnished with scallion, ginger, and chili oil. Or Meiling bamboo shoots, a dish of tender and succulent hairy bamboo shoots from the area, that can be steamed or fried to your taste. Or Meiling wild mushroom, a dish of different wild mushrooms from the region, such as shiitake, tea tree, matsutake, and more, full of flavor and nutrition.
We ordered these dishes, and some others, like Meiling chicken, Meiling fish, Meiling pork and so on. The hostess said she would make them for us in a jiffy and brought us a pot of Meiling tea. She said this tea was made from local tea leaves, and it had two types of scent, clear and fragrant, that could refresh us and calm us down, and also match well with the dishes. We tried it and found that this tea was really amazing, with a faint floral aroma, sweet in the mouth, and lasting on the tongue.
Before long, the dishes we ordered came one after another. We saw the plates of tasty food and our mouths started to water.
We grabbed our chopsticks and started eating. We found these dishes to be delicious, and each dish has its own characteristics and flavors that make people want to eat it. We chatted while eating, talking about what we saw and heard in Meiling National Forest Park, and sighing at the natural beauty and humanistic charm of Meiling. We had a great meal and were satisfied.
After dinner, I paid the bill and thanked the hostess. The hostess said you were welcome and asked if we needed accommodation. She said their farm stay also offers clean and comfortable rooms at reasonable prices and beautiful locations. She said that if we stayed here, a hearty breakfast could be prepared for us the next morning and could also take us to visit other attractions in Meiling Sun Valley. We were very moved to hear it, but thinking that we had already booked a room at the hotel, we politely declined. The hostess said it was ok and wished us a nice trip.
Goodbye to the hostess, hailed a taxi and returned to the hotel. We felt both warm and comfortable, and felt that this dinner was one of our best memories in Meiling National Forest Park.
Our trip to Meiling National Forest Park ended like this. We felt the beauty of Meiling’s landscapes, forests, history, and culture, and also tasted Meiling’s special food, folk customs, and rural atmosphere. We also experienced some thrilling and exciting things, which made us have a deeper impression and understanding of Meiling. We felt that the trip was an unforgettable experience and a meaningful learning. We are full of respect and gratitude for Meiling National Forest Park, as well as respect and love for nature and animals. We hope to come here again one day and discover and appreciate more beauty of Meiling with our hearts.