I and Genevieve Gardner, Malcolm Josh are college classmates, we are all nature and adventure lovers. After graduation, we went our separate ways and never saw each other again. Last month, we finally had a chance to reunite, and we agreed to go hunting together in Hefei Dongan Forest Park in China. Why chooses this place? Because we have heard that this is one of the largest forest parks in China, with rich wildlife resources, and a paradise for hunting enthusiasts. Moreover, we also want to experience the thrill and mystery of the night in the forest. We prepared professional equipment, including night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, which are essential tools for night hunting. We look forward to this night hunting trip, hoping to get close to nature and also to reminisce with old friends.
We chose to go hunting in Hefei Dongan Forest Park because it is one of the largest forest parks in China, covering an area of 1,000 acres, with a forest coverage rate of 98%, more than 250 kinds of plants, and more than 100 kinds of wild animals. The mountains here are undulating, the ravines are crisscrossed, the streams are gurgling, the forests are deep and leafy, and the birds are fragrant. Here not only has beautiful natural scenery, but also many historical and cultural relics, such as the tomb of Zhang Wenzhong, a anti-Japanese general, and Yuantong Zen Temple. This is a mountain and water health resort type forest park that integrates health vacation, popular science education, fitness and leisure, and cultural experience.
Our hunting target is the wildlife here, such as wild boars, gray magpies, owls, etc. In order to better observe and track them at night, we prepared two professional equipment: night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars.
Night vision binoculars are a kind of night vision device that can use weak ambient light (such as moonlight, starlight, etc.) to amplify and display images. It has two eyepieces that can observe the images of both eyes at the same time, improving the sense of stereo and comfort. Its advantage is that it can see the real colors and details, rather than monochrome or false color images. Its disadvantage is that it requires a certain amount of ambient light to work. If there is no light source at all, it cannot be used.
Infrared binoculars are a kind of infrared device that can use thermal radiation to detect and display images. It has an infrared emitter and an infrared receiver that can emit and receive infrared wavelength light. It can distinguish different colors and brightness according to the surface temperature of the object. Its advantage is that it can work in complete darkness without being discovered by people or animals. Its disadvantage is that it cannot see clear details and contours, only fuzzy thermal images.
This two equipment have their own advantages and disadvantages. We use them flexibly according to different situations. We hope to enjoy the fun of hunting at night with their help.
We stayed in Hefei for one night. The next evening, we drove to Dongan Forest Park. We booked a professional guide online in advance. He took us into the core area of the park, which is the best place for hunting. We carried night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars with us, as well as some necessary weapons and ammunition.
Night fell, and the forest was pitch-black. We turned on our night vision binoculars, and they immediately let us see some faint light. We spotted some twinkling eyes, which were some small animals watching us. We tried to get closer to them, but they quickly ran away. We continued to walk forward, looking for bigger prey.
Suddenly, we heard a loud noise, like something had fallen. We quickly switched to infrared binoculars, and they let us see some red and yellow spots. We found a huge figure, which was a wild boar. It seemed to have been scared by something, and fell to the ground. We immediately rushed over, hoping to catch this opportunity.
But when we got close to the wild boar, we found that it was not dead, but was struggling to stand up. It noticed us, and let out an angry roar. It opened its big mouth, and charged at us. We were terrified, and quickly grabbed our guns and fired at it. But in the dark, it was hard to aim at its vital points. We could only try to hit its body, hoping to make it stop.
Just then, the guide came from behind. He had a hunting knife, and ran to the side of the wild boar, stabbing it in the throat. The wild boar let out a final scream, and fell to the ground. The guide patted his chest, and said: “Are you okay? This guy is really tough.” We looked at him gratefully, and said: “Thank you! You saved us.” The guide smiled, and said: “You’re welcome! This is my job.” He dragged the wild boar aside, and said: “Congratulations! This is your first trophy.”
We hugged each other happily, feeling like brave hunters. We took photos of the wild boar with our phones, and used infrared binoculars to check if there were any other animals around. The guide told us that there were many other wild animals here, such as magpies, owls, etc. He said: “If you want to continue hunting, I can take you to a deeper place.” We excitedly said: “Yes! Let’s go on!” So, we started a new round of night hunting.
After hunting, we were all hungry. We decided to try some of the local specialties of Hefei, and experience the flavor of Anhui. We searched online, and found some recommendations for Hefei’s cuisine. We chose a few dishes that we wanted to try according to our preferences, and then found a restaurant with good reviews.
We ordered the following dishes:
• Stinky mandarin fish: This is one of the representative delicacies of Anhui cuisine, which smells stinky but tastes fragrant. To make it, the mandarin fish is marinated in brine for six or seven days, then fried lightly in a pot after the fish body emits a stinky smell, and then braised with various seasonings. This dish has a finer and more delicious texture than ordinary fish, and the braising method is unique, very delicious.
• Hairy tofu: This is one of the traditional snacks in Hefei, which is a kind of tofu made from soybeans and lime water. It has a gray-white appearance, a fluffy texture on the surface, and a soft and smooth taste. It can be cooked in different ways, such as cold dressing, stir-frying, frying, boiling, etc. We chose the most common cold-dressed hairy tofu, seasoned with garlic, chili oil, vinegar, salt, etc., which tastes refreshing and appetizing.
• Baked cake and fried dough stick: This is the king of breakfast in Hefei, and also the most popular food sold by Luzhou Roast Duck Restaurant. The baked cake is oval-shaped, with layers of crispy skin, stuffed with scallions and duck oil, and bites with a fragrant and crispy taste. The fried dough stick is a golden-yellow strip-shaped pastry, with a crispy skin and a soft interior. They are paired together and eaten, very delicious.
• Li Hongzhang’s hodgepodge: This is a classic Anhui dish named by Li Hongzhang himself. It uses chicken, sea cucumber and other ingredients to cook together, with a rich taste and aroma. This dish implies “mixed but not chaotic”, symbolizing harmony and unity.
We chatted while eating, sharing our hunting experiences and feelings. We also recalled the fun and friendship of our college days, feeling the passage of time. We also talked about our current work and life, wishing and encouraging each other. We found that although we are separated by two places, our friendship has not faded, but we cherish each other more.
We ate very happily and satisfactorily. We felt that Hefei’s food was not only delicious, but also rich in characteristics and culture. We also had a deeper and more fond impression of Hefei. We agreed to come to Hefei again next time and continue to explore the local customs here.
The night hunting trip ended like this. We felt that this was an unforgettable experience that made us feel the charm and challenge of nature, and also let us relive the friendship and happiness of our college days. We are very grateful for the help and guidance of the guide, so that we can safely complete this adventure. We are also very grateful for Hefei’s food and style, which allows us to enjoy a hearty dinner and a wonderful memory.