Julius Mac, Merry Freeman and I are good friends from college. We studied computer science together at a famous university in the United States, participated in many interesting projects and competitions, helped each other, learned from each other, and grew together. After graduation, we chose different career paths. Julius Mac went to an artificial intelligence company in Silicon Valley, Merry Freeman went to a financial company in New York, and I stayed at a university in California to continue my studies. Although we kept in touch through the internet, we hadn’t seen each other for years, and every time we wanted to meet up, we couldn’t because of various reasons.
Last month, we finally had a rare opportunity. Julius Mac’s company sent him to China to attend an international conference, Merry Freeman’s company also asked her to go to China to investigate a project, and I happened to have a collaborative project that required me to go to China for exchange. We agreed to take this opportunity to meet up in Yongzhou, Hunan Province, China and go hunting at night in Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, where we could experience the mysteries of the forest at night. We are all nature and adventure lovers, and hunting was our common hobby in college. We had participated in night hunting activities in many national parks and nature reserves in the United States, and felt the thrill and excitement of the dark. This time we chose Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park because it is one of the largest forest parks in China, with rich biodiversity and unique landscape features. It is an ideal hunting destination. To better carry out night hunting activities, we prepared night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. This equipment can allow us to see the shape and position of animals and plants in the dark, without disturbing or harming them.
This was a reunion trip, as well as an adventure of night hunting in Jiuyi Mountain. In the following, I will introduce in detail what we saw, heard and felt during our trip to Hunan.
Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park is located in the northeast of Yongzhou City, Hunan Province, about 80 kilometers away from Yongzhou City. It covers an area of 12,000 hectares and is one of the largest forest parks in China. Jiuyi Mountain is the main peak of the Nanling Mountains, with an altitude of 2129 meters. It is the second highest peak in Hunan Province. The name of Jiuyi Mountain comes from its nine peaks, namely Tianzhu Peak, Yunnv Peak, Heding Peak, Shizi Peak, Lujiao Peak, Longtou Peak, Hutou Peak, Houzi Peak and Qilin Peak. These nine peaks form a huge natural bonsai, known as “Jiuyi Bonsai”.
Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park not only has spectacular mountain scenery, but also has a long history and culture. It is said that Jiuyi Mountain is a fairy mountain in ancient Chinese mythology, where Fuxi created the Eight Trigrams and drew them. Jiuyi Mountain is also a holy place for Taoism and Buddhism, with many ancient temples and Taoist temples, such as Tianzhu Temple, Yunnv Temple, Heding Temple and so on. Jiuyi Mountain is also the cradle of the Chinese revolution, with many revolutionary sites and monuments, such as the Red Army Martyrs’ Cemetery, the Red Army Long March Memorial Hall and so on.
We spent three days touring Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, enjoying its natural beauty and cultural charm. We climbed Tianzhu Peak and overlooked Jiuyi Bonsai, marveling at the wonders of nature. We visited Tianzhu Temple and listened to the monks’ lectures on Buddhism, understanding the wisdom and compassion of Buddhism. We paid tribute to the Red Army Martyrs’ Cemetery, remembering the heroism and sacrifice of the revolutionary martyrs, and learning from the lessons and revelations of the revolutionary history. We also experienced the local folk customs, appreciated the songs, dances and costumes of the Yao people, tasted their food and wine. We gained knowledge and happiness in Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, as well as enhanced our friendship and affection.
Why do we choose to hunt at night? This is because the forest at night has a different charm and challenge from the day. The forest at night is a mysterious world, with many animals and plants showing their vitality and adaptability in the dark. The forest at night is also a dangerous world, with many animals and plants using the darkness to prey or defend. The forest at night is even more a beautiful world, with many animals and plants emitting wonderful light and sound, adding color and fun to the darkness. We want to explore and hunt in the forest at night, and feel its mystery and charm.
In order to hunt in the forest at night, we need some special equipment, the most important of which are night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars. This equipment can let us see the shape and position of animals and plants in the dark, without disturbing or harming them.
Night vision binoculars are equipment that use low-light amplification technology to enhance human eye’s perception of visible light in the dark. They can amplify the weak ambient light (such as moonlight, starlight, etc.) by thousands of times, allowing human eyes to see the scenery in the dark. Night vision binoculars usually show green or black-and-white images, because they can only amplify part of the wavelength in visible light.
Infrared binoculars are equipment that use thermal imaging technology to detect the radiation intensity difference of invisible light (such as infrared) in the dark, and convert it into visible light images. They can show different colors or brightness images according to the temperature difference between animals and plants and the surrounding environment, allowing human eyes to see the heat sources in the dark.
We used this two equipment to carry out night hunting activities, and found many interesting and surprising things. We used night vision binoculars to observe some nocturnal animals in Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, such as foxes, wild boars, deer, minks, owls, etc., and saw how they find food, communicate information, avoid enemies, etc. in the dark. We used infrared binoculars to observe some luminescent plants in Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, such as fireflies’ grass, fluorescent mushrooms, glowing mosses, etc., and saw how they use chemical reactions or bioluminescence to attract insects or other animals in the dark. We also used this two equipment to assist us in hunting, according to the position and movement of animals and plants, choose the appropriate time and angle, shoot or capture them. Of course, we also paid attention not to over-hunt or harm innocent lives, we just wanted to experience and entertain, not for greed and cruelty.
We encountered many animals and plants in our night hunting activities, they made us feel the beauty of life and ecology of Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park. We also interacted with them and protected them, making us realize the harmony and balance between humans and nature.
We encountered some rare and protected animals, such as golden leopards, clouded leopards, pangolins, white cranes, white deer, etc. These animals are all national first or second class protected animals, and they have good living and breeding conditions in the Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park. We did not disturb or harm them, but observed their living habits and characteristics with night vision binoculars and infrared binoculars, and learned their survival wisdom and adaptability. We also used cameras to record their beautiful images, and prayed and blessed them.
We encountered some interesting and peculiar animals, such as flying squirrels, bats, fireflies, glowworms, slugs, etc. These animals are all nocturnal or bioluminescent animals, and they have unique flying or glowing methods in the dark, adding vitality and brilliance to the night forest. We played and interacted with them, feeling their fun and charm.
We encountered some beautiful and precious plants, such as azaleas, camellias, ginkgoes, Bauhinia variegata, metasequoia, etc. These plants are all characteristic plants of the Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, and they bloom or change color in different seasons or times, adding color and fragrance to the forest. We appreciated and picked their flowers or fruits, feeling their aroma and taste. We also used brushes to depict their elegant postures, paying tribute and praise to them.
During the hunting process, we also reflected on our impact and responsibility on the natural environment. We realized that as human beings, we should not overexploit or destroy natural resources, but should protect and respect natural life. We also understood that as hunters, we should not greedily or cruelly kill animals, but should reasonably and humanely use animals. We hope that our night hunting activity is not only a recreation and adventure, but also an education and revelation.
We enjoyed the food of Yongzhou while hunting, which satisfied and enjoyed our taste buds and appetite. Yongzhou is a place with a long history and brilliant culture, and its food also has a unique style and characteristics. We tried the following Yongzhou delicacies in some restaurants and farmhouses near Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park:
- Dong’an chicken: This is a famous dish of Yongzhou, and also a provincial intangible cultural heritage of Hunan Province. It is made from black-feathered chicken, a specialty of Dong’an County, which is marinated, cooked, cut, and fried with spices, to make a spicy and delicious dish. It is characterized by tender chicken, rich sauce, spicy but not dry, fragrant but not greasy. We ate a Dong’an chicken and felt very delicious, praising it endlessly.
- Yongzhou blood duck: This is another famous dish of Yongzhou, and also a provincial intangible cultural heritage of Hunan Province. It is made from white-feathered duck, a specialty of Yongzhou, with blood curd, tofu, cilantro and other ingredients, which are cooked, cut, and mixed with seasonings, to make a red and bright, tasty cold dish. It is characterized by tender duck meat, smooth blood curd, soft tofu, fragrant cilantro, rich texture, and endless aftertaste. We ate a plate of Yongzhou blood duck and felt very refreshing, admiring it.
- Jianghua Yaojia Eighteen Stuffings: This is a special snack of Yongzhou, and also a traditional food of the Yao people in Jianghua County. It is made from rice flour and pork filling, specialties of Jianghua County, with eighteen different seasonings and ingredients (such as peanuts, sesame seeds, taro, radish, etc.), which are kneaded, shaped, steamed and cooked to make rice flour balls that look like ingots, have the color of corns, and taste sweet and fragrant. It is characterized by soft rice flour balls with full fillings, sweet and delicious, nutritious. We ate eighteen Jianghua Yaojia Eighteen Stuffings (each with different fillings), felt very interesting, praising it endlessly.
- Yongzhou drink snails: This is a special soup of Yongzhou, and also a summer cooling product loved by the people of Yongzhou. It is made from fresh snails (a kind of aquatic snail) caught from the rivers of Yongzhou, with ginger, garlic, chili and other seasonings, which are cleaned and boiled to make a clear soup. It is characterized by clear and transparent soup water, fat and tender snail meat, spicy and appetizing, clear and thirst-quenching. We drank a bowl of Yongzhou drink snails and felt very refreshing, appreciating it.
- Jiangyong Yao Mountain Oil Tea: This is a special drink of Yongzhou, and also a traditional food of the Yao people in Jiangyong County. It is made from Yao Mountain tea leaves, specialties of Jiangyong County, with oil, salt, peanuts, sesame seeds and other ingredients, which are fried and boiled to make a thick and fragrant tea soup. It is characterized by golden tea soup color, oily but not greasy, fragrant but not bitter, both thirst-quenching and energy-supplying. We drank a cup of Jiangyong Yao Mountain Oil Tea, felt very warm, praising it.
We tasted these delicacies in Yongzhou, which gave us a deeper understanding and appreciation of Yongzhou’s customs and culture. We also added some fun and memories to our hunting activities. We feel that Yongzhou’s cuisine is not only a taste enjoyment, but also a cultural inheritance.
This trip to Hunan was an unforgettable journey for me and my college classmates. We visited the beautiful scenery, felt the long history, experienced the night forest, and tasted the authentic cuisine in Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park. We not only gained knowledge and happiness, but also enhanced our friendship and feelings. We also reflected on our impact and responsibility on the natural environment, and hoped to protect and respect natural life, and achieve harmony and balance between humans and nature.
I want to thank my college classmates Julius Mac and Merry Freeman, who are valuable treasures in my life. They brought me joy and warmth, and they shared with me the wonderful and unforgettable moments of this trip. I also want to thank the staff and local residents of Jiuyi Mountain National Forest Park, who were my intimate guides during my trip. They provided me with convenience and help, and they made me feel the charm and enthusiasm of Yongzhou.
This was a reunion trip, as well as an adventure of night hunting in Jiuyi Mountain. This is an article that records our trip to Hunan, as well as a letter that expresses our friendship. I hope that we can keep in touch, meet often, and travel often. I wish that we can all be healthy, happy, successful, and blissful.