God’s Thumb Up.

Nicholas Quirke was going back to Beijing on 2 August 2020 but not before capturing a few more hours worth of Chengde’s natural beauty. By 9am, they had packed, checked out (where he had to sign a declaration that he had left the hotel with a red fingerprint!) and were on their way to experience the geological novelty of Sledge Hammer Peak National Forest Park. The peak, famed as the ‘the Thumb of God’ did bear a striking resemblance to opposable digits that separate humankind from the majority of the animal kingdom and led to the evolution of man. It would require a ninety minute hike through the mountains in blazing sunshine or a 10 minute cable car ride to reach the summit. Nicholas was adamant that he would prefer the shorter option and they would walk down and enjoy the other sights in the park which included, Baoshan Temple, Frog Creek, Toad stone, and the Pule Temple. The views from the cable car were stunning and it was a dramatic moment when Qingchuifeng came into view. It was a short climb to the rock and its views of the city and surrounding mountains were spectacular whilst the protruding rock a geological wonder, wider at the top than the bottom, was certainly a miracle that it survived. The rock certainly lived up to its name, but a school boy spirit took over them and a series of photos from a variety of angles kept them childishly amused. From here they started the descent which was, despite his fears of travelling through the undulating valleys and peaks surprisingly easy and led them directly to the beautiful Pule temple. With its design based on the Temple of Heaven and predominant Tibetan influences its golds and reds were vibrant and luminous in the mountain scenery. This visit marked the end of their stay in Chengde, which certainly received a ‘thumbs up’ from them both. They started back to the capital on a journey that proved to be slow due to more car accidents and two police checks within kilometres of each other at the Jingling Great Wall pass.


  1. Poor Peng. He hasn’t had his new car for very long and it has received so many scratches already.
    It must be weird for you being such a curiosity Nick.

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