Yangshuo Day 04 – Chicken Cave

Chicken Cave

It was raining once again that morning, which meant that it had rained for three days in a row. We had already made plans to head to 'Chicken Cave' the next time it rained, as the guidebook had stated that that crag was one of the best places to climb in wet weather. The others were not so keen on cycling the same way all over again though, so Lily said that she will call a taxi (CNY40/5) for us whilst we went out to get some glutinous rice and sausage (Mandarin: 香肠, CNY7) for lunch later on.

Getting There

The chicken cave crag is located behind a farmhouse by the side of the road. Because of this, the crag is a little tricky to get to if you have never been before. Take the first left just after crossing the bridge that spans the Yulong River, across from the Big Banyan Tree park. The road heads south-east at first but then swings eastward past a residential area. The farmhouse is just over a kilometre from the bridge, after turning right down a smaller road. Sticking to the road that continues eastward will eventually bring you to the climbing crags of 'Space Buttress' and 'Low Mountain'.

As soon as we reached the farmhouse , we were greeted by a lady that held up a sign that stated that each person had to pay CNY10 to enter. She justified it by saying that the fee was compensation for the destruction of her crops, despite the presence of a dirt track leading straight to the crag. Both the locals in Yangshuo and the climbing guidebook had clearly stated that we should not pay this lady in order to not encourage that sort of behaviour, so our protests led to an argument with her. The lady started to become increasingly aggressive as she realised how unwavering we were in our decision to not pay, and ended up getting quite physical and even shoving her umbrella in our faces. It had started to rain again by then and the taxi had already left, so the rest gave in and decided to just pay the fee. The lady ended up 'stealing' CNY25 from the 5 of us, instead of the CNY50 that she originally asked for, and said that the only reason was because Ian was "young and Chinese".

We continued down the dirt path undeterred, but somehow missed the small path on the left that would have taken us straight to the cave. We ended up at a pond, and tried to clamber haphazardly around it in the mud, attempting to make our way to the north-west-facing cave as best we could. We eventually realised that this could not possibly be the way, and backtracked a little to see if we had missed anything. We found the right path easily soon after, yet none of us could recall seeing the path on the way up. We must have assumed that the path would have been located much further past the farm, considering how the lady had demanded the money, and did not think that it could have been just a few minutes from the road. By then, we had wasted a good hour or so, and had yet to see a single chicken!

Alex on 'Tufa Rufa'

Alex on 'Tufa Rufa' (6a+). Just one bolt from the anchor!

Chicken cave was a fairly large cave that was filled with sand and bare earth. There were a bunch of very easy routes from 4-6a, as well as some very difficult routes that were around 7b to 8a that curved around to the ceiling of the cave. My medial epicondylitis had flared up so I ended up just taking back-lit shots of the others as they climbed.

Climbing in Chicken cave

Chicken cave backdrop

A glorious backdrop!

Next : Yangshuo Day 4 (Part 2) - Bugs (or not)

Bugs (or not)

Caterpillars crawled around in the dirt that was scattered around the base of the cave, and groups of ladybirds crawled around in the moss outside. For some reason, ladybirds are referred to as 'ladybugs' in the United States, despite them not being bugs. The term tends to be incorrectly used by most laypersons, as a bug is any insect that belongs to the order Hemiptera (one of the 25 insect orders)--which means that all bugs are insects, but that not all insects are bugs.

Chicken cave Ladybirds

Ladybirds (Family: Coccinellidae) in the moss

One of the main traits of bugs are their mouths, which specialise in piercing and subsequently sucking their food out after an injection of digestive chemicals, rather than chewing their food like most other insects do. Aphids such as the Milkweed aphid (Aphis nerii), which I previously wrote about, are monophagous bugs and use their mouths to suck out the sap from plants, just like cicadas. Bed bugs (Cimex lectularius), on the other hand, use their mouths to suck blood.

Hover the cursor over the image of this Scarlet marsh hawk (Aethriamanta brevipennis) to see it chewing its food!

As we walked out from the cave, a man on a motorbike suddenly stopped and offered to organise a taxi for us for a 'modest' fee of CNY100. We immediately declined of course, since we were utterly shocked by such an exorbitant price, which caused him to speed off in frustration. We instead took the scenic route that meandered around the fields with the karst outcrops as a backdrop. Lush fields surrounded us as the sun began to set, and left everything awash in its warm golden glow.

Chicken cave caterpillar

Lappet moth caterpillar (Trabala sp.)

We found no way to cross the river from the crags of 'Space Buttress' and 'Low Mountain', so were forced to backtrack to the main road. We did not have to wait too long before the #1 bus CNY3 to Yangshuo's North Station arrived, but by then all we were thinking about was the stir-fry (CNY13) that awaited us.

Day 4 Expenditure

Next (Day 05) : Moon Hill