It was almost 3 PM by the time we finished a walk around Xingping. We had to climb Laozhai mountain. It is one not preferred even by the natives, the struggle to get to the top being the main reason. It is tougher and steeper than Xianggong. The skies were gathering dark clouds. It is risky to climb down when there is no light. Fog, rain and darkness is a deadly combination in these kind of situations. So the quicker we reach the top, the better. We were the lone wolves doing the trek. The stairs kept becoming narrower as the climb progressed. The wet stones were slippery too. Call it a high-graded version of 'dangerous'. A couple of times we did contemplate turning back. We pushed that thought aside remembering the effort we took to reach till this point. Finally after long stretches of climbing and crawling we neared the summit. At the end of the long climb, you would reach a very wide open space. The view down was zillion times more gorgeous than what we saw in the morning. All around, we saw tall mountains standing like hefty bulls. One side was the mating of River Li with a small stream. The muddy stream water was flowing into the clear waters of Li river. Their joining point had nice contrast of colors. A very curious blending of water bodies. The other side showed up with the most alluring face of River Li with boats looking like small matchboxes. There were few hills standing tall near the rivers. Fluffy white clouds rested on the laps of those peaks. And the tiny Xingping lay in the centre as the cherry on the cake.