This edition of Geocache of the Week takes us deep into the Zhangjiajie National Forest Park in the northern part of Hunan Province in China. Though this Earthcache, Sandstone Pillars of Zhangjiajie – 砂岩支柱张家界 GC6524H, was created about 4 years ago, the forest’s geology has enchanted visitors for centuries.
Within the park there are more than 3000 quartzite sandstone pillars, many over 200 meters (650 feet) tall. Covered in lush greenery and often shrouded with mist, the views offered at this Earthcache recall grand landscape paintings. In fact, these sandstone pillars were the inspiration for the otherworldly floating mountains that made up the landscape in the 2009 film Avatar.
The coordinates for this cache take visitors to the “Grand Sightseeing Platform” (Chinese name: 大观台 – dà guan tái), a lookout off the main path with an amazing view which includes the park’s highest peak, Tianzi Mountain. In addition to this majestic view, this cache also gives a solid lesson about the different qualities of sandstone specific to this region and how erosion and tectonic movement created these iconic pillars millions of years ago.
Beginning in the Jurassic period, tectonic movement pushed and fractured the sandstone strata that formed in this region 200 million years prior. Subsequent erosion and weathering continue to shape the geological formations into the unique pillars that visitors see today. To appreciate the geological timeline of this fascinating Earthcache, cachers can seek out certain stone peak clusters in the park which show the early stages of these pillars’ formation.
The sandstone pillars are only one of the amazing attractions at this park. Cachers can add to their day’s adventure by also visiting the park’s scenic transparent glass bridge. The Zhangjiajie Glass Bridge connects two peaks in the Zhianjiajie Grand Canyon and is one of the longest and highest glass-bottomed bridges in the world.
With breathtaking sights and awe-inspiring geological formations, the Sandstone Pillars of Zhangjiajie give geocachers a chance to escape the chaos of modern life and appreciate our incredible game board. Cacher Gillala sums up this experience well:
“A once in a lifetime experience I can only recommend to anyone who has the possibility to live. Wonderful landscapes everywhere, wonderful people. Just contemplated the present that nature gave us, wondering how it could have formed, how it just can hold? This interesting EC just gave me some clues.”
We know geocachers love country and regional souvenirs and we do too! We are releasing at least one new country/regional souvenir per month starting in January 2019. These new souvenirs will be featured alongside Geocaches of the Week in each region and shared on the third Wednesday of each month. Check out all of the Geocaching souvenirs here.
Continue to explore some of the most amazing geocaches around the world.
Check out all of the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, fill out this form.