|[a] Shrouded RL|
Base Spending, Peak Spending
|[b] Hike-incense demur RL|
Incense at the base? Required. Incense at the peak? Required. The amounts are negotiable, but the locations are not, at least for the traveler wishing to gain cultural capital from her connection to Longevity Mountain. All incense “spent” between base and peak is negotiable, with the added issue that the traveler is only able to carry a limited number of incense sticks up the mountain. While they are available for purchase (much more expensive, in a kind of locational oligopoly) there are a number of practical problems.
For the hiker, even beyond the ¥200 that most people state as their incense maximum for the whole journey from base to peak (and down again), there is no possibility of carrying enough incense for even all of the major temples. Beyond this, there is the hardly insignificant issue of time. The hike takes four hours, even at a rapid clip. Temple stops slow the pace markedly. While they do serve as “rest stops” of a sort, serious engagement even at a half dozen temples on the path (not to mention the secular but pivotal Martyr’s Shrine about a quarter of the way up the road) could easily risk making the ascent an all-day proposition, with an uncertain descent in fading light.
|[d] Alternatives RL|
To begin, what I call the “imperial template” of kingly travel to repair time and space focused deeply on the sacrifice locations, not the journey itself. The fengshan sacrifices were made at base and peak, and the details of journeying were rarely mentioned, except for occurrences that have become the stuff of legend, such as the First Emperor encountering a monstrous storm on Mt. Tai and being forced to encamp about two-thirds of the way back down the slope (as though heaven had sent down stinking pitch upon the frightful and frightened poseur). That’s how traditional Chinese historiography relates it.