The road through these mountains “may be traced far off by a double line of weeping cypress-trees at intervals; sometimes only one or two together, but in many places forming quite an avenue of fine old specimens.”
An English missionary and scholar, Wylie originally came to China in 1847 as a printer for the Mission Press of the London Missionary Society in Shanghai. Already self-taught in the Chinese language when he arrived, he continued his Chinese studies at night and during his lifetime not only wrote articles and scholarly books on China, but also translated many Western scientific works into Chinese. He also traveled extensively in China, visiting fourteen of the eighteen provinces to distribute religious literature. In 1868 he spent nineteen days traveling the Road to Shu between Chengdu and Hanzhong, later writing up an account of his travels which appeared in the Proceedings of the Royal Geographical Society in 1870.