Li is regarded as the first writer to describe the famous Three Gorges landscape in detail. For example:
'When winter turns to spring, there are white torrents and emerald depths; reflections appear upside down in the swirling eddies. Many oddly shaped junipers grow forth from jagged mountain peaks from which waterfalls plummet clamorously. Pure, verdant, lofty, flourishing—such qualities provide innumerable kinds of fascination. After a storm has cleared, or on frosty mornings, among forests chilled and streams desolate, the loud cry of a gibbon is often heard, prolonged and mournful. As it echoes through the empty valleys, its despairing wail lingers before disappearing. So the fishermen sing,
Of the Three Gorges in Eastern Pa
Shaman Gorge is the longest.
Three cries of the gibbon
and one's clothes become drenched with tears.'
Xie Shichen, Clouds and Waves at the Wu Gorge, 1368
Source: Wikimedia Commons
This translation is from Richard E. Strassberg's Inscribed Landscapes, a wonderful book I have quoted from here before. Strassberg also includes Li's descriptions of two other landscapes. Meng's Gate Mountain (Meng-men-shan) straddles the Yellow River and Li describes its slanting cliffs with giant boulders poised to fall, white mist on the water where currents collide and colossal waves that 'multiply and collapse all the way down to the outlet.' Lotus Mountain (Hua-shan) is one of the Five Sacred Mountains of China and Li describes climbing it: ascending through junipers and past shrines and rock altars until, at the summit, he is able to see two sacred springs, one called Reed Pond that flows westwards, and the other, Supremely Exalted Spring, flowing east.