Huang Shan is reputedly ment to be the most beautiful mountain range in eastern China or otherwise known as the Yellow Mountain. So it was a must on our itinerary so despite considerable extra cost, we had to fly as all the trains had gone over to the earth quake area to help serve the rescue team so flying was the only option. We arrived late at night and managed to get a taxi to our hotel with little problem and withthe alarm clock set for an early rise we flopped into bed exhausted.
We took the cable car option up the first leg of the moutain as it was reported to take between 2-4 hours to ascend the first section of the mountain and we decided we would not make it if we did the whole day on foot!
Although the main peak is only 6,200' high, there are sheer rock cliffs pointing high into the sky with steep winding concrete steps crossing the mountain side some went on for what seemed like miles and looked almost impossible to ascend and descend. We were beconed on by the view of the 'Welcoming Guest Pine' as it towered above our
heads and has done so for many years welcoming visitors to the mountain. Some of the Pine trees are very old and have featured in many a Chinese Painting.
Our legs and knees took a real punishing and what with the altitude aswell we took the climb slowly. The views from the top were absolutely stunning and certainly stood up to the reputation. It took us about 5 hours to circum navigate the summit exploring the many view points along the way. We headed for Paiyun Ting or 'Cloud Dispelling Pavillion' and stood in wonder at the crevices and crags that jutted high in front of us with the odd fir tree growing at a strange angle clinging to the rock face. We then passed similar peaks with equally wonderful names such as Shixin Feng 'Beginning to Believe' and Feilai Shi 'Rock flown from A far'.There was an endless vista of mountain peaks stretching as far as the eye could see and some disappeared into the distance shrouded in light fluffy clouds. Although the western route around the peaks was more challenging and I certainly struggled at times to keep up with the boys, Kevin and I enjoyed the route
at a more sedately pace as we stoppd to take in the views (and our breathe!). After some nourishment of noodles and then more noodles all in different sauces and with different 'bits' in them we continued on our way and took on a particularly challenging stretch of the route, between narrow rock crevices and up and down the steepest of rock faces clinging onto the hand rail for dear life, certainly not for the faint hearted, trouble was once you commited yourself to the route round there was little point in turning back as it was just as difficut in reverse! You just thought you got to the summit and near to the end of the cablecar when another path lead you across another mountain face and along another walkway! The measurements they gave on the maps were as the crow flies and did not take into account the descent and ascent back up again! What was even more disconcerting were the sherpas carrying the laundry, bags of cement and sand and fresh fruit and vegetables on yokes made of bamboo that were so very heavy, up and down the side of the mountains and we struggled just carrying
our water bottles! Such a hard life, what a way to earn a living.
We were so glad to see the cable car and the route down to our awaiting minibus we had hired for the journey to and from Huang Shan.
We were exhausted but also on a high having been amidst the most wonderful scenery and having achieved a very taxing walk, it is definately one of the top ten highlights of our trip to China and something we would recommend you do on a visit to Jiangsu. if you struggled The Great Wall of china this trip is not for you!
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