Friday, April 23, 2010

Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain)

China’s natural landscape continues to impress me. I mentioned before that I didn’t think I’d be doing so much hiking in China, but I’m very glad I am. I just got back from hiking Huang Shan and even with the hoards of tourists, it was quite nice.

To get to the top, my guidebook said it would take two and a half hours using the shorter but steeper eastern slope. I was able to do it in one. The mountain, unlike the ones back home, has a giant summit with many sub peaks. Once I was at the top, I started exploring all the different areas. Many have interesting names like “Begin-to-Believe Peak” or “Cloud-Dispelling Pavillion.” The latter was quite interesting as clouds/fog really did disappear after reaching this point. The scenery is just fantastic, with little spruce trees jutting out of the most peculiar places!

The plan after was to head back down a different and longer way, the western steps. However, as I headed in that direction, I got into an unbelievable crowd of people. I have never experienced anything like it. Imagine Johnston Canyon times a hundred, maybe more. I could only move as the crowd moved. I got increasingly frustrated and soon abandoned my plans to see the rest of the mountain and just wanted to get back down.

I took the gondola down, where I had an interesting experience. I shared it with five others, all domestic tourists and they all wanted to get a picture of me. I’m not sure what it was, maybe the shaved head and my beard. In the past, traveling through southeast Asia, people have been fascinated by my beard. Most Asian people are unable to grow one.

On the bus back to Tunxi I had a really pleasant conversation with a guy from Singapore. He helped me find the right bus, then we talked about other places we traveled to. He has been to the Canadian Rockies and even had a drawing on him of Mount Rundle. It made for an enjoyable bus ride.

More Photos from Huang Shan: