Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Evil Monkeys of Emei Shan

Qingyin PavillionRoosters were still crowing and the weather was on the cool side when I left my hostel this morning. The plan was to hike a good portion of Emei Shan. The trail I had in mind would take me exactly to where I started yesterday, so in effect I would have hiked the entire mountain. More importantly, that trail passed the Qingyin Pavillion, which was in the set of photos I saw of China that inspired this trip.

I was going at a pretty good pace until I got to the Qingyin Pavillion. There I was not only stopped by the gazebo that I wanted to photograph, but also by some amazing rock carvings and a pretty waterfall. I must have spent an hour just taking photos in that location.

As I continued up, I realized it was going to be a very long day. I think hiking rock carved steps is harder than hiking on a dirt trail; I was really starting to feel my calves and knees.

Tibetan MacaquesThe mountain is home to many Tibetan Macaques. I passed by a number of signs warning that there would be wild monkeys on the trail and that you should be traveling with partners. Also, the locals suggest you carry a bamboo stick or a slingshot as a way of warding them off. I had neither and I really didn’t think the monkeys would be a problem.

They’re not that big, but some are pretty aggressive and have giant teeth. I walked passed a few without any problems, but one chose to grab my pants and seemed to want to climb up my leg. It also started making hissing sounds and showing its teeth. A lady who was nearby warded it off with her bamboo stick. This made me a bit intimidated. I think they just got used to people being passive and scared of them.

During my next monkey encounter, I decided to try something different. A big one noticed me and started walking towards me, so in an effort to scare it I ran towards it. It changed its path and circled around me. When it was behind me it started approaching me again. I turned around as it circled me. It showed me its teeth and started hissing so, I did the same to it. It turned around and walked away!

Views from about a quarter of the way upI didn’t have any monkey encounters after that, but I had a very long hike, with over 2,000 meters of elevation gain on seemingly never-ending steps. It also started to snow and I ran out of water. Running out of things was not a bit deal on this trail as there are a lot of food stands, I just had to haggle for a reasonable price.

When I finally reached my destination, I was so relieved! It was great exercise and great scenery, but much too long. I feel quite worn out and will be taking it easy tomorrow.

Qingyin Pavillion:

Qingyin Pavillion

Stone carvings at Qingyin Pavillion

Waterfall at Qingyin Pavillion

Tibetan Macaques (evil monkeys):

Tibetan Macaques

Tibetan Macaques

Goods for the food stands:

Goods for the food stands

Xianfeng Tempe (1752m):

Xianfeng Temple

Elephant Bathing Pool Temple (2070m):

Elephant Bathing Pool Temple

Elephant Bathing Pool

Views near my destination:

The view near my destination


Anonymous said...

Hi Marko - such a great idea this blog... Stunning photos from Emei Shan with the fog and the temples. Are you getting used to the challenge of the language barrier..? Are people generally helpful when they understand you..? From previous travels, the combination of speaking with locals with great trips was so enriching as you develop a better appreciation for the surroundings and the culture (as opposed to reading a travel book). Anyway, keep travelling (safely) and keep smiling.


Steve said...

That's so cool -- you'll have to show us your monkey-protection-dance at one of our team meetings. :)

Anonymous said...

Interesting & informative as always. Glad the monkeys didn't throw things at you & you found a replacement computer cable :) Didn't know about the map inaccuracies or ATM. I think I know Liping as well!


Phil said...

This reminds me of the Swayambhunath Stupa or Monkey Temple in Nepal. It looks awesome with some great pictures as always

Mandy said...

hahaha I am just trying to picture you with the monkeys. Too funny.

Anonymous said...

Very lucky the monkeys didn't get you. One of the things they are after is food. Where is your next stop? The Tiger Leaping Gorge in Lijiang would be to your liking. No step but real trail like in the Rockies.


Marko said...

Liping, I'm off to Lijiang tomorrow. I have ran into monkeys a few times before in Vietnam, Cambodia and India. Some much bigger than these. I've also had some big ones in India hiss at me, but never had one try and climb up on me.

Marko said...

Veronique, the language barrier is hard to get used to. I've managed before when I've traveled, but it's harder here because I can't read the characters. When there's pinyin, I can at least attempt to pronounce words. People are pretty helpful once they do understand what I'm asking.

Kim said...

Alex says "eat monkeys"!

Post a Comment