Hazy Huang Shan - 16th July 2008 @ 1:30 pm «   »

Location: Anhui Province, China : Hazy Huang Shan

We were in two minds about the amount of time we were to spend in Tunxi – our base for exploring the south of Anhui Province. After the wonderful day visiting the towns of Xidi & Hongcun, the scales were tipped in favour of a rest-day and we spent the whole of Sunday doing stacks of laundry, processing & uploading photos, Skyping the parents and sampling a selection of dishes from the Hostel’s own restaurant.

Monday morning began at 4:55.. The bus to Huang Shan mountain was scheduled to depart from the hostel at 6:00 sharp, but at 6:30 we found ourselves sitting in the bus in front of the Hostel, waiting for two girls who had been waiting for the breakfast to arrive.. Don’t ask!

Arriving at the town of Tangkou around 7:45, we still had to get another bus to the base of the mountain’s western side. Finally we kicked off the hike at 8:15 – more than 3 hours after we woke up, at a spot about 50km from where we stayed. Oh well, that’s China for you.

It was a near-perfect day and we were preparing for a scourcher as we started at the immediate steep incline of the endless stone steps. At that stage we were still in the valley with no direct sun-shine luckily, but within 15 minutes we noticed a bit of light mist starting to roll in from the west. Of course we kept on going but as we progressed it got steadily worse and within the first hour we were completely enclosed in a white-out of sorts. The fact that we couldn’t see in front of us for more than about 20 meters and that it was almost totally wind-still created an eary, yet mystical atmosphere. Everything went very quite apart from the occasional distant voices of Chinese tourists further down the hill.

As we progressed onwards & upwards the inclines became more serious and people coming from above (they had spent the night on top and were on their way down) were warning of slippery surfaces and other ‘dangers’. Being the all-concouring explorers that we are, we paid no heed to these plebs and carried on..

We reached the top of ‘Heavenly Capital Peak’ – the first of 2 peaks we had scheduled for the day and the 2nd highest of the cluster – with relative ease in the end and had a spot of chow before making our way down into the 2nd valley for the main peak.

To our dismay we walked smack bang into a big public notice saying that the ‘Lotus Flower Peak’ was closed. We later learned that they took turns in closing one of the two peaks for a period of 5 years to give the natural habitat a chance to recover from human intrution. Good idea, we thought, but it did mean we couldn’t plant the SA flag on top of the 1873m pinnicle. We’ll do it next time.

Making our way towards the eastern side of the range we crossed the ‘Jade Screen Peak’ and a few other lesser bumps before reaching the cable-car station. At this stage the weather was looking decidedly nasty and we chose to pay the extra 80Yaun each for the ride down the hill. While queueing for the cars the moving lines suddenly stopped and remained stationary for a while. After a while Marizanne went to enquire and we heard that they had stopped the service due to the rain and lightning. Because we were inside the station we had not noticed the terrential downpoor outside and it was only then that we started to hear the thunder.

2 hours and one power-outage later and we were on our way down the mountain. We shared a taxi back to Tangkou with two very cool guys from Shandong Province (we had been there of course and could share storied of our quest of Mount Tai about a month before). Almost being conned by an evil taxi driver into thinking there were no more busses back to Tunxi for the day, Jan told the guy exactly where he could/should go to (in the nicest possible way) before hopping on the 70 min bus-ride back to our lovely Hostel.

All-&-all this really was nothing compared to the grualing Hua Shan mountain (note the slight difference in the name) we did a few weeks ago. It was sad that we had such little visibility from the top, but we still had a great time and saw some beautiful sights.

We had planned on doing two mountains while in Tunxi: Huang Shan, but also Jiuhua Shan (another one of China’s 4 sacred Buddhist mountains). However, because of serious entry fees and a lack of enthusism for two mountains in a row, we had another rest-day yesterday. More laundry, internet-ing and eating..

This morning we got the 08:20 bus from Tunxi arriving in Jiujiang at 14:00, in order to catch the 14:30 from there bringing us to Nanchang in the province of Jiangxi around 16:20. We’re here to explore a couple of villages just outside of town, but more about that later.

If you can’t see the slideshow above click here.

One Response to “Hazy Huang Shan”  
Brutus Says:

hectic stairs! no wonder those kung fu dude prefer to fly…