Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Yellow Mountains

China Blog Posting - #5

If ever you find youself in China, do visit Yellow Mountains  (Mount Huangshan -  UNESCO World Heritage Center), known as "the loveliest mountain of China", attracting 2.74 million visitors annually.   The wonders of the Yellow Mountains are numerous, but four are key:

  • The natural bonsai pines growing from the cracks in the rock, along with

  • The unusually-shaped rocks

  • The sea of clouds

  • And, the hot springs, sadly missed but for the steam off in the distance.  

As we were traveling from Hongcun Village, where we'd spent the night, to Yellow Mountains, it was foggy, rainy and very chilly.  We were bundled up in layers, prepared for a cold day of no views.  Because of a slide detour our taxi was taking us, at breakneck speeds, through tiny villages, honking without end to scatter bicycles, chickens, children, and dogs.  The  detour had made him late so the ride was hair-raising, although both beautiful and interesting.    We traveled through acres of tea fields with tiny bicycle work vehicles lined up along the road's edge.  Further along, gigantic bamboo forests hugged the roads, stretching far off into the distance.

These narrrow mountain roads had logs (about 5 to 6 inches in diameter; 8 to 10 feet long) freshly cut, stacked on the road's shoulder, often tumbling out onto the road.  The logs were bamboo, but other times some kind of hard wood. Mostly the piles were untended, awaiting pickup; other times workers were wielding chainsaws, right in the  road.  If you think this slowed down the taxi driver, think again.  A honk, but no brake, as we sped by.

After being dropped off at the end of the taxi line, we still needed to catch a bus to the tram, and then ride the tram up the mountain.   As we rode up in the tram we were groaning with disappointment.  The fog was so thick we could barely see our hands, never mind the mountains.  And then, suddenly, we broke out of the fog

The first walking section, directly off the tram, was an engineering wonder, stairs hanging onto the side of the rock.

The path continued through unimaginably beautiful scenery.  Not just the rocks and pines were beautiful, but lush forests of Rhododendrons, Enkianthus, Oak, Dogwood, Bamboo, Witch Hazel, and other plants we are familiar with here in the northwest.  The fall season gave us the magical sea of fog but spring must be spectacular too with the blooms and frangrances of the flowers.  As we walked, viewing sites presented themselves.

I couldn't stop taking photographs, nor could any of us.   We were each breathless with the beauty and splendor of this magnificent place.  Brad especially went nuts taking photographs (and he's the best photograper of us all), just to go swimming in Thailand several days later, with his cell phone in his pocket.  Bye bye photos.

On the ride back to Hong Cun Village our same taxi driver slowed down and even suggested a tea field stop.  The tea being grown in this locale was Chrysanthemum.  

Despite being quite sure our driver was trying to kill us on the way up to Yellow Mountains, on the way back to the village he won our hearts.

The next morning
we're dropped off at the train station for our return to Xiamen.


“The climb speaks to our character, but the view, I think, to our souls”

~  Lori Lansens, The Mountain Story

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