To see what we could see

Trip Start Jun 16, 2006
Trip End Feb 2007

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Sunday, November 5, 2006

Huangshan (Yellow Mountain)

I had to ditch Heather for this one. The words "climbing" and "mountain" should never be put together in her book. So midnight Thursday I set out with Bella and Mary (Aussie and Amercian teachers from our school) on an overnight train to Huangshan, in Anhui Province.

The pollution's been pretty bad in Changzhou so we were delighted to big breathes of crisp "invisible" air hopping of the train in Huangshan City (aka Tunxi). It got even better driving through outstanding scenery an hour or so to the base of the mountain.

It took us about three hours to ascend the eastern steps, gasping in plenty of fresh air and more than a bit sweat. It was fantastic to feel the warm sun (which struggles to fight through the pollution in Changzhou) and the views were stunning.

Up top we checked into a very basic dorm room with some interesting Chinese women. We spent the afternoon basking in the sunshine and views, then as the temperature plummeted we sat freezing watching the sunset. That done and not much else to do up there, we felt pretty silly but happy tucking into bed by 7.30.

We were up to see the sunrise through the clouds hovering in the mountains then since we were up figured we may as well set off down the mountain. We descended down the much more scenic and longer western steps. It also turned out to be a very popular route with Chinese tour groups, which left some stunning spots a bit less than serene. We cruised our way down the thousands of steps, taking plenty of stops to rest our shaking fatigued legs and to enjoy the outlook.

Our legs were pretty weak by the time we made it to the bottom and found a bus back to town. We had hours to wait before our train back to Changzhou which we spent downing great food at a local restaurant, followed up with a splendid agruement over the bill (they were trying to get 30yuan per beer! normally about 5yuan).

I'm writing this the next day, back home, after struggling to get out of our bunks on the train, and spending the day in pain trying to get up and down from chairs and tackling stairs! Our calves and quads are sooooo sore and stiff!
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