The Golden Summit - not so golden today

Emeishan Travel Blog

 › entry 99 of 136 › view all entries
Clouds and fog on the middle slopes of Emei Shan

It felt great to get a bit of extra sleep for once even if I did have to fall asleep to the lilting tongue of Mandarin speakers in the room next door to me.  The morning came and I finished putting my daypack together and then took my duffel out to Patrick who had returned with some breakfast before we departed down to the bus station in Emei town for the ride up the peak.  Patrick also brought us some monkey beating sticks (walking sticks) to use for the two days, of which I will explain the use of a bit later.

The sky looked disappointingly cloudy in town before we boarded the bus for the summit.  As we drove up the road in the tourist bus a thermostat displayed the slowly dropping temperature and instead of clouds above us we were now driving through the clouds and mists as we ascended towards the parking lot on Emei Mountain.

Poor views today on Emei Shan
  After about an hours drive or so we reached the parking area high on the 10000 ft mountain.  From here there was a short walk to Jinding Peak Cableway to the Jinding Summit.  Of course this walk was made through a misty rain and the altitude was a bit bothersome for a few people (I still had my Himalayan lungs in relatively full force and felt pretty good other than being cold and wet).  Saw the first of the sedan chairs, ferrying people up the trail for a nominal fee.  Mostly seemed to be the Chinese tourists that were partaking of this as opposed to any foreign tourists.

We were jammed into the cable car along with other tourists for the remainder of the trip to the summit (about 400 meters if I recall).  Here we had a bit of a scare.

In front of the Woyun Nunnery - with our monkey beating sticks (more on those later)
  Katie (who has done her fair share of trekking at higher altitudes, but never while six months pregnant) quickly became dizzy and lightheaded on the ascent to the summit.  So much so that at the top she immediately went back down on the same cable car to the parking lot.  When we went down later we found her resting comfortably at the slightly lower altitude.  Apparently someone else needed that oxygen at the higher altitudes.  Thankfully she was OK.

At the top we were still shrouded in mist, but at least it wasn't raining.  Those of us who made the trip to the summit, explored the temples and other buildings of the Jinding Summit, although we could barely see the impressive architecture a few dozen feet in front of us.

More touristy kitsch
  At the same time the views out over the lower flatlands towards Emei town, and Leshan were completely obscured by the cloud cover.  Apparently this is a relatively common weather pattern, although more often the summit is free of clouds with clouds below and above providing for some of the amazing views.

We were all still pretty cold and damp (and concerned for Katie) so we didn't spend an inordinate amount of time on the summit - just enough to see the highlights, before returning to the cable car for the descent.  Back down we walked back through the rain and mist to the bus park where we found a small restaurant for lunch and then descended by bus to the lower elevations and another walk to a different monastery where we would spend the night.

Sights on the path - Double Flying Bridge

When we got off the bus at the Wuxian parking lot, we found ourselves on a trail heading up towards Hongchuping Monastery.  The first thing I noticed was that just like the short walk between the park and cable car near the summit all the trails were paved concrete through the dense growth on the mountain.  And it seemed like every kilometer or so there was a group of stalls selling snacks and other knick-knacks to the pilgrims on the path.  In fact to me the whole experience seemed kitschy - like they had taken this once sacred site and turned it as much as possible into a WalMart.

We passed by the Qingyin Pavillion after an hour or so of walking and still had another 6-7 km to go, most of it up the mountain.  It was mid-late afternoon so we pressed onward knowing we would come back this way tomorrow.

Qingyin Pavilion
  Past the pavillion we entered the "Joking Monkey Zone" where a band of monkeys are often entertaining the crowds (or maybe the crowds are entertaining the monkeys - more on them tomorrow).  Finally after passing through this area the crowds thinned out and it was a nice walk the final 4 or so klicks to the Monastery (albeit still on a paved trail).

Hongchuping was an impressive site.  After the crowds and hubbub below, it was serene to walk among the quiet halls in the monastery after I had settled into my room.  A short walk back down the trail (maybe 100 meters or so) a woman had a small restaurant (Hard Wok Cafe) where many of the people staying at Hongchuping ate.  Surprisingly for this location well up the trail the menu was varied and the food excellent.  After dinner we sat around and talked for a while and played some cards before finally calling it a night.

 

Kramerdude says:
The amusing thing is that is the actual translation that is on the Emei area map that I received when we went into the park.
Posted on: Apr 25, 2010
vances says:
Love the notion of a "Joking Monkey Zone"...would make a great band name!
Posted on: Apr 24, 2010
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Clouds and fog on the middle slope…
Clouds and fog on the middle slop…
Poor views today on Emei Shan
Poor views today on Emei Shan
In front of the Woyun Nunnery - wi…
In front of the Woyun Nunnery - w…
More touristy kitsch
More touristy kitsch
Sights on the path - Double Flying…
Sights on the path - Double Flyin…
Qingyin Pavilion
Qingyin Pavilion
Unfortunately there is a problem w…
Unfortunately there is a problem …
Riding the cable car to the top
Riding the cable car to the top
I still find myself trying to pict…
I still find myself trying to pic…
Poor views today on Emei Shan
Poor views today on Emei Shan
Six tusked elephant
Six tusked elephant
Huazang Si Temple - the best view …
Huazang Si Temple - the best view…
Woyun Nunnery
Woyun Nunnery
Framed photo giving the only clear…
Framed photo giving the only clea…
Painting in Woyun Nunnery
Painting in Woyun Nunnery
This is supposed to be a fantastic…
This is supposed to be a fantasti…
Padlocks locked to the rails are p…
Padlocks locked to the rails are …
There were these stalls literally …
There were these stalls literally…
Reflections
Reflections
Reflections - this building can be…
Reflections - this building can b…
Fun with statuary
Fun with statuary
Get tired - hire someone to carry …
Get tired - hire someone to carry…
Monkey on the Path
Monkey on the Path
Emeishan
photo by: spocklogic