Huangshan Travel Blog› entry 19 of 25 › view all entries
People who made my travels more enjoyable: Michelle (USA)
We woke up early in order to take a shuttle with guests from the hostel. The shuttle drove us for about 45 minutes, through the Chinese countryside, toward the base of Huangshan. The scenery became increasingly beautiful as we drove upward toward the national park. Mountain streams, trees and small country homes were visible along the way. Huangshan itself is a huge tourist area and there are several entrances to the park itself. To put it in perspective, think of a smaller version of Yellowstone that is centered around one large mountain area. Huangshan means Yellow Mountain, but the title is a bit misleading because there is not just one mountain.
Once out of the shuttle, Michelle and I did not enter the park immediately. Instead, we took a taxi away from the entrance toward a small hotel where we had a reservation. It was rather early in the morning, but luckily they had a room that was ready for us. We dumped our luggage and then took a taxi back to the original Huangshan entrance that we had arrived at over an hour earlier.
Like most of China, Huangshan was completely over-crowded. Tour groups full of wide-eyed tourists, a phenomenon that I had become familiar with in Asia, filled the area where we were supposed to purchase our tickets.
1. Chinese nationals: Usually traveled in tour groups, generally unprepared for the elements, but excited about seeing one of their nation's natural wonders.
2. Asian tourists: Usually Korean and equipped with enough mountain gear to survive a winter blizzard. They were interested in the climb and also the surrounding nature.
Once we beat the line and reached the gondola, one thing popped into my mind, "this thing wasn't designed by the Chinese was it?". No offense to Chinese engineering, they've done some amazing things, but their track record for safety is not that stellar. Considering what's happened with high-speed bullet trains, high-rise housing projects and other technical failures, I was a bit nervous to ride a Chinese built gondola up the side of an incredibly steep mountain. Luckily, the machinery had been designed by Austrian engineers and the gondola was also installed by the same company that was contracted to design it. With that in mind we set off!
We rode the gondola upward and a comment that I had heard about the mountain immediately popped into my mind.
After snapping what seemed like 100 pictures, Michelle and I began our hike around the mountain.
We breathed a sigh of relief as we descended out of the clouds toward the bottom of the mountain.
Michelle and I descended a bit further on foot until we were able to hire a taxi. Once at the hotel we changed and went to have dinner at a tiny restaurant that was near the hotel. We downed our local fare, surrounded by mosquito coils that kept the pestilent beasts off our necks and out of our food. Exhausted from the day, we settled in and watched some Family Guy before getting some well deserved rest. Tomorrow, we would return to the big city, but little did we know that some serious adventure was still in store for us.