Tag Archives: Countryside

Huangshan – Nine Dragon Waterfall

ninedragonUpon rising with the ever-honking buses and loud speaking maids outside our door, at 6am we were up and ready to blow the joint. Passing up the breakfast from yesterday, we decided to head out for Hangzhou and Mike added a scenic route on the roadway that found us at the Nine Dragon Waterfall trailhead. At the entry was a sign saying this was one of the seven most famous waterfalls in all of China. How could be pass up viewing that? All was good until we realized there was the dreaded  S T A I R S … again. Oh, the kids were ready to hang it up. But I so wanted to see it so I convinced them to push on. I told them, “It ain’t over until the fat lady sings, and this fat lady is not singing!” It made them laugh and figure if Mom can make, they can.

We took the trail as far as it was open, which allowed us to see a good portion of the waterfall. All 984 feet of it. Very impressive. The water was clear and the air was fresh. What I loved was the ancient Buddhist Temple at the base of the big climb. Its days are numbered because on the other side of the river, they are erecting an astounding, jaw dropping new temple. Not even done, and it gave me goose bumps. By the looks of it, it will be completed this year. Oh, found another cute butt picture… This was of a little one not even old enough to walk on its own.

After leaving here we continued to Hangzhou and West Lake, our hotel was very nice, but the amount of people and the dreary weather left us going… what?! The sky was gray to the ground and never have seen so many people in my life. More than we saw in Beijing. It was unreal. So the next morning, we walked out to the lake and fought our way back to the van headed home to Suzhou. Obviously, Labor Day weekend was not a good time to visit West Lake. From what we heard, it never is. Hope you enjoy the photos…


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Huangshan – Road Trip!!

roadtripMike is feeling really good about driving, so he was up to driving a good distance from Suzhou.

The Yellow Mountains, called ‘Huangshan’ in Chinese, for a couple days and a day in Hangzhou became our plan for the holiday weekend of the April 28th through May 1st. Chinese have so many holidays. Two days off here, three there… it’s great! We left on Saturday to make sure we had plenty of daylight to get to our destination.

As always, there’s humor on the roadway. In the gallery, check out the photo of a truck driving down the freeway at 40mph+ with a broken front axle and a massive load of cargo. Mike laughed his head off for a long time over that. I also took photos of a wedding motorcade. This is how all wedding couples get around.

Once we were about one hour from our hotel, we took a scenic route on a new freeway that wasn’t even on Google Maps. One of the tourist guide books recommended an ancient, little city to visit called Shexian, actually called Huizhuo for hundreds of years until just recently they have been trying unsuccessfully to change its name. Sadly, the ancient parts are mostly destroyed to make way for big buildings. (And why they building the big buildings will remain a mystery as they all stay empty because no one will come to a town that has nothing to see.)

We did find a haunting pagoda in bad need of repair. The grounds surrounding it were terribly neglected too. Mike, Briana, and Zachary found a sneaky way (a no go zone) into the stairwell that led to the top of the pagoda. Zachary was freaked when they got back due to the lack of stairwell, narrow steps, his large feet, all the dead bats, bat dung and such. He shook for a while once they got back down. A day or two later, he said it was worth it. A local stayed with Zachary and was even willing to carry him down.

Off note, I repeat myself often, but my, these people are so caring and wonderful compared to most of people in the US. Daily we met new people always willing to help out, laugh with, etc. We will miss them. We arrived at our hotel while it was still daylight out. After checking in the hotel, we took off on foot to find a good place to eat and see the city. The town of Tangkou was were we spent at the base of the mountain range. Thank goodness the hotel did not live up to the way the town looked. Oh my… what utter filth! We got lucky. Our hotel was clean… tight for us five in one room, but very doable. We do love each other, so it works.

We did find a good place to eat based on a recommendation in one of the tourist books I have and a local who spoke a bit of English. The restaurant help could speak broken English too and was the only ones to help us figure out how to get up the mountain. And the food was grubbin’! So good we came back the following night for seconds.


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Guangxi Province – Bicycling

guangxi_bicyclingToday was the reason why we were even here on vacation. It’s QingMing or better known as Tomb Sweeping Holiday to the English speaking world. It’s a time to remember ancestors and pay homage to them by burning offerings of material items, such as cars, houses, servants, etc.-all are miniture paper items, cleaning their gravesite by removing foliage and burning incense, light fireworks to scare the evil away and offering of food and eating it at the site. It’s a happy occasion. On this day, we past many people celebrating with their departed. It was a neat experience. It was sad to see the few sites here and there that did not get any love for the day. We suppose either all have passed or more than likely those still alive have moved away to the cities for work.

Yesterday, in the Yulong River Valley, wasn’t enough for us. We had to find another way to spend more time there. The morning time we took it easy and played a couple of hours of badminton. We had brought our sets with us. Sissy joined us and we had a great time. Sissy and I did our most to best Mike. It was so fun.  After lunch, Zachary and Nathan were convinced they would do well on a tether bike – two seater. So we borrowed one of the renters and they practiced a bit on the road way. It took them about five tries to get it figured out. They are not as easy as they look. Zachary had to be the driver and Nathan the backseat driver to make it work. After that, they convinced us to go for another ride toward the Yulong River. Zachary and Nathan on a two-seater and the rest of us on our own. Mike remembered there was a way across the Yulong River that connected with a road on the other side. The route would be a big loop; taking us from our hotel, along the river, across the river, through a few valleys, into Longtan, back to the main road and to the hotel. Not knowing for sure how to do it, made it our priority to figure out. Here is some video of the craziness on the roadway that was along the Yulong River…

We bike far enough up the river, we ended up at the place we had started rafting from yesterday. Mike did a bit of mapping and determined we missed our crossing a bit down the road. So we retraced some of our trip to a so called bridge… ya right… whatever, Mike! We took our bike halfway across the river on this little concrete ledge and realized the water was too deep for us to cross by ourselves. Mike was so determined to get across he just stood there scanning the horizon for potential routes. Soon a gal on the otherside waved at us and pointed to her raft. Mike motioned yes and that was all it took. This lady took a pathetic bamboo raft from her side and in two trips got us and our bikes on the otherside. What a riot! The raft was three quarters underwater with all the weight and it was not sturdy at all. I was nervous to say the least. It is not like I have the best balance in the world. But the kids and Mike were all for it. Lots of fun.


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Guangxi Province – Cross Country Walkabout

background-6Being out in the country, Mike could not wait to go for a walk. He wanted to see how far we could get away from any road without getting lost. Luna, the manager, had told us to follow the water up, take paths around the second mountain to the left and then come back. She told Mike, when there is no path just push through and you will get there. Mike was thrilled with the vague directions, so we filled the camelbak up with water and a bit a food and off we went. Go get a cup of coffee for this one. Lots of photos.


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Western Adventure, Day XXVII – Utah at Dixie National Park

We woke to an amazingly blue skied day. During the early morning hours, we found a place to camp in Dixie National Park. We are about 8500 feet above sea level and have found trees, we are on our own and a small stream nearby. Nathan is happy. We all are.

At our spot, we came across a bunch of hunters and dogs tracking a bear. The bear went right through our camp. We needed groceries, so Nathan and I headed into the city of Torrey to round up some food. Mike and the other kids made time to put bacon a a tree to lure the bear back. Later on, Mike and the boys went for a drive and found a small slot canyon off a dirt road. We tried to make it to Capitol Reef to take sunset photos. All we got were the entrance sign and it was too dark to do anything else. We plan on returning tomorrow.


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