Tag Archives: Hiking

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 – Yellow Mountains

huangshanReputed to be the most beautiful mountain range in the country, the peaks of Huangshan have for centuries been celebrated by poets and painters. Although the main peak is under 6,200 ft, the 70 sheer rock cliffs are a challenging hike with the people-crowded, winding concrete steps that go on forever up and down. They say even when shrouded in mist, the scenery of the peaks and ancient pines are awe-inspiring. Unless, of course, the mist is thick clouds and the sky rains continuously throughout the day.

Yep! That was the weather conditions we visited this place in. We never got a good view from the top peaks. The weather was a thick pile of mush… hmm… or was that us? Both, actually. 🙂 Well, what we could see was moving and we could easily tell this has to be one of the most incredible mountain ranges ever. No wonder it is so heavy poeted and painted. We have never seen anything like it before and wish a bit of clearing would have graced the landscape, but we still had an eventful time.

We started the day with a Chinese breakfast with Rice Porridge, sticky buns, soy sauce soaked hard-boiled eggs and tea. Then we hiked across town to the bus station that took us to the entry of the Park. (Couldn’t drive there.) After arriving and paying the hefty fees for entry and gondola ride up the first 2,000 feet, we became the stair-masters of stairs. We thought Mt. Emei had a lot of steps. Not! This place was tops.

China does not keep normal walking trails, like we find in our mountains. They instead concrete a pathway all over the darn place. Stairs, stairs, and more stairs. Some of the stairs even had sheer drop offs on one side with little railing protection. Yikes! Mike and I agree. We can walk all day on normal paths, but stairs wear us out too fast. The funniest part about this hike was we were only a small walk over to a gondola that would have taken us back down. But no, we made a wrong turn and took the steepest and longest route down the mountains to a much lower gondola, which we barely made in time before it closed. Always an event for us!

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Guangxi Province – Gold Water Cave

We had a few hours to find something to do before we left for the airport to return to Suzhou. Since it was raining, we decided to go to the nearest cave and take a look. The Gold Water Cave was recommended over the Dragon Cave, so off we went. The cave was not outstanding. But it was so much fun to be able to touch everything, so unlike the US, and our guide was fun. Zachary had taken a bamboo stick to walk with and she was showing him how to use it in KungFu moves inside the cave. At one point, we had to cross over a floating bridge and Mike and her had a grand time bouncing up and down on the bridge making me freak out. Again, so unlike the US.

Before heading out, we had a quick breakfast and the kids posed with Fannie, our server for the week. Also before heading to the airport, the kids posed with Sissy, Fannie and Lily. Three of the four ladies who took care of us all week. Sissy, the one standing next to Nathan in the photo below, even joined us as we play badminton for a few hours on the previous day.

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Guangxi Province – Longtan Village

Yesterday was a nice day, but today was fabulous! Hardly any haze out and the sky was so blue. Here was what our breakfast table looked like…

Watching the video gets us all wishing to return. We just loved it there. Zachary was up for another walk today, after yesterday’s awe-inspiring views, we attained a new route from Luna. She suggested we head down the road to a village called Longtan. Most of its buildings are over 1500 years old. Then head back to the hotel cross country. Mike was all over that idea. Cross country, yes! So this time, we had the hotel make us some sandwiches and we filled up our camelbak with new water. (Hey, we found adding one drop of consumable peppermint oil in 1.5 liters of water makes for refreshing water along a warm walk. Try it! I also takes away the plastic flavor that the camelbak bags produce.)

Shortly after leaving the hotel, on the main road, we found all kinds of ladies trying to help everyone out. They were located in front of the entrance to the Moon Hill; a very famous location to visit. We smiled and said hello. Little did we know we would pick up a guide out of the group. A sweet, older lady decided she would walk her bike with us as we hiked to Longtan. Mike was hot! He did not want another demanding guide, like the one we had on Mount Emei or in Xi’an. He tried several times to get her to leave. But nope, she held tight. She kept trying to teach us all a little mandarin and would tell us about the sites. She was funny and she finally worked him over with her good-natured personality. Frankly, after it was all said and done, she was a delight! If we did not have her, we never would have known what we were looking at, nor would we have gone as far into village as she took us. We never got her name, but the kids did pose with her in a picture, which is in the photos. Once we got out of town and found our path to take cross country, we gave her a hug each and a gift of 100RMB. She was tickled.

Our cross country adventure require a river crossing. The water was warm and a nice change of pace. Close to our hotel, we came upon a ghost town. At least, that is what it felt like. We asked later what it was and found they are trying to construct a fancy hotel. Oh my, do they have a lot of work ahead of themselves. It ought to be neat once it is done. Not quite as many photos as yesterday’s, but a fair amount still.

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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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