Huangshan Yellow Mountain

Nicholas Quirke was amazed by the never ending majesty of the landscapes he encountered in China and on 10 June 2021, though it was 7 hours of exhausting exploration he felt almost ecstatic by the awesome sights, the fun and the punishing climbs that he experienced. Huangshan 黄山 meaning the Yellow Mountain, is a famed range in southern Anhui Province originally called “Yishan”, but renamed because of a legend that Emperor Xuanyuan once made alchemy there. It’s scenery, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan pine trees, hot springs and views of the clouds from above have made it the subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature with over 20,000 poems written in its honour. The many peaks, were explored by the pair and the views really were breathtaking. The brown yellow mountain tops emerging from the sea of cloud were haunting and mystical and it really felt like he was in the clouds. It was pouring with rain when they started the day and as thunder storms were predicted he was armed with umbrella and rain coat and oddly looked forward with a sense of adventure to experiencing the views and climbs in intense precipitation. By the time they reached the entrance to the cable car the rain had abated. The first peak they went to was Shixin 始信, start to believe, and the mountain top offered a staggering view of the clouds from above, a vista known as the “Huangshan Sea”[ because of the cloud’s resemblance to an ocean. The peak was home too for Tibetan macaques, a local species of monkey which were particularly mean and rather scared Nicholas when one jumped at him and then went on to thump Peng on the back. It was amazing the speed with which the views changed and with the changes came altered temperatures and weather from humid and warm to cold and raining. His presence on the mountain seemed to impress the fellow travellers, several of whom wanted their photograph with him The range is known for its stone steps, carved into the side of the mountain, more than 60,000 throughout the area and thought to be more than 1,500 years old. It was up and down these steps that they. reached the tallest in the range. Lotus Peak, Lianhua Feng which, at 1,864m was their final ascent and by far the hardest and having reached the summit he was not sure he could descend. His legs were really painful but he eventually discovered that the easiest way down for him was backwards. Of special note on the mountain were the Huangshan pine which is considered an example of vigor because the trees thrive by growing straight out of the rocks. The Welcoming-Guests Pine, which is thought to be more than 1500 years old was the last stop of the day before they took the cable car back through the mist. They drove to another city in the Huangshan district and on the drive he spoke with his sister Kate who was celebrating her birthday. They checked into the hotel, ordered a Hui cuisine takeaway which turned out to be too much for them to be consume it all and as it base flavour is the stinky tofu favoured in the south nope really pleasurable on the pallete. Muscles and bones ached and it did not take long for sleep to overwhelm.

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