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Another Wonder of China

July 3, 2015 0 Comments

I just had one of the great days of this tour and indeed my life today.

No it wasn’t the terracotta warriors. That was yesterday and for once on this trip I was mildly disappointed by them. I still don’t know exactly why. They are a remarkable monument to a megalomaniacal emperor. I think I expected to see more statues. There must have been close to 500 in the main display area but for some reason they didn’t take my breath away. It was just too familiar and lacked a wow factor for me.

Today certainly took my breath away (in more ways than one )!!

Huashan Mountain

Breathtaking Peaks of Huashan Mountain

We went to Huashan mountain. It is about 120kms north of Xian where the warriors reside. The terracotta warriors were the first place on this trip where we have seen foreign white tourists in any number, not that they were interested in talking to us. That suited me just fine.

There were zero at Huashan just a couple of hours drive up the road. There were a lot of Chinese!!

I have no idea why this place is not part of the tourist Influx to Xian. The place is simply breath taking but for some reason it is unknown outside China. Google it if you are unconvinced.

Huashan is a massive granite mountain about 2000 metres high that just erupts out of a very flat plain in spectacular fashion. It actually consists of five separate peaks north south east west and central. It takes a thirty minute bus ride from the base to get to a cable car situated about a third of the way up the mountain. The cable car ride to the to the top of the north peak is just exhilarating. It traverses about three deep ravines each with at least a thousand metre drop below the carriage. You crest one peak of sheer massive granite walls then cross a massive ravine to the next. It takes about thirty minutes of heart pounding ascent to reach the top.

Then you walk. A lot. Mostly up the steepest steps you can possible imagine. We walked to the top of the north and west peaks. The views in every direction were spectacular. Three are Taoist temples on every peak. It is a very sacred mountain to that religion.

On the south peak is the famed skywalk. Alan and Barry did it and I’m sure they will write in detail about it such was their excitement.

Basically imagine walking for about thirty metres on a small unfenced piece of wood about the size of two floorboards loosely attached to a sheer granite cliff with a thousand metre fall below you while primitively attached to a safety wire with a harness that loosely fits over your shoulders. That’s roughly what the skywalk is about but read their blogs to get the full description.

The descent off the mountain is hugely challenging. You have to walk down about 2000 steps often hand cut into the mountain to get to a second gondola that takes you back to the bus. The steps are tiny and often less than half my foot was secured to each step. They are precipitously steep at times. It required a lot of concentration not to slip. Especially with a couple of thousand impatient tired Chinese trying to push past you. Al thought we walked at least 600 metres down to get to the second cable car. Lyn is easily the fittest person in the group but even she struggled. My quads were quivering jelly at the finish.

Everyone was totally pumped up by the whole experience.

Huashan easily goes into my list of China’s most breathtaking experiences.

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