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Climb a Sacred Mountain

May 7, 2008

Tom – This was my most enjoyable day in China.  We were picked up at 7am for the two hour drive to Huashan, one of China’s/Taoism’s five sacred mountains.  Its five ridges are supposed to look like a lotus blossom in full bloom. 

It is said to have 210 natural and human cultural sights. 

We only had five hours to spend on the mountain so decided to take a cable car to the saddle below North Peak (about 4800 ft elevation). 

The sky was clear and the sun bright as we began. 

As soon as we got out of the cable car we started to ascend steps cut in the granite moving toward Gold Lock Pass (see photos of gold locks and ribbons) also called Jinsuo Pass. 

We passed by Dulong Temple, Sun and Moon Cliff and Wuyun Peak. 

There are temples, restaurants, small/basic hotels and even a monastery on the mountain;

everything has to be carried up to these sites and trash removed. 

Golden Lock or Jinsuo Pass

Several Chinese asked to have their pictures taken with us on the mountain.  I believe the man on the left was a former Chinese Olympic medalist.  I guess they don’t see too many westerners here.

 

Our next goal was South Peak.  When we reached the summit ridge we came upon a temple and monastery that I have not been able to identify on my Chinese map but you will see pictures in this posting.  I incurred the wrath of a monk for taking a picture inside the Taoist Temple. 

Part of the “Plank Trail” – notice the “golden locks”

Don’t look down!

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It was a surrealist scene as we soaked in the scenery with the monks chanting in the background. 

Temple Bell

The next stop was the South Peak of Mt Hua (about 7100 feet), the highpoint of the mountain.

 

 

After leaving South Peak we had to hike down several hundred feet before going back up the ridge to West Peak (6700 ft elevation). 

The clouds were now starting to roll over the ridge. 

Helen pulling herself up the chain to the top. 

Helen on top

This picture includes a monk (trying to avoid my camera), dressed in black, with black hat, black backpack, black slippers but also using a metal hiking stick!

 

At around noon the clouds began to slowly descend creating a magical scene. 

We had to hustle to get back down in our allotted five hours

but did have enough time for Helen to stop for a piece of watermelon. 

At first I thought it was expensive but then considered the task of carrying it up the mountain! 

Descending the cable cars

The “Soldier’s Trail” going up/down the mountain

After getting off the cable car we took the minibus down the mountain and got off at the first stop.  Wrong, we were supposed to get off at the second stop (there was NO stop when we went up the mountain).  Anyway, we made contact with the guide who had waited with the driver and then took another bus to the second stop in Huashan were we had a reservation for lunch.  It was now 3:30 and we were the only diners in the restaurant.  We ordered Chinese (ha ha).

 

We arrived back in Xian at 6pm.  After getting cleaned up, Helen talked me into going to the multi-story mall across the street from the hotel (it was raining so we couldn’t go back to the bazaar). 

The prices were unbelievable – jeans $150, polo shirt $100, etc., etc.  These were “real” brand names, no bargaining here!  I couldn’t believe it when Helen suggested we leave after about 20 minutes! 

 

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