Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Hua Shan

When I told my Chinese friends that I was going to Xian, most everybody said we should go to Hua Shan. ("Shan" is the Chinese word for "mountain".) Sounded like the perfect day trip!

On Tuesday Amy, Brad and I got on a bus and headed east for 2 hours. Upon our arrival, we broke out the Lonely Planet and expected it to be an easy beginning. Not so much... They wanted us to buy 10RMB tickets to ride a bus to another site and then 100RMB tickets to climb the mountain. 100RMB?!?! Sounded a little pricey for hiking something not man made. Plus Amy was going to ride a cable car up so we did not understand why she had to pay something now and later. After milling around the parking lot and asking people for advice in our broken Chinese (we were a little proud I have to say... so much Chinese!) we stumbled across a couple from Mexico. They had a guide with them so they did not know anything themselves. We found someone else to help us, but were intrigued by the Mexican couple and their guide. The guide was a Chinese girl who spoke Spanish. A rarity indeed... We enjoyed talking with them for awhile. I can honestly say I have met some of the most interesting people since being here in China.

Anyways, back to the mountain... we ended up paying for the tickets and getting on another bus. The bus took us to the cable car depot which turned out to be where we began our climb too. The views even at the bottom were pretty amazing. I have never been around mountains exactly like this... more like just cliffs. We said goodbye to Amy who had to go wait in the longest line (hour and a half) to go up the mountain. Brad and I set out on the Soldiers Trail for a morning of climbing.

Even from the beginning of our climb the views were pretty good.

We did take opportunities to stop and enjoy the views. (aka. Brad stopped to wait for Beth who was dragging behind!)


Some parts of our climb were pretty dang vertical. The safety was not record high. We had to hold on to chain links to help climb. It was a pretty cool sight though being so high and vertical. Brad said it felt like the movie "Cliffhanger."

I was very surprised when I saw how many people especially families were on the mountain. At the summit the amount was crazy! Whatever happened to fun family vacations to the zoo and such? I cannot imagine my father dragging all of us girls up a mountain side for fun. I should not have been surprised that Brad ran into a student. 1.3 billion people in China and Brad sees someone he knows...

After a sweaty 2 hour climb Brad and I reached almost the top. We had a quick bite to eat with Amy and then proceeded to finish the rest of the hike. It was a nice trek.

The hike up was well worth the views from the top. We were worried about the fog because it was pretty bad when we first got there. By the time we reached the top though most of the fog had burned off.

When you start getting close to the top, you will see vendors trying to sell ribbons and locks. At the top of the mountain you see the locks on chain. It is almost like a prayer for health and safety for your family.

Once we finished enjoying our views, we took the cable car back down the mountain. I was not truly proud of this climb until I saw from above what we had accomplished. I think this may have been the highest hike I have done!

All in all one of the best days in China...

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