Saturday, May 8, 2010

Huangshan (Yellow Mountain)

This was never intended to become purely a political blog, I'm just leaving the family stuff out of it these days. Look me up on facebook for those photos.

These are some photos from a recent outing to Huangshan. Yellow mountain, as it is called in English, is probably the most famous mountain range in China, and it is very significant in the Chinese psyche. If it looks familiar to you, it is because a great deal of traditional Chinese art was painted here. Even now, you will find lots of artists along the trails, using traditional materials.

The hiking isn't terribly natural. All the paths are paved with handrails. That isn't to say that it is easy. It is about 6000 feet in elevation, and virtually every path is stairs. Some are quite steep. Me and the boy hiked a good 15 miles or so over two days.

Below are some of that stairs that have been cut into and sunk into the cliffs. This section of the mountain is quite spectacular, but it is off of the main trail, away from the famous peaks. There were relatively few hikers here, which was nice. The main trails get quite full. It is said to be the ambition of all Chinese to climb Huangshan at least once. Even the emperors were expected to do so. That means a lot of people can be there at one time. I've been told that during the May 1st holiday, there can be over 250,000 people on the mountain at one time. That sounds excessive to me, if only because of the logistics of buses and hotels for that many people. Then again, this is China, and the Chinese know how to do big crowds right.

We were there the week before the big holiday. That meant only mostly big crowds, instead of unbelievably big crowds.

More miscellaneous pictures.

There are several hotels on the mountain like the one below. All of the supplies for them, and garbage from them, are carried up by porters. They clog the main trails and make it quite hard to get around sometimes. Some of them carry pretty incredible loads. It exerts an amazing peer pressure.... stopping on the trail makes one feel pretty pathetic when a guy with 20 gallons of cooking oil on a bamboo yoke is coming up behind you.

I don't know if the building materials were carried up or not. There are no roads. There was a construction site near one hotel that had a small bulldozer and hydraulic shovel at work. Maybe they brought those in by helicopter.

On the right, there is a billboard of Deng Xiaoping visiting Huangshan, looking quite sporty in his shorts. Like I said, every emperor was expected to climb the mountain, and that includes the Communist ones too.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

these look like the most spectular mountains i have ever seen.i would love to see them but i am glad that you and john hiked them--i would love to go to the top if i could ride a horse there---love g pa