Day 3 Huayin City, Central China. Never had such a favorably strenuous calendar. From the dingy pits of the Terracotta Warriors earlier in the day to a delectable Cantonese lunch at Huayin’s Tourist Center. The Great Wall wine, superbly the best I’ve had so far here in this part of Shaanxi. In the evening, we are looking at this special engagement with a rare Chinese opera they call the Loud Cheer Show at the Performance Hall also here in Huayin. But before that, we’re back on the road again and headed up to one of China’s most famous and Most Precipitous Mountain Under Heaven: MOUNT HUA. Are we having the time of our lives here.
Pardon our local guide here but she needs to give an analogy as to Mount Hua’s four peaks. So the South Peak which is the highest point, is the middle finger; followed by the West Peak which is the ring finger and so on. They say Mount Hua, when viewed from a certain angle, resembles that of petals of a lotus flower. Thus the Chinese name Huà Shān, or Flower Mountain.
You know these tour guides they’re like talking Wikipedia. And the more they talk the more I don’t pay attention to. And despite our full orientation during the entire ride from the Tourist Center to the jump-off point at the foot of the mountain, she failed to mention one thing..
..the cable ride! Why do there have to be a cable ride
I’m not afraid of heights. (repeat 10x)
I am not afraid of heights. It’s death by gravity I’m fearful of. So, is there a wireless way to the top? Actually they do. But that would mean dealing with the three-thousand-nine-hundred-ninety-nine steps.
Sante Cableway Upper Station and the Yuntai Hotel
The steepness of Mount Hua makes it one of the most dangerous mountain for hikers. Every climber, particularly average people without previous climbing experience, are advised to take extreme caution every step along the way. This is serious dear.
Ms. Li Wei, our dean at CUFE, expecting a picture-taking spree here at the top, stressed the need to be focused all the time and to refrain from shooting along the tight trails to avoid ugly incidents.
The Ear Rubbing Cliff. Aptly named because of its steep upper portion which is slanted in a way that it touches the hikers’ ears. All the access/conveniences/amenities on the whole spread of Mount Hua have altered the natural aspect of this majestic mountain. Seems like this is one high-altitude Disneyland.
On the other hand, Mount Hua minus all these hiker-friendly supports, will be left only to the pleasure of the privileged few — the sports extremists.
Footholed rocks for a more daring path to the Clouds Terrace Peak
Lock your dreams, prayers, aspirations and wishes on Mount Hua. Trouble is, the locksmith’s charges are acrophobic.
Overwhelming. Should I stop shooting and get a load of the view or both or what. Mount Hua reminds me of Zen gardens. A macro of Chinese landscapes.
Huayin City from the Yuntai Peak
Wǒ ài huàshān is I love Mount Hua.
Here I am at the Clouds Terrace Peak or the North Peak looking at the assembly of all the other peaks: on the right is the West Peak at 2087 meters; opposite is the East Peak at 2090 meters; the South Peak at 2160 meters; and the Central Peak with the All Fairies Temple in the middle.
It may not be visible from here but behind those shrubs and pine trees are cliff edges cramming with temples, pavillions, resorts, hotels etc. Yes, there’s plenty of room at the top. I have never imagined such a hangout!
This Mount Hua escalade is most probably a once in a lifetime experience. And my only regret here is that I did not concern myself too well with more of my personal shots like this noodle western here.
The neatly carved steps of the Heaven’s Ladder leading to the All Fairies Temple and beyond.
After a short one hour now comes the heartbreak of leaving the place. Going back down now before the sun does. And we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Even a one full day here is not enough to cover all the peaks! Given another opportunity back here, I shall stay for the night and yoddle the peaks minus the tour guides. This way, I will have the luxury of time to visit every element of this majestic heights. What are my chances of going back up here? Slim to none.
Sharing a light moment with a chinky young local at the queue lessens the cable car jitters.
Just a thought, how are things Made in China? Cable cars in particular..
Mount Hua according to my local friend from Weinan, used to be a sacred ground for religious folks, the Taoists in particular. Until China opened up to the world and the influx of tourists disturbed the sanctity of the place.
She says they don’t actually consider Mount Hua a mountain. They refer to it as a “higher ground”. Whatever that means.