Travellog – Hiking Huangshan – Lea Kruse
Returning to Shanghai, curled up in the back seat of the bus after our weekend at Huangshan – Yellow Mountain, I’m recalling an unforgettable weekend with incredible scenery, local culture and great company. I was told by many that a trip to the Yellow Mountain would be stunning, fascinating and mesmerising, but I never expected anything like what we just experienced. My calf muscles are exhausted and I’m not sure if it’s a result of climbing this magnificent mountain or dancing the night away at the club in Tunxi on Saturday.
We left on Friday afternoon with a small but enthusiastic party on the bus, and there was plenty of time to get to know the other people during the trip to Huangshan. We arrived late in the evening and checked into our hotel for the night, in anticipation for the adventure that lay ahead of us On Saturday morning, the whole group of people was ready to go, after first enjoying a traditional Chinese breakfast. Toast, eggs, Chinese porridge and other local delicacies were all included in the buffet.
We got ready for the 14-kilometre hike ahead of us, where we had to reach 2 peaks. To get started, we took the cable car halfway up the mountain. The view from there was a wonderful beginning to the hike. The mountain was amazing and there were plenty of time to enjoy the view and to take pictures of the stunning scenery. Our guide, Jerry, had a different way of gaining the group’s attention; instead of an umbrella and a microphone as the traditional guides use, he plays music from a small loudspeaker.
So every time we were near a break point we could hear a chorus of lyrical delights – “We don’t need no education” and “I had my first real sex dream” being some highlights – streaming from a rock point over the heads of all the Chinese tourists. It was an incredible day at the mountain; so enjoyable, and the fresh air and all the hiking left the group satisfied as we made our way back to the hotel.
At night, we had a great Chinese dinner together with some local baijiu, followed by a much-appreciated foot massage. It was exactly what we all needed after the hiking. After that we were all ready for a party at the local club. We went into the club and had a blast, partying the night away with the locals, making new friends and enjoying our time.
By Sunday the group was ready for another short hike, despite feeling a little worse for wear from the previous night. This time, our destination was the Green Valley. We hiked through the valley, walking beside the lake, exploring waterfalls, and stopping by a nature pool where we were swimming and jumped from the cliffs. It was so relaxing, and the feeling of jumping in the water was a true joy.
The group then split up; one group of girls, including myself, didn’t really feel like any more hiking and we stayed at the gorgeous pool and worked on our tans. The other group hiked up further, and they had a great time exploring an even higher waterfall with an awesome slide at the top. Our group ended up somewhat regretting our decision not to hike further, so the thought for the day was not to ever say no!
To top off this already amazing adventure, we went river rafting as our final activity. With two people in each boat, we rafted down the river as fast as possible. It was totally hilarious and I couldn’t stop laughing every time we passed through a mini-waterfall.
All in all this adventure was a pleasure. So many lovely people, so much fun, so much stunning scenery and such great activities. I wasn’t the only one to enjoy it so much; by the end of the trip, I think most people didn’t want to return to Shanghai! Huangshan definitely lived up to the hype – and more.