The alarm went off for the second morning at 5.30 am. We woke to the sun glaring through the crack in the curtains, what a difference a day made. We were off to climb the Huàngshàn mountains, commonly known as the yellow mountains or for the movie buffs the scenery in Avatar!
Steven packed us off in the taxi, 40 mins later we were transferred to the bus which would take us to the start line. All pretty uneventful until we got to the ticket purchasing, since the yellow mountains are a UNESCO sight they charge a whooping £23 each for the privilege to climb them. Sarah, had a student card and got in half price and managed to bag Danielle a student rate. Not to be out done John showed his ‘student card’ aka his driving licence and secured a cut price ticket for himself and full price for Karen.
Feeling chuffed we headed to the ticket turn style. Karen went thru with no problems but unlucky the one guy who understood English was on the gate and recognised John’s driving licence- back to go and collect a full price ticket! Danielle was also caught. O well at least we tried.
We had 2 choices to get up the mountain, option 1 take the cable car with the Chinese tourists and their walking poles for an additional £8 or go by foot up the paved path. We opted for the latter.
Finally on our way, we climbed the 7.5km eastern trail up the mountain in less than 2 hours. Stopping along the way for fantastic photos and to overtake porters. It was a tough climb of continuous stairs. Karen’s knee which she hurt in Sapa trekking started to complain about all the climbing but we kept going at a continuous pace. The views were fabulous so we soon forgot about the climb.
Along the way we had music to keep our spirits high, the Chinese of all ages seem to not use ear phones and prefer to let everyone hear their music. We had a good mix from Chinese opera to UK and US Dance and Pop music.
At the top we took more photos, Danielle was great at asking people to move out the way to get the best shot. Up here the walking had just begun, we had a map of several trails Steven had carefully plotted for us. John navigated us girls along the route. We had a fantastic day, telling stories and laughing along the way, sharing our picnics and taking lots of photos. The scenery just got better and better, highlights included Beginning to Believe Peak and the West Sea Canyon.
Tired but with cameras full of awesome shots we took the cable car down so we were in time to catch the last bus. There was time for a quick celebratory ice cream at the bottom.
Back at Steven’s we welcomed a hot shower and enjoyed a final supper together. The girls were flying back to Shanghai that evening.