Yellow hair for Yellow Mountain.

Week 6 of ALP

For some reason, I decided to join a group of 6 other guys to go to Huangshan over a period of 3 days, from Sunday morning to Tuesday evening.

And over these 3 days, I can successfully say I’ve scoured about 70% of what Huangshan had to offer. Which is mostly breathtakingly views after breathtakingly climbs up breathtakingly steep stairs. If you get the drift.

After reaching the base of Huangshan, I had the very bright idea of saving 80 yuan. Rather than taking the cable car, I decided to walk

These are the 3 people who followed me on my expedition. Joel, Wesley and Dominic from left to right. Remember Joel and Wesley. They are important.

Thus, we trudged up the stairs moving approximately 1000m vertically straight up and 10km total.

To be honest, I did not factor in that Wesley (guy with the blue bag and giant smile) had about 10 kg of water with him. It was a painful struggle. We alternated carrying bags and somehow, we made it to the top. Now for those who think it’s was a great idea, the rest who took the cable car made our 2-hour journey in 10 minutes. So it’s up to you to decide

We camped in the paiyunlow hotel where it was just a room with 3 bunkbeds and a cot. With 7 wet smelly men in a small area…It really did feel like a second home.

This is the view from Pan Yun Low, just 200m down from our hotel. Worth the trip? I think it was.

Let me tell you the recurring theme of our Huangshan trip. Rain and mist, with tantalising tinges of clear sky.

The next morning, we went to chase the sunrise. Waking up early at 4am, we braved rain and wet misty weather to arrive at GuangMingDing. Praying to get a glimpse of a sunrise.

This is what we got.

What is that? Mist. Mist and more mist. The sun was hidden and hopes of a good sunrise were crushed.

Here’s a thought though. It’s not what you see. It’s what you experience. And us 7 were the idiots who did it. We made it up to a peak before the sun did.

We waited a while hoping for the mist to disappear, to reveal something. It didn’t.

I have this thing for being high…The climber within.

Anyway, we headed back.

At 11am, the rain was pouring and Joel decided it was time for the next expedition. We were going down the mountain on the other side where there were better views. Here is the 5 of us that went first.

Joel, Wesley, YanJun, Issac and I. left to right.

And here are the photos.

Finally, bottom station in sight.

Now there are moments in your life where you’d make a decision that defines you. For me, this was one of them. On one hand, we could cable car up, cut short our journey and save a lot of wet tiring steps. On the other, an experience I’d remember and possibly laugh about for a long time. Joel wanted to go the long way. And Wesley and I decided to follow. Our long way around was to walk further down the valley, cross the river and then climb all the way back to the upper station. Of course, we had Wesley’s bag again. Why we had it with us is a story too long to tell.

So…off we trudged.

In keeping with the theme, the weather kept up a steady drizzle. In this pic, you may wonder where the bag was. I was carrying it. It was lighter. But still heavy.

I have no more photos of the climb up. It was as bad as the first day. But the camaraderie we had was incredible. And the simple joy of finding a slightly drier cave, and pulling out oreo bars and canned tuna will be something I will remember in the years to come. Us 3 climbed for 2 hours and finally reached the upper station. Where we met with the other Fred and Dom who left 2 hours after us, went the same way and took the cable car up.

Here’s the 5 of us re-enacting band poses.

We started walking back to the hotel.

We went back to our hotel, 3 of us tired, cramping and pretty darn happy with how we spent the day.

Last day in Huangshan.

Morning view was again from Pan Yun Low, pretty darn misty. I was alone since it was raining and the rest were not interested. But sometimes, moments do come.

This was a 30s window in which the wind blew the mist away. And I got this photo.

3 hours later it was time to leave the hotel. Fred and Dom decided to head straight down while the rest decided to explore 2 more peaks before calling it quits. So, off we went. Of course, I couldn’t resist and went back to Pan Yun Low for one last photo. And it was worth it.

Then we went up to the peak in search of a view.

Why do I make this face?

This is why. Huangshan had no chill. There was mist just surrounding the peak.

Oh well, off to the next one. We walked and walked hoping for the next view to be better.

Finally it was. This is hou zi guan hai. Monkey gazing over a sea of clouds. And it was wonderful.

And this is me, gazing over photographers taking photos.

Standing still on a rock, being buffeted by winds, trying not to fall off. I enjoyed it immensely.

And the last peak, We headed to (I kid you not) begin-to-believe peak. And we believed, up till we got there.

I think Huangshan had a good laugh at us.

But well, when life gives you lemons.

Sit on a cliff

Take a picture, make something. Lemonade maybe?

And down we went. Back the same way we came up on Sunday afternoon. It was a hell of a lot easier with lighter bags.

Our personal Zen river halfway down. Damp shoes became wet here.

We had a nice drizzle all the way down. And it was moist walking.

And it was a long road… 3 hours long.

But we reached the bottom.

And that was Huangshan.

Some outtakes. We saw signs for special views or items. Wesley and I tried our best to come up with our interpretation of them. Credits to Joel for photography

Mirror rock

Peacock Tree

Lion’s Peak ( couldn’t be seen through the mist)

Stone monkey gazing over clouds.

Dragons foot (the tree root was supposed to look like one. We didn’t see how)

Cock Tree (Balinese cockfighting anyone?)

Camel outcrop (YOU HAVE TO LIKE THIS ONE!)

And if you’ve actually made it down to the end of this blog…

Yellow Hair. Huangshan. Get it?

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