Monday was the day of our climb and we started off the journey from our hotel with a taxi ride to the Huang shan area, followed by a bus ride up the mountain and last but not least a cable car ride to get to the scenic areas. Unfortunately, for us,it started raining as soon as we got to the cable car area and the clouds closed in on us leaving us with a total white-out as we took the cable car ride up the mountain. As we slowly made our way to our accommodation it was raining intermittently non-stop which not only made our climb slow and very wet but also blocked what was supposed to be a very scenic hike up the mountain.
After a few hours of being cold and wet, we decided to break for lunch. It was time to break out the instant rice we had bought the day before and it was a totally new thing for me. The packaging had an interesting way of heating up our food, where all we had to do was pour water into the bottom of the box and it would cause an exothermic reaction and give us hot food without a flame or cooking. It was really amazing to have hot food while we were all still cold and wet. However, the good times did not last as while our food was heating it started to rain heavily and we had to take shelter in a hotel to eat our food and wait out the rain.
Finally, after the rain slowed down and a few more hours of hiking we were finally at our accommodations. We rested for some time before having dinner and trying to catch the sunset.
As we started to make our way to one of the viewing points near our hotel we were not very hopeful of catching the sunrise as the fog was still very thick but as we got closer the fog started to clear and for the first time since we started our climb we could actually see more than 20 meters ahead of us. When we finally reached the viewing point we were able to see the mountains, peaks, and valleys that surrounded us. We all scrambled to get pictures of the scenic view in front of us and personal portraits with the mountains in the background.
The mountains were truly alive as the fog and light changed by the minute and one part of the mountain could be clear one moment and the next moment obscured. The window of time we had was short, about 15 minutes and by the time the 15 minutes were up, the fog had already rolled back in and everything was white again. The experience was truly magical as the clouds parted and gave us a brief but amazing view of the mountain range.
The next day we woke up at 3.30am to try to catch the sunrise but alas we did not have the same luck we did the day before and by 5.30am we were making our way down the mountain by taking the cable car and taking a bus back to Hangzhou for a well-deserved rest.
On Saturday, it was time for another climb but this time one that was closer to home and that I had heard about from my senior and that hill was bao shi shan(宝石山). This place was located at the northern part of west lake and it was supposed to be not too difficult and relaxing climb. It turns out to be true as after about an hour we had already reached the peak of the hill and began to explore the different attraction on the hill. We discovered that the main attraction was the pagoda on the hill which was surrounded by large boulders and we all proceeded to climb them to get a gorgeous view of the west lake area. Some of the boulders were easy to climb while others were much harder with some visitors wearing climbing shoes in order to practice their outdoor bouldering on these seemingly easy climbs. We then proceeded down the mountain and went for a relaxing walk around the west lake area before proceeding for dinner and back to our hostel for a well-deserved rest.