Thursday, September 15, 2005

Gotta Climb 'Em All

Reputedly the most famous and most beautiful mountain in China is Huang Shan (Yellow Mountain). Well, seeing as I've already climbed 2 I thought I might add another one to the list. And there's definitely no argument about it being pretty. For those of you who are closet geologists (and are too afraid to admit it) the mountain is a fine-crystal granite extrusion, dating from the Mesozoic era, with many longitudinal joints. Now I don't really know what all that means (although I did do geology at school) but one thing it does mean is that there are tons of crags, outcrops and dodgy-shaped rocks; and this being China many of them have obscure names such as "pig-headed monk eating watermelon" or "two cats chasing a mouse". The mountain is also home to many wild and endangered animals, but you won't see them due to the bellowing hordes of Chinese tourists. Ah well, it would've been worse during the holidays or on a weekend ... or if the entrance ticket cost less. I can't believe they charge $24 just to go up a mountain (plus you pay extra if you want to use the cable car). Though luckily I managed to get in for half price with my (fake) student ID which I bought in Bangkok (it's really turning out to be a tidy little investment). The mountain has the added bonus of having some (again, overpriced) hot springs at the bottom, so that after a days hiking you can pamper yourself (now where was that when I needed it after Emei Shan!).

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