China – Huangshan Yellow Mountains

– OCTOBER 01, 2015

Huangshan (literally means Yellow Mountains), is a mountain range in southern Anhui province in eastern China.  Vegetation on the range is thickest below 1,100 meters, with trees growing up to the treeline at 1,800 meters.

The area is well known for its scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above.  Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of China’s major tourist destinations.  Huangshan is also the famous place for Chinese teas of high quality, such as Huangshan Maofeng, Keemun Black, and Blooming Tea.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The shuttle bus to start things off.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The shuttle bus to start things off.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – Here is the path to begin our ascent. It was over 8,000 steps for us on this mountain.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

From the top we then began our descent, but this is when we realized that we were right at the start of China’s National Day Golden Week.  The National Day Golden Week is the name given to an annual 7-day national holiday, implemented in 2000.  It begins around October 1st and offers Chinese workers three days of paid holiday, with the surrounding weekends are re-arranged so that workers in Chinese companies always have seven continuous days of holiday.  The National Day Golden Week is a period of greatly heightened travel activity to allow people to make long-distance family visits.  An estimated 28 million Chinese traveled during the first National Day Golden Week in 1999.  Today this number had increased to over 150 million travelling throughout China all at the same time.

It becomes impossible to book hotels, trains, buses and flights during this week off.  Luckily we had already booked our accommodations and transportation to the mountain areas (which was fortunate we chose the south area first since if we had gone to Beijing first we would have been there during a time comparable to the Olympic Games).  The walk up the mountain was pretty good, since most of the locals take the cable car ride up to the top of the mountain.  Going down was a very different story.  Most Chinese take the ride up, then walk down…and you’ll see in the pictures below how crazy it was.  It took us double the time to walk DOWN the mountain than it took to walk UP the mountain.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – These guys tried to skip ahead of the crowds by climbing up the side rocks and sliding down around curves.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – Cliffside walkways.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – This sweetheart was really trying to speak English with us while we got stuck in the huge crowds. She was really cute.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – Carved steps to Tiandu.

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – This is the Dolphin Stone. Various amazing rocks with special shapes are one of the features of Huangshan Geopark. The shape of this rock looks like a dolphin. The “main body” consists of medium-coarse grained granite and the “head” is the enclave of fine grained granite. This peculiar landscape was cause by differential weathering of these two rock types.

 

 

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – The walk down was jammed so packed that you took only one step every 3 or 4 seconds. It was brutally slow!

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains

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Huangshan Yellow Mountains – By the time we arrived at the bottom, it was packed at the bus line-up.

The mountain offered some spectacular views, despite the overwhelming amount of people.  The Chinese people don’t orderly line-up and walk through the paths…instead they step in front of people, push people out of the way, and even just stop & sit on the steps in the middle of a stairwell while a crowd is walking behind them.  Its not the Canadian way…that’s for sure.

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For more photos of our adventure go to our flickr account here.