Early in the morning at 7am, the young and nice lad sent us to the cable car station (Yungu New Cableway) at the back mountain, or better known as Eastern side in most maps, for just RMB50. But do bear in mind, locals do not know what is Eastern Steps or Western Route. To them, it’s just back or front mountain.
My map, the best out of the 3 from my collection.
When we arrived at the cable car station, the first thing i did was to hop into its office. Good laawwwdd, it was freezing cold! It was snowing by then already but very lightly. The officers were quite shocked to see me or rather, us, popping in just like that. But it was too cold! I can’t help it. With my most dazzling smile ever, i told them sweetly that i can’t take the cold outside and they nodded. Then, i unashamedly proceeded to station myself right in front of the heater for at least 15 minutes.
Lest you think i didn’t dressed for the weather, i did. I had my North Face Summit fleece and its shell on, together with thermals and more sweaters. I was no different than a very stuffed xiao long bao, really.
The officers were rather nice. They allowed us to stay in there for as long as we wanted. I even managed to make small talk with them and they were really quite friendly! In fact, i was offered a chair when 1 of them saw how i struggled to pull my pants up — ahem.. my water proof bottom ah, of course i had my proper pants on (!) — with so so much clothes on! I was as clumsy as Humpty Dumpty, to say the least.
We were the earliest to arrive at the station. The ticket office wasn’t opened yet as they were waiting for green light from the maintenance officers. A while later, we took turns to have our arses aired in the cold, queuing up to get our entrance (RMB200) and cable car tickets (RMB80).
Shortly after we had all our Gore-tex on, we practically r0lled over to another snaking queue, only this time, it was for the cable car. And so the highlight of our trip began.
photos unedited, taken by Canon Ixus 300
The cable car was nice and comfortable but my journey up wasn’t quite an enjoyable one. Don’t get me wrong, our transport was perfectly safe, clean and all. It was just me.. too cold for my own comfort. Ironically, the middle aged lady who sat opposite me wore only 2-3 thin layers and was gloves-less! I asked if she was cold and she shook her head. She later offered me her hands and goodness gracious me, her hands were warm, like really warm!! :O
How is that even possible huh?
The first thing that hit us when we stepped out from the cable car station on the mountain was the snow. It can no longer be categorized as light snow anymore. It was snowing quite heavily!
All i saw then was people scrambling to get the snow spikes for the shoes.
Initially, i brushed off the thought of getting it… mainly because of the sturdy trekking boots i had on. But a mere minute later, i changed my mind. Safety… always, always comes first. It didn’t matter if i didn’t need it. The thought of having the snow spikes on gave me more confidence and assurance. It was almost like buying myself an insurance. So in the end, the girls and i got ourselves 3 pairs of brand new snow spikes, just for that peace of mind. I must say, it was indeed, a decision well made.
From the cable car station, we needed to trek for another 1.5 hours to our hotel. No short cuts, no cars. Just you and your legs. That’s Huangshan for you :)
I planned our hotels according to the route we would trek on the days we will be spending on the mountain.
There are a good number of comfortable hotels on Huangshan with almost similar prices because they are managed by the same management. But if you are on budget, there are dorms available.
Don’t laugh… but this was my first experience with snow. :)
It was amazing. I loved it.
Had i worn more layers or a much thicker jacket, i would definitely enjoy it more.
The trek to our hotel was quite a torturous one. As i mentioned, the snow was getting heavier and heavier but strangely, i was getting colder and colder despite carrying a 10+ kg backpack + 2-3kg slingback and probably had 4kg of clothing on me.
I was cold. Period.
I was so cold that i didn’t even bother to take any photographs of the amazing scenery and views, right from Mushroom Pavilion, passing through Harp Pine to Black Tiger Pine.
I was so cold that i didn’t even bother to get my sunnies out, which was right on top of my backpack’s small pocket, even though the snow kept getting into my eyes and i had trouble opening them.
That was not the primary reason why i didn’t whip out the camera or the sunnies.
It was my toes.
For a while, i thought i was gonna lose them! :(
I cleverly had only a pair of socks on. No thermal pants over them. No nothing. Just 1 pair of good old pathetic socks and my boots.
I kept asking the girlfriend who’s a doctor whether i’d lose them to frostbite! I almost went out of my mind i tell you because i really still wanna wear nice open toe high heels you know. :( The doc assured me that i wouldn’t, as long as i kept moving. And so i did. Kept moving. No stopping. Faster and faster. Hoping the toes would warm up a little.
It was only at Beihai Hotel that i was better, much much better.
The toes felt alright again. *Phew!*
The first thing we did when we checked in at Paiyunlou Hotel was to boil hot water.
Nope, not for my toes anymore.
It was for our instant noodles!
Aaaahhh.. total bliss i tell you.
Seriously. Slurrrrping hot instant noodle had never felt so damn good before, like ever.