Continued from Traipsing Huangshan — Part 1

Day 7

Hotel : Baiyun

Route of the day : Purple Cloud Peak for sunrise – hotel – Refreshing Terrace – Stone Monkey Watching The Sea – Lion Peak – hotel – Flying Over Rock (Feilai Stone) – Bright Top – Baiyun Hotel

Today, we woke up super early to catch the famous Huangshan sunrise. Okayyy, not as early as we’d planned to but still OK-larr. The reason we slept in for another 15 minutes was, “Too early! Too cold! Let’s sleep in for another 15 minutes. It might not be that cold then”, and in unison, we all agreed to it. HAHAHA! Lame.

The best part of sleeping in?

We still managed to trek to the viewing site before the sunrise! YAY! In fact, i think we waited for a good 10 minutes before the first ray of the gorgeous golden sunlight broke out. All that while during the wait, no chattering, no noise, no nothing, occasionally  some foot steps and whispering but that’s about it. Nice.

After witnessing one of the most gorgeous sunrises on Earth, we lingered on while the rest of the humans slowly disappeared. I, as usual, must have my Snickers. Grin. Yeahhh, i’ve no idea why as well but every time i’m on a mountain top especially after sunrise, i’d wanna have Snickers. *wrinkles nose & shrugs* Rewarding oneself, perhaps? Comfort food? I really don’t know.

While the rest of the gfs, well… i’m pretty sure you can already guess what we would be up to. Hahahahaaa! After all, we are all born in the year of monkeys.. so expect nothing less! :P

from the friend’s camera, who didn’t allow me to swallow my mouthful of Snickers before snapping. Babi.

After we had enough fun, we then carefully made our way down back to the hotel. Long day ahead!

But not without accidents though. I have no idea how i can slip and fall so easily!!! Not once, not twice but thrice, despite having my snow spikes on! AIYOH. Luckily, all three times, i landed on my poor (but otherwise, well padded) buttocks and hurt the wrists a teeny weeny bit but that was all. No biggie. The gfs were mean! They couldn’t stop laughing lor.. hmphh. However, after my third fall, they decided that it wasn’t funny anymore and made me walked in front and they held my jacket from behind, just in case. :)

See that layer of ice on the stairs?

Perhaps now you can fathom why i fell after all! Riiiiight?

Aaaaiihssss.. i am so gonna make sure that i give the girls ‘How to use a DSLR’ crash course on our next trip. Like seriously!

Stone Monkey Watching The Sea

After our breakfast at the hotel and final packing, we headed out to play again!

This time, we headed to Refreshing Terrace, Stone Monkey Watching The Sea and Lion Peak before calling it a day. It was almost noon by then. Before checking out, we had our fill of food once more.

Nope, it’s not a myth. There *is* a basketball court on top of the mountain! Check out the photo (left) below.

The journey to our next hotel was not an easy one (think stairs, endless ones). It took us a couple of hours and i’d to make sure we were on track and not stray off for a long time. No one (well, i know i don’t, especially after my Mt Rinjani’s experience) likes trekking in the dark, especially in this sorta weather. So, staying focus was a must. Having said that, we still managed to monkey around quite a bit tho. Heh!

i like how the rubbish bin is not your usual plastic rubbish bin. ;)

and

can you spot anything unusual in one of the photos? eg, say, squirrel?

Isn’t Huangshan clean?

Too clean in fact!

Cleaners were everywhere sweeping the paths diligently and the toilets… well, let’s just put it this way, Singapore, shame on ya! :P

After a couple of hours, we finally reached Bright Top, the highest point on Huangshan. YAY! — Because that simply meant, we were near our next hotel!

At this point of time, no snow was visible anymore. *pouts* No more breathtaking and stunning views. Not much greens too (but better than Tibet though, like 1000x! :P)

One of the first few things that we’d do when we reached the hotel room was chope (reserve) our beds. HAHAHAA! And that doc, she’d go one step further, she’ll jump on them to make sure we cannot exchange with her sneakily when she was in shower or something. Lol! This gf of mine is a truly a gem (a nicer word for stone!) –>  won’t lift a finger to boil water, or do anything. All she does is, park herself on the bed permanently and demand us (mostly the engineer) to serve her. HAHA! But whaddaya know, we still love her all the same and sometimes, we really wonder why. *giggles*

Perhaps, like the macho gf said, In exchange, we get free entertainment 24/7!

Not too shabby eh? ;P

We wanted to check out the area around this hotel initially but unfortunately, it was that time of the day again when Papa Sun goes to sleep once more. Aiyah!

Yeah, that’s right, this weird bestie of mine, she brushes her teeth EVERYWHERE!! (more pics on this later!)

ps : but the girls are always sweet to me. knowing my tolerance for cold, i always get the bed nearest to the heater while the macho gf, who’s forever in the least layers, will get the bed nearest to the window. *smile* aren’t they the sweetest? :)

you may not be able to tell but the valley below.. it was thousands of feet down there! quite nerve wrecking as i snapped away..

Did i just scare you?

What? NO?

Darn!

Very well… i’ll stick to my original opening shot then. :P

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Day 6

Hmmm…

Tough.

Real tough.

I don’t know how to even begin this post of mine. So so many photos! Guess i’ll keep it simple ;)

Hotel : PaiYunLou

Route of the day : hotel – West Grand Canyon – hotel – Rock Watching Pavilion – hotel

PaiYunLou Hotel

As soon as we finished our instant noodle lunch after we checked in, we wasted no precious time but to go out and play again.

The hotel does provide thick, fluffy, marshmallow jackets for guests like myself, who sorta overestimated her North Face Summit fleece and jacket. Due to the weather condition, a large part of West Grand Canyon was closed. The only section that was open that day, or for the rest of March for that matter, was just a tiny fraction from the giant loop. I think we probably got to the first ring and that was it. The rest of the loop, from what i heard, was a little too dangerous to explore during this time of the year.

We were very disappointed.

I mean, that was the real reason why i picked the hotel!

Initially, i thought the loop would be open to at least ring 2. When i was asking around — i even called the hotel — no one could give me an answer. That was why i took the risk and booked ahead. But no matter, because we got to see other parts of Huangshan which i thought we would not be able to see! :)

Even though the trek to West Sea Grand Canyon was a short one, it still took us an hour plus to complete. It was too beautiful. We took our own sweet time to snap plenty of photos and monkey around. We also managed to just sit down and just smell the flowers snow. Nature at its best. It was impossible to ignore the beauty and just walk away. So very magnificent.

Surprisingly, nothing much went through the mind as i sat down in all that quietness with my eyes shut. It gotta be the serenity, the tranquility, the calmness, the beauty, the grandness…

Those moments were truly magical.

(i’m one of the rare few whose mind simply cannot stop churning even when i’m having a damn good body massage or when i’m meditating! terrible!).

It’s really a pity that my photography skill isn’t quite there yet to capture the magnificent mountain. :(

It’s really even more pitiful that i don’t have a wide angle lens to lug along with me. :((

These photos that you are seeing here, were taken on the tiny section of West Sea Grand Canyon. I simply can’t imagine the rest of the canyon, exactly what did we miss?!?

And more of the canyon…

Did i mention that the mountain is sparkling clean?

I was shocked to be honest…

And the toilets.. oh boy, you will want me to go there! Haha!

They are very very clean!

See the picture above, middle right?

The mountain has these cleaners working around the clock. For every.. say, 300m, you’ll see one. Impressed? I sure was!

After we patah balik to the hotel from the canyon, we marched ahead to Rock Watching Pavilion.

The initial plan was to catch sunset, but hmmm.. looking at the weather, we were extremely skeptical! Moreover, we didn’t have much time left before the sun set.. so in the end, before we could reach the Pavilion, we did a U-turn and went back to the hotel — trust me, you won’t wanna walk around in the dark, in this particular weather to be exact. However, the views to the Pavilion were quite something if not spectacular. Completely different from the canyon, but still… it took our breath away, literally, just as grub commented.

The stair case… goodness, it was never ending!

I was always the last one behind. Hahaa! Don’t pray pray (play play) okay, i may be slow.. but i was steady! And i was the photographer! Stopping a little more frequently and longer than the friends, who just whipped out their phones or compact camera, clicked and off again. Yeah.. excusesesesesesessss, i know! :P

Can you see my windburn in the picture above? Uh huh, windburn.. not sunburn. You can get windburn too! (explains the cold aye? the cold is always worse when there’s wind)

The windburn was horrid.

My cheeks and nose were red. The skin was extremely sensitive. By nightfall, i was a few shades darker than norm. Then the doc advised me to slap on layerssss of moisturizer and guess what? It worked! I was all OK again the next day. :)

I love this picture!

LOL!

Do you know why?

As you may have noticed, i like taking pictures without any humans in it, if possible. So, whenever i wanna snap a photo but the friends were in the way, i’ll shout, B-OFF! (for buzz off) Of course, it was awkward and uncomfortable to ask the friends to scramble off at first, but after a while, the friends told me to just shout B-OFF whenever i needed them to be, so.. B-OFF it was! Heh!

(yeah, such friends are hard to come by eh? that is why, i only travel with certain friends. even my bestie (Singapore’s), i dare not travel with her, yet. hahaahaha! oopss, i sure hope she is not reading this!)

Anyway.. back to the picture.

When i shouted B-OFF for this particular picture, this was how the friends scrambled off. Lol! They hid behind a tree! A skinny tree! *faint* Seriously! What were they thinking?!?! HAhaahhahaa!

Needless to say, i had to snap this picture.

So funny lorrrr!

Totally priceless. :)

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Note : to those who dare to rip off my photos without my permission, i’ll come after you with my parang!

Day 6

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.

Night 1 : PaiYunlou Hotel
Night 2 : Baiyun Hotel

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.

Anyway.

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.

But.

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!*

Beihai Hotel

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.

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