It’s Father’s Day today and I’m going to tell you how Dad and I climbed Huashan. Enjoy!
No trip to Xian is complete without an excursion to Huashan. We signed up for a local day tour and ended up packed on a tour bus with lots of domestic tourists. We had a mandatory rest stop where we endured a lecture extolling the virtues of traditional Chinese medicine. I couldn’t help being an utter tourist by taking pictures of the lecturer telling us that we absolutely had to buy their herbs grown in the foothills of Huashan.
Thankfully, the tour bus deposited us at the cable car station and our guide told us to return at the alloted time. The view had already started to be amazing before we got on the cable car. I’d never seen such sheer, stark rock formations before.
Looking down from the cable car, we were incredibly glad that we didn’t do the mad Western backpacker thing of legging it up ourselves. The stairs seemed not just steep…
… but also never-ending!
There was a lot more climbing to be done after we got off the cable car. True to Chinese form, mountain climbing was as usual stair-climbing. Here we clambered up behind ancient porters carrying up supplies the age-old way. Everything at the top was very expensive simply because it was pure human power that brought them up the last leg. I was put to shame how fast these porters overtook me on the way up.
There were lots of routes up to the various peaks, some shorter but steeper than others. This one was so steep it was almost vertical!
The main route up was yet another incredibly steep and unbelievably unending stairway. There were signs all along the way exhorting people to either stop and take pictures or concentrate on moving up, not both. A lot of people gave up around this area. Mum got up that flight of stairs, became really tired and then headed back down to wait for us.
Dad and I soldiered on. I ran on ahead and waited for him just at the peak because I wanted a bit of a workout. Dad had to take it easy because of his heart. It’s just as well that we warmed up from the exercise as the temperature dropped quite drastically as we reached the top. I had to put on the spare top I had in my bag.
Towards the top, the mist started rolling in and the stairs stopped. It felt a lot more like I was climbing the mountain rather than stairs at this point.
Dad was really sporting as he posed at the last push to the top. Look, no hands!
And here we are at the West Peak, we made it!
We enjoyed the view on the much easier way down and took many photos of each other.
After a while I got a little grumpy at having to smile and pose for the photos, my bad. Dad was very happy to take loads of them though! Here’s me looking slightly more cheerful.
We then headed to the much easier North Peak before calling it a day. This was a cake walk and we covered it in 45 minutes compared to about three hours or so for the West Peak.
This peak was also the one that shot to fa me in Louis Cha’s swordfighting novels. There were too many people waiting their turn to take a piece with this contrived piece of rock so I didn’t do the classic swordfighting pose. Such a pity!
After that we headed back down and collected Mum before heading back to the cable cars. Here they are, Dad’s doing his victory hands and Mum’s amused as usual.
Happy Father’s Day all!