Although I took lots of beautiful photos, the pictures do not do it justice. Famous for both sunset and sunrise, I went to Huangshan with a small group, including my daughter and father, and stayed overnight at a typically "no frills" mountain hotel. The mountain range is vast and to get to the hotel, we took a cable car up most of the way and then walked for four hours to get to our hotel. The scenery was breath-taking and the time flew by.
Sunset did not disappoint. With every centimeter that the sun went down, I would take three or four more shots, saying, "It can't get better than this," thinking I was taking the best sunset shot at that particular moment. Yet, it just kept getting better.
When the alarm went off at 4:30 for the morning hike to see the sunrise, it felt like I had not slept. I threw on the warm clothes I had brought and grabbed the parka that the hotel provides for those unprepared for the cold mornings on the mountain. Sunrise was even better than the sunset.
There is a sense of serenity and peace on Chinese mountains. Perhaps it's the thousands of pilgrims who climb the mountains to worship and give thanks. Or the presence of little Buddhist and Taoist temples dotting the mountainside. Perhaps that sense of calm just emanates from the sheer beauty of the trees growing out of the rock faces or the layer upon layer of mountains in the distance. Whatever the reason, I was able to walk another six hours the next day, hiking from one peak to the next, up and down thousands of stairs, without feeling tired or sore, smiling all the way.
I hope that all travelers get to experience a Chinese mountain. Please contact me know if you would like to visit Huangshan, or another mountain, but make sure you get in killer shape first!