Yesterday was a travel day, where I traveled from Hangzhou to the Huang Shan area.
The first part was by train (business class) to Huangshan North Station, where I took an hour-long shuttle bus ride to the scenic area.
My hotel was mere steps from the park entrance, surrounded by restaurants and other hotels.
It's off-season in the area, the temperature on the mountain is -5 degrees, and even down here in the valley, it's freezing cold.
I prepared for the 30-degree temperatures of Shanghai, but not for this, so I went shopping for thermal underwear to keep myself warm.
I woke up early this morning, got some breakfast at one of the many stalls outside, and headed to the park entrance.
There are shuttle buses headed for one of the cable cars up the mountain, and you can pick your own route.
I chose to go counter-clockwise through the Yungu cable car, because someone recommended that to me. (A great choice, as you'll walk slightly more downhill overall).
It quickly became clear just how cold it was through the copious amounts of ice on every tree.
I followed the trail north through places on the map such as “Being to-believe park” and “Stone Monkey Watching The Sea”.
I thought the times posted between sections on the map were a bit pessimistic, but if you stop every 10 meters to take even more photos, they're pretty accurate!
The next section of the trail, near the "West Sea Grand Canyon," had one of the most beautiful views.
It looked like the traditional Chinese paintings of mountain peaks poking through the clouds.
After the Grand Canyon, we descended down to the valley floor.
This required going through the clouds.
On the valley floor was a funicular to go up the other side of the mountain. (This is where the counter-clockwise loop was a smart idea; the other way around, you'd go down with the funicular and have to walk up the other side).
After a short ride we were back above the clouds with new views.
Instead of making a half-loop where you’d go down the Yuping cable way, I opted to go for a full loop, as it was just after lunch with plenty of time left.
One of the peaks required me to get down the trail you see in the photo here and back up the other side, quite a workout! Then I had to do the same thing in reverse to get back to the loop.
At some point, there was the option to walk down the mountain instead of taking the cable car down, but I didn't know when the last shuttle bus would leave from the park, and I didn't want to find out the hard way.
In hind sight, it was a good decision because the walk down would have taken about three hours, leaving me just 20 minutes of wiggle room between getting down and the last bus.
With the cable car, it only took 10 minutes instead of the 3 hours posted. The shuttle bus brought me back to the park entrance at around five in the evening, time for a shower and then dinner at a local restaurant with a friendly dog that wanted lots of pets.
For completeness sake here’s the route I took going counter-clockwise.
The next day it was a travel day again. I took the shuttle bus back to the station and from there the train to Wuhan.
There were only four trains to Wuhan and only one to the station I needed to go to (Hankou), which left after 16:00 in the afternoon.
This meant I dragged every step of the trip out as much as possible by checking out at noon, getting lunch and then hanging around the station for an hour or two before the train left.
In the evening I arrived at Wuhan and went straight to the hotel.