Up early because we had heard the breakfast buffet runs out by 7:30! We had plenty to eat, though.
Met out guide and driver at 8:30 for the drive to the Huangshan Scenic Area, about an hour's drive. The Huangshan or the Yellow Mountains are some of the most famous mountains in China, and they were listed in 1990 as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site.
They are not called the Yellow Mountains because they are yellow, but they were named (in 747 CE) after the legendary Yellow Emperor, the mythical ancestor of the Chinese who is said to have lived, refined precious medicines, became a supernatural being, and rose into heaven from here.
We drove through mountain valleys along a shallow river. There were rice paddies in the valley, but in this season they are filled with chrysanthemums. The white and yellow varieties are grown for tea, with the blossoms hand-cut and dried. The lower mountainsides were covered with tea bushes. Several times we passed large colonies of beehives. The mountains were mostly covered with tall bamboo forests, with the feathery tops bending downhill.
In the town of Tangkou (elevation 789 m/2,588') at the foot of Huangshan, we waited for our guide to get us special permission to drive up to the cable car station. The rest of the crowds had to take shuttle buses. We zigzagged up into the mountains, passing a hot springs resort.
The Huangshan are famous for five things, one being the hot springs. The other four are the picturesque pine trees, the oddly-shaped rocks, the sea of clouds below the peaks, and winter landscapes. We were able to see only two of these wonders in person, but we are happy.
We arrived at the Yungu Cable Car station at nearly 890 m/2,920' above sea level. Here we waited in a queue for 45 minutes to board the 8-person gondolas:
s of the Sorbus amabilis/Huangshan Rowan:
Half a Pinus hwangshanensis/Huangshan Pine:
The queue to climb to the top of Now I Believe Peak:
Not everyone understood this sign:
Porters carry supplies 9 km/5.5 miles up the mountain:
He was an influential reformist leader through his position as Chairman of the Central Military Commission.
We checked into the Beihai Hotel (elevation 1,630 m/5,348'):
Continued in Huangshan PM.