1442 steps to the top of the mountain!
Today is day twenty-one of my travels around parts of China and thankfully I purchased a VPN otherwise I would not have access to my Gmail/Google or WordPress as China has completely blocked all access. So this wonderful VPN allows me to post on my blog.
About a week ago I was visiting Jilin which is a province in the north/west of China and borders DPRK (North Korea). I had wanted to visit Changbaishan which is the tallest mountain peak in North China and runs through three Chinese provinces including Jilin and to the border of DPRK.
(map courtesy of internet)
After a couple of days in Changchun (the capital of Jilin) with our tour guide, my friend and I drove nearly five hours to reach our location at a ski resort in Changbaishan. Parts of this resort were a little kitschy but the hotel was lovely (and bed comfy not like usual Chinese beds ie hard as bricks). After we settled in, we went for a walk around the man-made lake looking at the ‘interesting’ blow up bears, which I still have no idea why there are there!!The lake area was rather lovely at night and I managed to capture a couple of nice photos.We did enjoy a great Chinese dinner at a nearby restaurant. Spicy tofu, eggplant [not great looking in my photo but absolutely delicious) and fried potatoes – probably not all that healthy but as it was our only meal of the day we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Early the next day we took two buses to the base of the mountain. It’s actually a dormant volcano with the last eruption in 1702 and now has a lake in the crater named Tianchi Lake which is the source of the Songhua River. The last eruption was in 1702 A.D.
So off we trudge up these steps with a reminder every 100 steps how far you had walked (or how far you had to walk depending on whether you are glass half full type of person; on this day I was not).And a sign stating the obvious!I must say though that the views back down the mountain were pretty special. Along the way there are very fit [old] Chinese men waiting near a small carriage and for a huge fee you can be carried up to the top like an Emperor…but we chose to walk.We took lots of breaks along the way and then finally arrived having chatted to a South Korean film crew along the way who asked for an interview at the top. I told them if I can breath when I arrived, I would partake in an interview.
As I mentioned Lake Tianchi is at the top and it was definitely worth the climb. Our guide told us that many people don’t get to see the lake because the fog is thick on most days. Fortunately for us we had full views of the lake and surrounding mountains.And without the fog we also were able to see the China and North Korea 37 boundary marker along with the dividing mountains of China and North Korea on the North Korean side.It was then time for my interview with the South Korean film crew, shame I had windswept hair [but not in a good way]…
After which we commenced the trek back down – I actually think the ‘going down’ was harder than the ‘going up’…hard on the old knees!!At the base of the mountain we stopped off and walked around the national park [more on that later], then two more buses to get back to our hotel where I collapsed!!