Scared of Heights? Look Away Now…!
So scary I can’t even selfie
If you’ve heard of Xi’an at all, it’s probably down to the Terracotta Army being located there(ish).
In all honesty, this was the main reason Steve and I added Xi’an to our China itinerary in the first place. The Terracotta Army was massively impressive, and I’m glad I was able to tick it off our bucket list, but there’s actually loads more to Xi’an than that one attraction.
The city itself is friendly, laid-back (well, as far as any immensely populated, busy city can be!), picturesque and lively (adjectives aplenty here!). The walls are impressive (and good for a cycle around), and there’s no shortage of Western comforts here (Steve needs his Starbucks every morning or he’s pretty much comatose for the day).
Xian cycling selfie
But enough about that…if you’re visiting my blogs, it’s because of your love for the Great Outdoors, so let’s leave the city and head for…
Hua Shan (Mount Hua)!
A Little Unexpected…
When I read about Hua Shan in Lonely Planet, I envisioned an escape from the loudness and hustle and bustle of the Chinese cities. I imagined solitude and peacefulness. I pictured Steve and I walking serenely, possibly even hand-in-hand, along dirt tracks and rolling hills.
Well, the hill bit was right. But that’s about it.
a little bit Brokeback Mountain, methinks…
The place was packed out with tourists – mostly Chinese. The scenery was beautiful (some of the mountains don’t actually look real! More like papier mache creations!), but it was shockingly busy and noisy!
they look like ants from here
Hua Shan consists of 5 peaks (North, South, East, West and Central), all dotted with a mix of temples, cafes and food stalls. For the sake of time, we opted (as most people do) to take the cable car up the West peak to save ourselves (and our legs!) a good few hours. A wise decision, given the heat (although I’d insisted we both pack jumpers in case it was cold on top of the mountain; chance would be a fine thing!).
The Plank Walk. Do NOT Look Down…
Undoubtedly, this was the main attraction for me, and one of the main reasons for our visit to Hua Shan.
Normally, I’m not afraid of heights.
The only reason that this 2000m drop wouldn’t scare you is if you were a, blind or b, suicidal.
the brave people ahead of us
Located on the South Peak, the Plank Walk is an uber-narrow PLANK (say what you see!) attached to the side of the peak. You don a harness so you can attach yourself to the ropes so you can’t actually plummet to your death on the mountain, but it’s still, in the words of my faithful Lonely Planet, ‘scary as hell’.
making my way to the plank
My bottle had COMPLETELY gone by the time I’d climbed down the 20m ‘ladder’ to the plank platform. I’m pretty sure Steve only managed to get down because he was sandwiched between 2 other climbers, so there was, therefore, zero opportunity to back out at that point!
If a picture speaks a thousand words, I really don’t need to say anymore!