66 000 stairs to Heaven (or Hell?)
Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
66Trip End Dec 31, 2006
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2.5 hours bus south of Chengdu lies Mount Emei - the tallest (3100m) of the 4 holy mountains for Chinese Buddhists. The mountain is also a national park, and hosts some of the oldest monasteries in China and... wild monkeys!
8AM on 16th May - our loooong way up begins - all monasteries are linked to each other by carved stairs in the mountains, so no risk to get lost, but also no way to escape the stairs. So one step after another we climbed from the bottom (800m) to the Golden Summit (3100m) in no less than 8.5 hours! Very challenging for the front thighs, for the morale (will it ever ends???), but so rewarding! A sea of clouds and mountains peaks, a giant golden Buddha statue at the top, a wonderful sunset / sunrise and a good night at the top..
- Climbed 8.5 hours up, 8 hours down in 2 days (3 days after our legs are still screaming)
- Estimated number of steps up and down: 60,000 +
- Seen about 10 wild monkeys, including one eating a bag of crisps (not so wild after all?)
- Met many monks and visited about 10 monasteries, built during the Qin dynasty
- Met dozens of porters on the way up and down, each carrying 2 bags of ciment (25 kg each bag) for the construction of a massive monastery at the top - and we are complaining?
One of the most challenging / rewarding experience during this trip!