Tai Shan, peaking at 1600 meters, completely exceeded our expectations. We thought we'd be killing a few days waiting for D'Lynn's parents..
. we thought their would be thousands of tourist climbing the sacred mountain.... however, there were not. We have learned that the Chinese don't have the hiker / climber / runner mentality that some have out west. They walk and bike to work, many work hard all day, and the last thing they want to do (fair enough) is to spend their holiday hiking some mountain. There is a road that will take you halfway up the side of Tai Shan and a cable car to take you the remainder... most Chinese took that option. We hiked the entire way, taking 2 days for the ancient, stone-stepped hike. 7,400 steps later (and burning calves for a week) we made it to the top! Great hike, and as the story goes, now that we have completed the journey, we're sure to live to 100... time will tell.
So, we arrived Beijing on the 29th of October and had 7 days to kill before D'Lynn's parents met us in the nation's capitol. We basically had 2 options: 1) Hike the great wall for few days or 2) Climb the most holy mountain in the world, Tai Shan, according to the Han Chinese. Our first choice was actually to hike the wall for a few days. We got our sleeping bags ready and were set to go to a desolate portion of the wall and hike it for 2 days. As we were leaving the hotel we learned the local bus no longer went to that portion of the wall... we took that as a sign, went to the train station and 2 hours later were on a 7 hour train to Tai'an, the jumping-off city to Tai Shan -- where, as the legend goes,... the place where the sun first rose.