The Climb

Trip Start Apr 02, 2006
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Trip End May 02, 2006


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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Peak

We took our small backpacks and made them smaller for the two day hike up to the top of Emei Shan, the Mountain of Gods, and then to the upper Monastery for the night. We loaded up in the public bus for our ride up to the cable car, which were more packed, so we could hike to the peak. We fought off the colder weather, and the vendors to reach the highest "construction site" in China. Like everywhere in China the top Monastery was being redone and was a mess.

The Upper Monastery
After fighting the crowds, public transportation, and one of the scariest bathrooms at the cafe so far we started the hike up to the upper monastery for the night. All day we had been carrying "Monkey Sticks," basically canes, to fight off the monkeys along the trail. We started our hike through beautiful forests and along a flowing river. It was the most peaceful place in China, until we hit Monkey Way. Here there were a bunch of Monkeys looking for food, of course the Chinese Government was selling Monkey food there. We later found out that they train the Monkeys to come down in shifts to ask for food from the tourists. At the end of the day there was little drama from the monkeys and no one used the sticks we had brought.

We were not home free though, as there were thousands of stairs to climb to get to the Monastery. It seemed we climbed forever and then finally we saw it. "The Hard Wok Cafe" the end of the trail and the one place in China that had Ice Cold Beer!!! It never tasted so good. After our beer we walked the final staircase to our monastery hotel.

The big highlights of this Monastery was there hot water shower (nothing beats showering with Monks) and the toilets that looked out over the valley. We indulged in both highlights and then had dinner at the Hard Wok Cafe before retiring for the night.

The Walk Home
The monks gave us a break by only waking us up at 5:00AM, just in time for our 7:00AM Tai Chi lesson with our guide. I guess that semester of Tai Chi in college didn't really sick with me (Sorry Mom and Dad, but at least I still remember Accounting...I think). After we ate our Pancakes and started down for the six hour hike back down.

We were hit by another set of steps going up, but for the most part it was a nice walk down. At the end our reward was a trip to the hot springs for a real shower and some hot tubbing. The place was pretty roguish with sulfur pools, rose pools, wine pools, etc. There were also really cold pools and the hottest pool I have ever touched, although I could only put my feet in it for like 8 seconds. It was fun, but the downfall was that our clothes still smell of sulfur!
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