We had a plan that we would both be able to visit Hua Shan, me with my love of a gruelling, hard workout, or a hike, and Husband with his love of seeing new places however knee pain and ankle pain and general loathing of all things that are steps. The plan went like this: Husband would get the cable car to the top and I would hike the 2ish hour climb to meet him, then we would look around for a while before both taking the cable car back down. Sounds a good plan yes? However, it was just not meant to be.
Problem number 1: the ticket office sold us the wrong ticket (even after repeated questions checking we were definitely going to the right spot for the cable car up to the North Peak) so we both arrived at the cable car point that would take us up to the West Peak. This peak's cable car did NOT feature the option to hike up underneath it, as the other one of the two did. Bm-Bm - fail.
This smoothly led to problem number 2: We both took the cable car up, however this side's cable car was a crazy long (about 30 mins) world's first cable car in operation that UNDULATES and goes up one mountain then down a little then up to an even higher peak and then down a little. The views were INCREDIBLE! It was amazeballs, no other word for it. Check out the pictures below. You think you're there but then, boom, another treacherous peak and you're still climbing. Oh, did I mention Husband's severe vertigo that I was kind of previously unaware about? Let's just say he did NOT have a fun cable car trip. So much so that when we arrived at the top, and even after many hours up there, he refused point-blank to get any sort of cable car back down.
Which eventually led to painful problem number 3: Husband's knee is very painful anyway, so walking up and down steps is a killer for him. The only way off this mountain, as you might imagine, was down. Down steps. Thousands of them. On precipitous ledges which did nothing good for a person with vertigo. I was so proud and so happy that we eventually made it back down safely and securely and I think my husband is so very brave for doing what he did that day.
However, it wasn't all problems, and truth be told, I LOVED this day climbing up and down and around this mountain (Sorry Husband - I have a thing for mountains). So, why was I running on various portions of it, you may well ask? Well, as per problem number 3, Husband's knee cannot take the pain, so once we'd arrived at the top, we realised there are 4 main peaks, North, South, East and West, and hey, there are MANY steps to enlightenment. We wanted to see as much as we could while we were up there, so we agreed that I would go off on a little mission, as fast as I could, see the sights/peaks that Husband couldn't get to, take lots of photos and then come back and we could resume checking out some less step-y parts together (at that point however, little did we realise it's ALL steps on Mount Hua). So, I got to run up and down lots of stairs. Loving it. Thankful for all my earlier stair training in the year. Then when the other tourists got too plentiful, it was too hard to keep the pace up, even just walking was hard and there were plenty of frustrating single-file sections. Soooo busy, just like every other tourist attraction in China, we've found. But soooooo beautiful and amazing, just the same. Here are some photos for your visual pleasure:
The only other running I did in this province, was probably AWAY from the horrendous crowds when we went to visit the site of the famous Terracotta Warriors. Sadly, this was probably my least favourite tourist attraction that we visited. Maybe it was the stinking hot, sweat-inducing weather, or maybe it was the thousands of other tourists and tour groups barging past me, or maybe it was all the trinket shops and touristy crap all around the actual site, but I was not a fan. Great to see and 'tick off the list' but WAY preferred the mountain visit.
Ok, that's it for Shaanxi Province. Stay tuned for Shanxi Province, coming your way soon. Cheers!