Today we did the one hike that Jack had been excited for ever since he found it- Mount Huashan. We had gotten instructions on how to get there from our hostel- take the metro to the high speed train to the town of the mountain and take a bus to the mountain. We easily got to the high speed train, but once we were there we were having trouble finding an open ticket box. While trying to figure it out we ran into a couple from New York also trying to go to the mountain so we worked together to figure out how to buy some tickets! The high speed train only ended up taking 30minutes.
Once there, we followed our new friends to the free bus and got to the base of the mountain. Our hostel had told us we could walk up since we were planning on being there all day, but once we got to the base we decided hell no! It was basically just thousands of stairs. And once you got to the top there was a ton more hiking to do. So we ended up taking the cable car to the top- definitely glad we did.
Since we had stuck with our new friends up until this point, we decided to stick together to walk around the mountain. We had taken the cable car up to the north peak and decided to walk around up to the east peak, south peak, and west peak- taking the other cable car down at the west peak. The mountain had amazing views the whole time, I probably took too many pictures.
The mountain was also super commercialized though- professional people to take your pictures basically everywhere! We actually ended up paying for one picture where you got to sit on a rock on the edge of the mountain (it was totally worth it)
Once we got to the south peak we found the plank walk, which is what Jack really wanted to do. Basically they built a plank on the side of the mountain and you’re hooked in with carabiners. We had to wait in a short line to begin the decent to the plank. The straps they gave us only went around your shoulders, not your waist, which did not make me feel very secure. And the carabiners didn’t lock when you clipped in so I wasn’t too confident about the safety of the endeavor, but when you see these other Chinese people doing it you think- if these people wearing flats and being completely unsafe survived then I can definitely survive!
Once we got all our gear we started the descent to the plank. It took forever because anytime they let a group come back we had to stop and wait for all of them to climb around us (it’s the same route back so it gets crowded sometimes). Anyways the “ladder” down wasn’t all that scary, just uncomfortable to stand still so it wasn’t the most pleasant to be standing there for a long time.
Finally we made it to the plank! Somehow I ended up going first even though this type of thing is something I try to avoid always, however, I didn’t actually feel scared at all! I mean sure I didn’t really trust the safety equipment, but the plank was actually like a foot wide so it felt like you had a lot of space. I thought the worst part would be having to go around people, but even that wasn’t all that bad. The only thing that freaked me out was when some guy walked around me without being strapped in at all! I don’t know why you would do that, one slip and you’re dead! Anyways, it was actually really fun. I had brought my waterproof phone case, which I put around my neck to carry my phone so I could take pictures of all of us. Definitely recommend if you ever go to Xian to go to the mountain and do the plank walk. I have a terrible fear of falling and I wasn’t afraid at all!
After the plank walk, we continued our journey to the west peak. The whole journey around the mountain took about 4-5hrs (can you see why I’m glad we didn’t do the hike up the mountain too!). We took the cable car back down and made the same journey home.
Once back at the hostel, we showered and decided to hang out in the lobby to use the wifi for a bit before dinner. While we were there a guy from Belgium started talking to us. He was as going out to dinner with two other people from our hostel (a guy from Italy and a guy from China) and invited us to join. The guy from China found a local place and ordered all our food for us (it’s so nice having someone be able to speak Chinese for us finally!). The food was soup with bread and lamb. I really enjoyed it.
After dinner, we walked through the Muslim Quarter, which has a bunch of street food. We ended up getting sweet rice for dessert. I don’t really know how to describe it. I expected it to be weird tasting since it’s made from rice, but it actually was delicious and you couldn’t even tell it was rice! When we got back to the hostel we ended up staying up and talking to the guys. I added some places to my list of where to travel to. It’s fun talking to people from all over the world!