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Happy Anniversary to us. Today marks 24 years together.

Our breakfast at this ‘rural’ hotel was decent enough so we had enough energy for the day.

The Yellow Mountains were originally known as Yishan (Mount Yi) during the Qin Dynasty. The name changed to Huangshan (literally Yellow Mountain) in 747 AD possibly in honour of Huang Di (the Yellow Emperor). According to legend, the yellow mountains are the location from which the emperor ascended to Heaven. It is said there are over 60,000 steps on the mountain, possibly more than 1500 years old. The local pine trees are said to be an example of vigour, as the trees grow straight out of the rocks. Some are more than 100 years old.

This area is beautiful, amazing, spectacular, dunno pick a superlative for beautiful and it fits. We got lucky. It’s only sunny 80 days a year here and got one of them. Even better, we got a day with some mist and intermittent cloud cover allowing the light to play across the mountains in amazing ways. I’ll stop typing and simply let the photos attempt to show nature.

From the base.

From the top of the cable car.

We hiked 181 stories today and 15km. Up and down and then back up, and then back down and then back up (you get the picture). Totally worth it – although we’ll see how our legs and feet feel tomorrow.

Love locks are a thing here too. So we posed as it’s our important day.

The pathways are all concrete, as is all the fencing. Everything is brought up by porter. Human porters. Even the diesel and heating for the hotels. The porters don’t like their photos taken so we just photographed their burdens when they weren’t around.

Lunch today was packed trail mix from home and some protein bars. We knew this and came prepared. Food up here is very very expensive and again, packed up by porters.

Some of the trails are just concrete platforms glued to the mountain. I felt fine walking on them but I sure wouldn’t want to be the guy hanging and building one.

Kris playing at being scared by the cliff. She wasn’t.

Even this little fairy bridge was built by hand, material hauled up by hand. Crazy.

We found a rock that reminded us of an Incan face or if viewed slightly differently a Tomahawk Chief with a feather headdress. If you use your imagination, you can see all kinds of shapes and symbolism!

If you’re looking at the photos wondering where you’ve seen this scenery before, there are two possibilities. One, you’ve seen some Chinese art, lots of art is based on the Yellow Mountains, as it’s considered one of China’s natural treasures. Or two, you’ve seen James Cameron’s Avatar. There are a few scenes based on the nature here. Notably the flying scenes with the upside down floating islands. I knew I knew it and when our guide mentioned the movie, it clicked. Turns out Cameron wasn’t actually allowed to use this area so he filmed elsewhere and added back the bits not found elsewhere.

After the long day we had arranged a soak in the hot Huangshan Hot Spring. Our legs welcomed the experience. Some of the smaller pools are ‘flavored’. We tried out the ginseng pool and the wine pool. A little weird but they smell nice.

We have spent our recent anniversaries in some interesting places. This one is pretty good! Dinner was an experience though. Not high end usual anniversary fair. Bamboo shoots, a noodle dish and some sort of something about potatoes in wine sauce??? That last one wasn’t a great choice – the advertised English menu was a bit off. But we left full and everyone was smiling. The whole dinner was 63 RMB (about $15 Canadian).

Tomorrow we visit an actual tea plantation and then drive for a few hours and fly to Hong Kong.

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