Friday, September 28, 2007

Emei Shan recap

I had a great time at Emei Shan, though after walking all the way to the top, I could have done without ever seeing another step as long as I live. We spend Friday night at the foot of the mountain, starting the long way up with a short bus ride on Saturday. We were hiking by 7:40 AM and finally quit for the night at about 8:40 PM, 45 kilometers and about 2000 vertical meters later. The next morning we left the hotel at 4:30 AM to finish off the remaining 2 hours to the Golden Summit (3045 m) and hopefully see sunrise. Unfortunately, as is the case more than ninety percent of the time, the peak was buried deep in clouds and we couldn't see more than 10 feet in any direction, so we opted for some breakfast in a warm restaurant and walked back down to the parking lot and took a bus 2 hours down the winding mountain road to where we'd started. Before driving back to school, we visited perhaps the coolest temple I've seen in China: Crouching Tiger Monastery. The temple is still very active with monks and pilgrims yet somehow manages to preserve a certain tranquility that many of the more touristed temples lack. The most interesting part was Arhat Hall, a small building containing more than 500 larger-than-life statues of famous people who have successfully followed the Buddha's teaching to enlightenment, each one with unique posture, attire, and expression.

I need to get to bed now since I have class in the morning. I should be able to post some photos afterwards though.

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