Hua Mountain (华山), for the modern Chinese, is really all about adventure, or going beyond your comfort zone. It is even stamped on a sign that this is ”奇险天下第一山“ (or World’s Greatest Adventure Mountain). After all, this is probably the only mountain that I have ever seen that allows average climbers to climb the side of a mountain, on a path that is only as wide as a plank! （长空栈道).
Well, I wasn’t quite ready for that, and wasn’t aware of such offering before the day trip. The only thing I had on was this 20 yuan (~AUD$3) pair of shoes:
The idea was that, the cheap pair of shoes was meant to be my ‘sacrificial anode’, basically thrown away after the climb. So, no, I wasn’t quite ready for what the mountain had to offer, which was a pity.
Regardless, it was still worth a climb with parts that starts to get your legs wobbly:
Fortunately, like any mountains I’ve climbed in China, there are plenty of distractions that will take your mind off it. Take a look at this old man, carrying boxes of supplies on his shoulders, while playing a flute!
Like most locals, there is absolutely no regard for safety, with people glad to climb over the barrier for a pose like this:
There’s no doubt the views up at the peak were fantastic. Surely, you would expect this to come with abundant fresh air as well? Well, I was standing at the peak, with my hands spread out (Titanic pose), took a deep breath… and realise, there was a unusual scent in the air. Hmm.. was it Smelly Tofu (“臭豆腐”)? After all, you are able to buy food anywhere in China, even on a mountain peak. But it can’t be! It’s almost too ‘fresh’. It didn’t take me long to locate this little ‘facility’ a mere 100 metres away.
Yes, that’s the toilet cubicle I was smelling and responsible for the ‘aroma’ I was talking about. The smell of toilet at the peak of Hua Mountain (namely the west peak) dominates where I was standing. The fact that I could smell it 100 metres away, was enough to put me off even going in there for a pee. God knows what the ‘battlefield’ look like on the inside.
Don’t get me wrong. The views up at the peak was fantastic, and worth the climb.
I just wished they have chosen better placements of those ‘conveniences’. Sure, it was convenient, but damn, the smell will get to if you’re not a local. Apart from that, it really was a very good little day trip.
I would definitely consider coming back here to conquer the famous ‘walking on the sidewall’ experience (长空栈道) I spoke of at the beginning, and stay overnight on one of the little accommodations they have on offer to watch the sunrise.
Apart from the ‘aroma’, this was certainly worth the effort and would recommend it to anyone looking for a little adventure!