Article By Liebe Brand
The dirt still clings to our shoes. Our aching muscles remind us of the majesty of the nature not far from home. Escaping the city air and the concrete jungle was a necessity for our souls.
On Sunday morning, 7am sharp we met our tour guide Lydia at the Yongningmen metro station. To prepare us for the day ahead, the climbers in our group could choose between a wide variety of breakfast options before we departed on the tour bus.
We were in for a three-hour journey to the foot of Wulao Mountain, but the time flew by thanks to the creative skills of the locals on the bus. We were kept entertained by a game similar to musical chairs: while music played, a card was passed around. When the music stopped, the passenger holding the card had to sing a song or tell a joke.
Upon arrival at the foot of the mountain, we received our tickets and climbed into a tiny mountain bus. We followed the winding road along the contours of the mountain, our excitement growing with every glimpse of mountain streams, beautiful sculptures and temples on the peaks, and the autumn shades of the trees.
When we finally reached the end of the paved road – the start of the walking trail – we were faced with hundreds of stairs to be conquered. After travelling about three quarters of the way up, we found a serene temple. The chiming bells gave us a quiet moment of bliss, in the middle of our intense journey up the steep mountain.
The Xi’an-Yellow River Bridge route was strenuous, to say the least, but worth it! From that point, it’s about 1km (roughly 0.6 miles) to the summit. As we ascended a range of steps, we experienced all four seasons in one walk – initially, the sun was happily shining upon us. As we climbed higher, the misty clouds set in, followed by an icy wind and light rain. Along the way, there were helpful resting spots which gave us chance to catch our breath. It was exhilarating to experience the different moods of the mountain!
After what felt like ages, we were finally near the summit. All that was left was the last climb – a near-vertical ascent towards a swinging wooden bridge. There were a few brave ones who dared to clamber the slippery stones, and thoroughly owned the summit despite their view of the valley below being obstructed by the rain.
We returned to the temple for noodles and a rest in some hammock swings until we felt strong enough to take the cable car down to our waiting bus. It was a joyful ride that allowed us to take in views of the other side of the mountain.
It was quite a long day – we arrived back at the metro station around 8pm. Although we were exhausted and in dire need of a hot shower and a good night’s sleep, the whole experience was entirely worth it.
Liebe is a dreamer who loves animals, enjoys hiking and spending time in nature.