Huangshan mountain peaks

I woke up this morning in China. We’re on a tour and today we’re going to the Land of Avatar – you know, where they filmed the birds flying around the captivating mountain peaks in the movie.

Yet, my husband whispers in the early morning upon wakening. “I’m so depressed. Some of our investments are really in trouble.” And so the day begins, but he is not alone with these sentiments. They seem universal in today’s world economics-gone-crazy. Another person has emailed me the night before saying, “the company I put my savings in, they’ve gone into receivership and now I can’t buy a home.” What do I say to these dear people I know? What words of encouragement can I dredge up to lift my own spirits and theirs, especially when we’re climbing mountains in China!

Sometimes our troubles seem to be insurmountable. Yet, today will show us a way to climb any mountain of trials… if you persevere in carving one out.


Mount Huangshan means yellow mountain and it is the most famous of all Chinese mountains. 


Yet, there is more than one towering rocky pillar that climbs up out of the fog, coniferous bonsai trees grasping at their edges.


They epitomize the Chinese way of life as symbols of endurance and serenity. These same mountains have been painted in great works of art for thousands of years in soft Chinese watercolour.


In the movie Avatar, these peaks inspired the footage for the spiraling flying lessons on the great birds! (Try clicking the picture to zoom in.)


In ancient times, it must have been almost impossible to get to the top. Today, you take a six hour-long bus ride from Shanghai to a hotel in the town of Tunxi. Then the next day you bus for an hour or so to the town of Tangkou and then take another Shuttle bus to the Mount Huangshan UNESCO site.


From there, you transfer to a cable car for a long ride up. Tens of millions of Chinese tourists visit this national site yearly and each person may have to wait in line for an hour or two if you aren’t designated as a VIP!

Sign for Very Important Persons

But the cable car ride is an adventure in itself and is worth any wait!


Now we start hiking. I’m thankful for the paved wide pathways and their solid construction.


Sheer drop-offs are at the edge, and crowds of tourists are constantly going both up and down. What a marvel of Chinese engineering.


Barb, a member of our tour group counted the steps as we ascend. After 375 steps upward, we later estimated the rest to be maybe 3 times that! This beautiful hiking trail is not for the weak of heart. Yet, some are so determined to make it to the summit, they pay dearly to be carried in sedan chairs.


High above us is a huge building hosting a restaurant where we’ll eat our lunch.

The Restaurant on the Top 2

The sinewy muscles of the labourers are more impressive to me than any Olympic champion.


Our guide is animated in his excitement too.


I’m hoping if I can stand at this ledge long enough, I too can stretch wings out and soar in my mind around those towering majestic rocks jutting up from the lush green vegetation below. I wish I had wings. If heaven’s going to be on earth, this just has to be a part of it, don’t you think?


Each viewing spot lightens the mental load. Some are named Lotus Peak, Cloud-dispelling Pavilion, Refreshing Terrace, but my favorite was the Beginning to Believe Peak. Up here in the heights, it is easy to believe…in God, in greatness, in the rewards of perseverance.  Just how in the world did this rock get placed here, anyway?


Truly, on Mount Huangshan, the Chinese have proven that their mountain can be conquered. Where there is a will, there is way!


This is a life lesson. Maybe it’s a pathway up or a doorway out but the real danger is in not-believing you can achieve things in your life.


It only takes putting one foot in front of the other and keeping on the path. Our chosen destination in life is enticing but let’s not just endure the journey.


The struggles we find in the pathway is the real joy of achievement.

Pine and fog

(Most pictures taken by Sean Pegg)P1050394