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every step is a photo op.

Get ready for the most visually stunning blog post. Ever. (In the words of Drake, all the views)

I honestly don’t think your body is ready for this (mainly because mine wasn’t).

Here is a sneak peek to get you mentally prepared:

6:20 pm l ALL THE SKIES atop the mountain at sunset

See, I told you! It was/is, literally, breath-taking.

Huangshan aka. the Yellow Mountain, the land of unfairly photogenic scenery, was a trip to hell (or some could say, heaven) and back. This mystic mountain holds many natural treasures, from trees unnecessarily growing between rocks to trees posing atop the highest peak (this place knows that it is beautiful, so it shamelessly flaunts it).

This was a 2-day excurtion so I’ll lay down the timeline for better understanding.

Friday:

- 7:00 am – A 6 hour, surprisingly pleasant, bus ride from Shanghai to the foot of Mt. Huangshan.

From where you can catch buses to the cable car stop or the base of the hiking trail (warning: this hike is no joke.)

- 1:30 pm – Tickets for the mountain and cable cars were bought and boarded. (it don’t come cheap.)

Huangshan City, where the skies are blue and people are getting ready to PA-SHAN (climb)

Mountains, mountains everywhere! Mind was racing like Dorothy, literally like “Toto, we are not in Kansas anymore” moment

- 2:00 pm – Time to hike to our hotel.

Step 1: Find out where exactly it is. (there are more than 4 options for stay in the mountains)

Step 2: Prepare to overuse your cameras to a point that your SD card is full.

LETS GET CLIMBING!

Stairs on stairs...Ugh, more stairs!

We were lucky to have gone during the best season, when the rain clouds were teasing us but at the same time protecting us from the beating sun. It was basically nature’s free air-con and who wouldn't like that?

- 3:20 pm – Rest time. Which also means, hello photoshoot!

Pit Stop Numero Uno: We reached the first hotel in our route. The White Goose Hotel (Beihai). Looks like a dream in a sea of clouds. It was the first indication of human life in the mountains. Oh how I wish we could have stayed there but we had to fight on (not for long) to our hotel.

All the hotels are at close proximity meaning they are bitter rivals.

- 4:00 pm – Finally, our hotel! It has been a long day.

Our bodies are ready.

You know you have reached once you start to see overpriced food and drinks in small tuck shops. (A bottle of Coke is RMB 15 on top of the mountain compared to RMB 3 at the base.)

*Remember to bring plenty of change because this trip is going to be an expensive one.

After scouting a good sunset lookout location, we proceeded to the hotel.

We stayed at the strategically placed Paiyunlou Hotel, located in a valley, which was close to the best lookout point for the sunrise but sadly came with a daunting set of stairs. (Winning and losing simultaneously).

Should I be concerned that this landmark looks like a prison?

- 5:00 pm – Back out into the wild.

We knew this was going to be a long night when we saw the area we have to cover. This nature park was massive.

For the sake of my art, I desperately wanted to find a mind-blowing view for the sunset. A lot of adventuring took place but to my dismay, we weren't quick enough to find it in time to marvel at the sun actually setting.

Kids, don’t make the same mistakes I did.

- 6:15 – Still scouring

for a better location for the 6:30 sunset.

The night is still young. Everything looks unreal.

*Warning: Bring a flashlight, if you are going to venture out on your own because stairs, duh.

To be completely honest, there is not much that can be done outdoors at night-time there except maybe star-gazing and potentially thinking about life and its simple pleasures.

- 7:30 – Back to the hotel to eat our pre-packaged ramen noodles. We don’t want to pay for no food up there!

- 9:00 pm – Get a good night's rest. Had to be up and at em’ at 4:00 am.

Day 2:

For the sunrise at 5, we all woke up at 4:00 to go get the best spots. And to our surprise, most people beat us to the punch. We are in China after all.

Cameras at the ready. The. Wait. Is. Over.

- 5:30 am - Let’s just take a moment to take it all in.

Ugh, reality. You know you have to get back to work once you get off that mountain.

- 7:00 am - The crowd clears and it is time for another daytime adventure.

Looking out for the best lookout.

End of PART 1.

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