Trek to remember

Mount Huashan is a peak located near Xi'an, also known as Mount Hua. It is famous for its picturesque south peak which offers a plank route to the traveler. This hiking is considered among the most dangerous ones. I was determined to explore this trek on my 26th birthday. So, early in the morning, I took a bullet train from Xian north to Huashan north station. It took me 45 mins to reach the destination. The day was gloomy & foggy. I took a cab till the base of the mountain & from there I started my trek of 7Km with just one water bottle & bread.

The starting of the trek was easy on the landscape with an occasional upward slope. I was going at a good pace & enjoying the solace of the place. But, once staircases started it started getting tougher. I stopped at every 10 steps to gain my strength back. I am an avid runner & work out regularly & found it difficult to ascend the trek. Before reaching the center of the mountain I had to cross staircase inclined at 70 degrees. It was tough & was getting tougher with every step.

I started my trek at 1 pm & reached the centre of the mountain at around 3.30 pm. Already exhausted, I had to take a break for half an hour & click pics of some of the most amazing range of mountains I had ever come across in my trips. I realized this is the half way. I still need to trek for another 2 hours to reach the south peak of famous Mount Hua.

I was trekking at a great pace as I wanted to reach the south peak at the earliest. I started fresh for south peak & ignoring all other peaks; since I was only interested in covering famous plank route. I started to feel the pinch & hunger for food. There were not many vegetarian eateries along the path so I have to manage with fruits & bread only. Somehow I kept on walking with great pace & reached the south peak in another 1.5 hours.
After reaching my desired destination, my body, mind, and soul rejuvenated & all I can see was the breathtaking view of the mountain ranges. I quickly jumped into the queue for plank road & the moment I stepped on the plank it was one of the most amazing moment. The plank route is only 25 to 30 meters approx. The moment I put my first step on the route, my heart started pounding like anything. Though there is safety harness attached but still I felt the chills down my spine to look down. You know one mistake & you can be dead in no time. After taking few cautious step, I looked down & it was scary as hell. I am afraid of heights & on that scary path I was able to control my fear. The view from the extreme end was amazing, a range of unending mountains is bliss to watch. While covering the path I wished myself a very Happy Birthday. It was my first experience to celebrate my birthday alone for the first time. I stayed at the extreme point for some time to feel the serenity and tranquility of the hills. First item of my bucket list is completed. Now, it time to walk back to the base.

I stayed there for half an hour & knew it's a long walk back to the base. After resting I regained my strength somewhat. I started at 6 pm from the south peak & walked briskly. After climbing staircases my thigh started to cramp up. I did not want to stay there. So kept on going. I rested for sometime in central part but after looking at the time I realized I am way behind schedule. I needed to pace up my walk. But,my body stopped responding, my legs were giving up on me. It was hard to take even one step. I rested many times on my way back. It was getting dark & at an unknown place, I didn't know what to do. I kept walking with all pain & cramp. I challenged myself, one interesting incident happened while coming down. I took a wrong turn & took some 50 odds stairs & suddenly it clicked my mind that I am going wrong way. A Chinese group was climbing up so I asked for help for the way. They didn't knew English which was a big setback. But, they were generous enough to take extra effort, they wrote in Chinese & translated it to English & I did the same. After several messages I got to know about path. They offered me a torch as I wasn't carrying one. These small moments changes my perception about travelling solo.
Mount Hua My Adventure
China Mount Hua My Adventure
I walked for few hours & reached the base by 9.00pm. After reaching another task was to find taxi to reach Huashan north railway station. I started looking for a taxi. To be on safer side I took Chinese version of station name with me . One taxi driver offered me his service & dropped me to the station. After reaching station I was a much relaxed person. I went to ticket office & came to know it is full so I need to find another way to reach Xian. I enquired about different mode of transport. They told me about one station approx 10 Km from railway station, from where I can catch a local train at 11:30 pm. I started looking for taxi , there were a group of taxi owners who surrounded me. They didn't understood what I was saying & the same was with me, it is funny to think about incident now but it was very tensed at that time. It was already 9:45 pm & I was not sure how will I reach the destination as neither google maps work nor other network VPN. Chinese way of working is completely different from rest of the world. One of the taxi driver was willing to drop me. I sat in his taxi but midway he was asking me "where exactly you need to go?" & I was like shit I am in deep trouble. I wrote many times just drop me at this point, but he was not sure of destination. He stopped the car in front of a hotel & asked me to come out. I was sensing some trouble & was thinking of my escape route. He took me to the receptionist & tell me to explain situation to them. I told her about my situation, there were 3 person & all of them started to search for my station. They called few peoples to enquire & after 20 min of turbulence they finally came up with name. I was ecstatic after that.
The route to the station was scary in itself. There were hardly any living being on that road. I thought this is not gonna end well. But, after driving for approx 30 min. I saw the station, I took the ticket & thanked taxi driver for his generosity. He stayed there till I got my ticket & asked if I needed any other help. I was overwhelmed with his act & thanked him again. I reached at 10:30 pm still one hour was left for the train. I waited & relaxed for another hour. It was freezing cold. I boarded the train which was not up to the standard. I reached xian at 2:30 in the morning. After looking back at the incident this was a night to remember.

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