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ZhangJiaJie National Park – Day 2

08.17.09
HUANGSHIZHAI PEAK
GOLDEN WHIP STREAM

Since Schäfer wakes up early and ready to go,  so do we.

We head downstairs for a bite of breakfast at the Home Inn restaurant, then on to the bus station. Forty minutes later we find ourselves at the ticket booth of ZhangJiaJie National Park.

Note: we decided to stay in ZhangJiaJie city because the hotels were half the price compared to staying out by the park entrance. Plus, we really like the quality of Home Inn. Now that we’ve been there, Hubs thinks it might be worth it to just pay the extra and stay near the park since staying in the city added a 40 minute bus ride each way everyday. Live and learn.

Back to the ticket booth. We haven’t even entered yet, but the pillar-like mountains and canyons looming around us are just incredible. We are in desperate need of nature.

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There are no mosquitoes. The air is nice and cool. No pollution. The tickets seem pretty expensive at RMB245/person for two days park access. ($35.87)

Our student cards couldn’t get us a discount as we weren’t under 24 (every site in China has their own definition as to who qualifies as a student). But we didn’t mind the price as the tickets are good for two days and pay not only for park operating costs and maintenance (and it IS surprisingly well maintained) but also for the bus transportation between all the spots.

The first stop: HuangShiZhai. It was a long first stop. Mainly due to the 90 minute wait in line to ride the cable car up. (RMB80/person one way) Sandra stood in line, while I chaperoned Schäfer who was playing with other kids. Ironically, he was most interested in firing a crossbow that another child had bought. I mostly just kept him from impaling anybody.

Soon, we hopped in the cable car and were off! Schäfer LOVED the ride – especially the bumps as we soared over the towers.

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We were in desperate need of a big, blue sky.

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We went in search of a break from city life.

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We found just what we were looking for.

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Hubs and Schäfer at the HuangShiZhai Peak.

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While enjoying the view from the peak we met a couple of local Tu Jia men. They told us that they often come to the park. When we asked how they could afford to come often, they replied that they just speak the local dialect and get in for free. Remind me to learn some Tu Jia before our next visit!

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At the top, we stopped at at a pagoda and bought Schäfer a green bean popsicle. (Sandra and Schäfer both love this flavor. I prefer a nice lemon or peach popsicle myself.)

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From there we took our time hiking around the edge of the plateau, taking plenty of pictures of the rock formations and listening to tourists screaming echoes. Schäfer managed a short 20 minute nap in the Ergo, but other than that he was happy to be running around.

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At the end of the trail, we busted out our picnic lunch. (Hubs wanted a Chinese style picnic so we brought some instant noodles the night before.) In the end, we feasted on a couple of dry packs of ramen. The sellers wanted 3 rmb for hot water.

Seller: We had to haul this water up the mountain.
Sandra: Oh, you didn’t get it from the cafeteria behind you?

After lunch, Schäfer was put in the Ergo and we started walking down the many, many, MANY stairs back to the bottom. Surprisingly, it only took 40 minutes.

Schäfer: “Can we take the cable car DOWN the mountain?”

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On the right is the ‘golden whip’ of Golden Whip stream.

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Once at the bottom, I had to take a break and so we bought some more popsicles. Two popsicles day = vacation!

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From there we hiked the Golden Whip Stream, a 3.5 mile path along a beautiful stream passing through canyons and lush trees.

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Now Schafer loved the cable car ride in the morning, but nothing can express the fun he had playing in this fresh mountain stream. Oh, there were sticks and rocks unlimited. Schäfer is also an avid fisherman so this was right up his alley.

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He had such a good time.

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Hubs is an excellent nature and landscape photographer.

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There are signs all over ZhangJiaJie warning visitors about the wild monkeys. They’re not kidding. Monkeys are abundant.

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Walking the Golden Whip Stream path took much longer than expected. (I’m not sure the allotted time actually takes into consideration long splashes in the Golden Whip Stream.) It was still the perfect way to end our first day of vacation.

At the end, we took a bus back to the main gate and from there a bus back to ZhangJiaJie city. That evening we were too tired to try searching for a good, local restaurant (plus it was late), so we just opted for a bucket of chicken at KFC. We devoured it.

We got Schäfer to sleep easily. I edited 499 photos while Sandra went to find food for next day.

But the grocery store had closed.

The second grocery store said that the fruit was on the 2nd floor. When she got to the 2nd floor, they had closed.

She finally went to the bakery next door and selected some pastries. But the manager didn’t have any change, so she couldn’t buy anything. She came back to the room empty handed. Well, no problem! We’ll grab food in the morning.

4 comments to ZhangJiaJie National Park – Day 2

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