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ZhangJiaJie National Park – Day 3


Schafer wakes at 6:45am. Thus, we wake at 6:45 am.

We grab some fresh green grapes for RMB3/lb and take the bus to HuangLong (‘Yellow Dragon’) Cave. Technically, we took a bus to another bus to another bus to the cave, but who’s counting?

HuangLong Cave is outside of Zhangjiajie National Park, but so awesome and worth going to.

The entrance to the cave is really well designed with an especially fascinating water-wheel display. It was close to 90F outside, but after we bought our tickets we entered an underground kingdom of perpetual 60F. Pleasantly cool!

At first, we thought the cave was a bit small and narrow, but it soon opened up into a vast cavern of stalactites and stalagmites.

Quite vast – and lit up in a myriad of colored lights that change.

Schäfer loved screaming “Ni Hao!” (hello!) to hear his echo. He was especially excited when someone would yell “Ni hao!” back. He also had a great time pointing out the colors.

There weren’t many signs, so we actually ended up doing the cave route in reverse, thus having scores of tour groups pass by us, trying to take low light photos of Schäfer.

I’m glad we brought the tripod. It would have been nearly impossible to get good shots without it.

At one point, we enter an absolutely huge cavern more than three football fields in length and a nearly as wide and tall. It’s hard to see how large these caves were, but to put it in perspective, the lit up part of that wide stalagmite in the far distance (direct center of the photo) is 40 feet tall.

Later on, we rode a boat on an underground reservoir. Due to the boat moving, photos were a challenge, but it was still quite enjoyable – especially passing the giant concrete dragon with glowing red eyes. Do I even need to share how much Schäfer loves a boat ride?

After the cave, we sat by the water-wheels and had a nice lunch of grapes and pb&j sandwiches.

Hubs helps Schäfer spin a manual water-wheel.

Then, we sat down for a nice peach popsicle and map break. We decided to ask the ZhangJiaJie National Park ticket takers if we had to use our two day pass consecutively or if we could come back in tomorrow as we were feeling like the cave could be enough for one day. We learned that the ZhangJiaJie pass is a 2 consecutive day ticket so back to the park we go!

Then, we were off to Tianzishan Peak. We took a really cool cable car (160RMB/person round-trip) high up over the valley to the top of the plateau. From there, we took a bus to the other side of the plateau for more awesome views.

Shorel and Schäfer with “The Heavenly Writing Brushes” rock formation behind them.

All the ZhangJiaJie rocks are apparently named. This is “The Fairy Giving a Blossom” rock formation.

We liked walking around the peak enjoying the fresh air and amazing views. We skipped the temple. We skipped a statue of a famous general. We came for green trees and blue sky.

Ironically, we met lots of people who saw us yesterday at Huangshizhai.  There weren’t many foreigners at ZhangJiaJie. Excluding us, I think we saw three total yesterday. It’s not too hard to remember us – we’ve got the kiddo.

The Heavenly Writing Brushes.

By then we were getting tired, so we rode the bus back to the cable car and took it down the mountain. We ended up at a tram ride. We thought Schäfer might enjoy the ride in a ‘train’ (RMB30/person round-trip). We all thought it was pretty lame.

With that, we decided that we’d head back to the city and find a nice restaurant. Once in the city, we hopped in a cab and asked the driver to take us to a famous local restaurant.

We end up at a Tujia minority restaurant called Jiu Dou Niang. It was a nice meal – albeit a bit pricey.

We fell sound asleep that night, but only after I edited several hundred more photos from the day.

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