ALEX MURRAY/FOR THE SUN
The prettiest spot on the whole hike was Dragon’s Heart Pool. It is only a half an hour from the bottom and close by to a gift shop.
Krista and I went to Yellow Mountain for the weeklong Chinese national holiday.
The second day we spent on the mountain was less hectic than the first. After putting up with the huge crowds on the first day we did the smart thing and went way out into the bush. To the edge of the map where we found Nine Dragons Waterfall.
Nine Dragons Waterfall is between Incense Burner Peak and Arhat Peak, descending from deep in the mountain chain. The falls are made up of nine cascades and nine pools that form something that looks like nine white dragons after a heavy rainfall. It is beautiful and for some reason no one was there.
We started climbing early, only stopping for pictures and to skip rocks in the water. At the second waterfall was a sign showing a picture and plaque that read "Scene of Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon." I believed it. The entire east face of the mountain was devoted to stunning natural water shows and would be perfect for a movie backdrop.
We bought water at a small shop and pushed on. Bridges and stepping stones led us over streams to higher trails. Every time we reached a cliff we would stop for a rest and enjoy the view. We did this for four hours, hiking through the forests to a monastery. By that point we had run out of water and needed directions.
The only person we could find by the entrance to the monastery was surprised to see us. He had not seen anyone all day and was more than happy to sell us some water. We chatted with him and he told us we were almost back to a Yellow Mountain Gondola Terminal. There was a road less than fifteen minutes away if we were walking.
Going from the peace of the forest monastery back to the hustle of commercial China was shocking. We came out of the forest to see at a bunch of hotels and restaurants. Buses and cars were all over the place and huge lines waited to climb other parts of the mountain. We did not stay long.
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Within fifteen minutes we were back the way we came, walking through the trees making our way down to the Dragon Waterfalls. We were going to maximize the amount of nature we could experience. The solitude and quiet of the forest made it seem like we were back home.
In half the time we had returned to the base to catch a bus to the city. From there we got onto a train heading back to Yangzhou.
Dragon's Heart Pool - The prettiest spot on the whole hike was Dragon’s Heart Pool. It is only a half an hour from the bottom and close by to a gift shop.
Lazy Reporter - For a reasonable price you can pay two Chinese men to carry you up the mountain on a sedan chair (or let you take a picture in one). There is usually no railing on the path and the drops are straight down. Riding one of these up would make me nervous.
No People The beginning of our adventure. With the mountains in the background and almost no one around for miles, it was a great vacation.
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 3, 2012