Picturesque Huangshan Mountain

Huangshan Mountain in east China’s Anhui Province is one of China’s best-known scenic spots, celebrated for having all the wonders of mountain scenery: spectacular rocky peaks, odd-shaped pines, crystal-clear mountain springs and seas of cloud. The eighth century romantic poet Li Bai(Bo) compared Huang- shan Mountain to the golden hibiscus. Noted traveler and geographer Xu Xiake of the late l6th century described it as the first among China’s famous mountains. A contemporary Poet, the late Guo Moruo, eulogized the scenes cf Huangshan as the most spectacular under heaven’’. A tour of Huangshan usually takes several days. The first stop will likely be at the Huangshan Hotel, a traditional palace-style building nestled against the steep Purple Cloud Peaking a location favorable for viewing the surroundings. Facing the hotel is the wooded Peach Blossom Peak, at the foot of which is a pavillon which offers fine view of a waterfall. Peach Blossom Stream passes in front of the hotel. In peach-blossom time the air is fragrant and flower petals are borne away by the stream. Further up, Peach Blossom Stream meets Cinnabar stream where, according to legend, severa1 thousand years ago a certain Fu Qiugong prepared herbal medicine at the foot of Cinnabar Peak. The Emperor(Huangdi), who was a friend of Fu, helped him at his task and so the mountain was named Huangshan. Shards of mortars for preparing medicine can still be retrieved from Cinnabar Stream. A relaxing specialty at Huangshan Hotel is a hot spring bath, which is also available in a pool beside Peach Blossom Stream. Issuing up through crevices, the 42C. (107.6F.) spring water flows at a steady 48 tons per hour in all weathers. This water of Cinnabar Spring is potable as, veil as suitable for bathing. Its traces of silicon, magnesium, potassium and sodium oxides give the water curative properties in treating rheumatism, skin diseases and diseases of the digestive and nervous systems.

Still more fascinating are Huangshan’s peaks. As the saying goes: “Without reaching Jade Screen Pavilion, a panoramic view of the mountain is impossible; without climbing Tiandu (Heavenly Capital) Peak, your trip is in vain.”

The road up provides many worthwhile sights. Looking north from a monastery at the half-way point one sees a rock atop Tiandu Peak that resembles a giant rooster crowing with wings spread. “A Swath of Sky” is what one sees from the narrow stone steps between two cliffs.

The Guest-greeting and Farewell Pines in front of Jade Screen Pavilion merit special mention. Growing out of a rocky Crevice, Guest-greeting Pine has outstretched boughs like arms welcoming mountain-climbing guests. It is the mode for the huge painting “Guest-greeting Pine’’ in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing(Peking), in front of which many photographs have been taken of Chinese leaders together with foreign guests. Departing visitors most pass Farewell Pine with its branches. outstretched in the traditional Chinese manner on such occasions.

The steeper the cliffs of Huangshan, the more irregular the shapes of the pines that grow in the crevices. A few grow upright, but many emerge horizontal, upside down, or oddly shaped.