Closer encounter with nature at Huangshan International Mountaineering Festival
Huangshan Montain [Photo/CGTN]
Thousands of hiking enthusiasts gathered at Huangshan Mountain, a UNESCO World Heritage site in east China's Anhui province to attend the 13th International Mountaineering Festival on Sunday while appreciating the mountain’s incredibly enthralling views.
As one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country that can attract up to 50,000 visitors a day, Huangshan holds this year's mountaineering festival, calling for participants from both home and abroad in an effort to encourage the development of recreational sports and national fitness.
Both the 5-kilometer and 10-kilometer routes start from the Huangshan Scenic Area North Gate, and will pass the mountain's main scenic spots, allowing hikers to fully enjoy picturesque natural landscapes.
'Four Wonders of Huangshan'
The marvelous Huangshan Mountain is famed for its four unique scenes: Peculiarly-shaped granite rocks, ancient pines, mystical seas of clouds touching the mountainsides, and hot springs.
The bizarrely-shaped rocks in Huangshan are unique in shape and have the own distinct charms: Some resemble humans, and others resemble different kinds of animal.
Based on their distinctive appearances, over 120 rocks have been given creative and artistic names from historical fables, legends and poetry, such as "sleeping buddha," "flying-over rock" and "monkey watching the sea."
Visitors to the mountain may see various real or mythical creatures in these wondrous rock formations.
Seas of clouds have contributed much to the ethereal atmosphere of the Huangshan Mountain. As the clouds are often lower than the peaks of the mountains, the mountaintops look as though they are islands floating in a sea of mist.
The best time to appreciate this phenomenon is from November to May, especially after rainy days, as well as at sunrise or sunset.
Lotus Peak and Celestial Capital Peak at the South Sea, and Bright Top at the Middle Sea are the three tallest peaks. These are believed to be the best locations to view the stunning cloud seas.
Old and strangely-shaped pines are scattered on the peaks and ravines of the mountain. The Huangshan pines are a uniquely classified tree species in botany as they don't normally grow in the earth, but root on steep cliffs.
Most living for more than 1,000 years, these sturdy pines have crooked and twisted branches are seen as a symbol of vigor and vitality.
Greeting Guest Pine is the most famous pine as the 10-meter high tree grows like a man standing by the path and stretching out his hand to guests in a greeting gesture.
Huangshan's natural hot springs are regularly used by visitors to relax from the tiredness of climbing.
Originating from Purple Rock Peak and located at the foot, the soothing hot spring has legendary healing and restorative properties, and they have been well-developed with villas surrounding the tranquil bathing areas.
Earlier this year, the local government announced entry to Huangshan Mountain will be free for foreign tourists during winter, in an attempt to expand the overseas market, attracting more foreign tourists and increasing Huangshan's international reputation.
If people are tired of futuristic skyscrapers and large crowds in cities, and eager to get a closer contact with nature, Huangshan Mountain, with breathtaking natural scenery and rich culture heritage, could be a good choice for them.