I got an interesting invitation on Tuesday night from Chinese friends. A hiking club is going to Fushun on Sunday to climb a mountain, do you want to go?
Ever since David did a little mountain climbing in Brazil, he’s loved it! And misses it! And has said many times since we’ve been here that he would like to do some mountain climbing in China. When this invitation came…of course , we accepted! I was excited, maybe not with the climbing and hiking part BUT more so with the adventure of it all…to go on a bus with a hiking group, an all Chinese hiking group! Oh, and the photo opps…
Saturday our friends called and gave us some last minute instructions, you know like…eat breakfast, bring some water and chocolate and dress WARM, dress REALLY warm, and…we will pick you up at SHARP 6:10am! What?! It’s still dark out…
And as they said, Our friends picked us up promptly at 6:10 this morning and we went to the pick up point to meet the other hikers and the two buses ( about 100 people)
The destination for today was Fushun. Approximately 40km from Shenyang located in the mountainous area in eastern Liaoning that belongs to the Longgang Mountains, an offshoot of the Changbai Mountains. Within the city, mountains run from northeast to southwest. We were headed to Houshi National Forest Park which is Stone Monkey Forest Park located 55km from Fushun city centre. Two foreigners on a bus of ALL Chinese people 🙂 Oh the fun! And because we are foreigners, introduction needed to be made. Of course my husband volunteers me because these are my Chinese friends…so I had to get up in front of the bus with mic and tell a little about us. One kind Chinese man ( retired Chinese police) was the host and he entertained us with stories and information all the way to Fushun.
The Chinese hiking group have been doing this for awhile and they go every week either Saturday or Sunday. Many times they encouraged us ” You MUST join, and come with us EVERY week” They are well equipped with poles and ice cleats for traction. Today there were a few places they were needed.
We started by walking through a farm village ( so cool). Life here is so simple, I love to photograph these places. We started up the mountain and along the ridge to one peak and down the other side. Lots of stops for pics and pics with the “foreigners” We were the celebrities today. At one point, we could choose the hard road or the easy road. Of course David & I and WeiQuan took the hard road and Li Dan Yao went the easier way. It was so much fun! Difficult in places, with snow and ice and sometimes hard to get a foot hold but it was wonderful to be in the fresh air outside the city walking in the back country of China.
One of the really cool highlights was a cave, actually a tunnel in the woods in the middle of no where. We went inside and walked a bit but because we didn’t have headlamps and only one flashlight we didn’t go too far. We saw some bats and who knows what else was in that cave.
After our hike we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant and was treated with delicious authentic Chinese food! Lots of toasts, and great conversation sharing together what a great day we had. Chinese people are so kind. If anything I take with me from this country, It is the kindness, love and generosity they have for foreigners.These people today made us feel very welcome and part of their group. I hope we can say that we are that way when foreigners and people from other lands are in our country and come to our events…
On the way home, there were more stories and a few people signing. Our host asked if I would sing. Anyone who knows me, knows I am very shy but I have been pushed out of my comfort zone so many times in this country! I agreed if I didn’t sing alone, so Wei Quan wanted to do a duet. The only two English songs he knew the words to were Country Roads by John Denver and Edelweiss from the Sound of Music. We chose Country Roads and sang the first verse and chorus. Haha I am happy David didn’t get that on video! Before we ended our trip, the group had some free tickets to “Peacock City” they were giving away and they made sure David & I had two. Now we just have to figure out where and what it is!
Days like today I will ALWAYS remember and cherish, my heart is so FULL. This is one of many reasons why I LOVE China and the people!