Monday, April 30, 2012

Daqishan National Forest

 Our weekend trip began early. Catching a 6:30am bus in Wuxi, we were on our way. In our current life, most information comes second hand via translation and we're never completely sure of what's going on. Much info is lost in translation, and everything is a little more fuzzy. Apparently we'll just have to get used to that feeling. Sometimes it works out good, because our first stop was a pleasant surprise...the best stop of the trip really.

We knew about being on the bus for 4.5 hours before making the first stop. We knew the first stop was at a national forest and we'd take a walk. We did not know that the "national forest" was a small mountain, and we were about to climb it.

In the crevice where two mountains meet, a trail was blazed along side a mountain stream. Our path was constructed with little thought about wheel chair accessibility...and seemingly little consideration for safety.

The result was a hike with much to see and exciting situations along the way. Our lives slightly more at risk than normal.

The pregnant lady slowed us down and the main group pulled away. Luckily Shayne wasn't the only expecting mother on this trip, and we played leap frog with the other....passing as they rested, being passed while we rested. Exchanging pleasant smiles at each encounter.

Wheelchair ramp?

This hand rail is the perfect height to trip over.

Shayne hugs the right hand side.

The mid-way point was marked by a "boulder jump" and a watermelon sale.

Near the top, there was a large dam upon which we could walk. We posted for this picture and told a friend to make sure the waterfall was visible in the background... an idea that was lost in translation. The waterfall is not visible as Clif's giant head is in the way.

The waterfall wasn't visible, but the picture was good enough that we didn't want to try again. Onward to the top, we were told it was just 10 more minutes....or was it 10 more meters? Either way, it was close.

Baby Gerke goes sightseeing in China

Clif standing ant the edge, close to certain death.

Shayne hugging the right hand side.

The final push was a series of super smooth granite stones arranged as steps. Moisture from low hanging clouds made each step dangerous...but that's how we roll, dangerously.

Here is a picture of Shayne at the top, where the trail ended within site of a waterfall. She went further than many not-pregnant friends. Isn't she awesome?

To get down we could either walk or take a roller-coaster type ride. The warning sign for the ride said "Be sure to apply brake while turning, so as to not flip your cart." After seeing the types of dangers that don't require a warning sign in China, we're not about to risk something dangerous enough to actually require a sign.

Instead we took the slow way and hoofed it. We saw a nice view (pictured above) and paused for a picture. Again we asked Clif's coworker to make sure we were on the right side of the picture and the valley filled the rest of the frame....what we got was a picture of Shayne and Clif next to a telephone pole, on a mountain. The valley perfectly obscured behind two white people.

It turns out Chinese people find white people more interesting than beautiful mountain scenes.... lesson learned.

Shayne on a China sized chair

Clif in a China sized hat


  1. Simply breathtaking. Thanks, Clif, for sharing your foreign adventure with us. I'm fascinated.

    1. Thanks Mike, I like to imagine how it looked the next day when fog lifted.