The Mountains

Today myself, Tamlyn, Rob, Sarah and Kyle had an adventure to the mountains surrounding Hohhot! I had purchased one of Robs bikes yesterday (I named it Thor) and after getting the tires pumped and the chain fixed, we were on our way around 11:30 am this morning. The bike ride to get to the mountains was fairly easy (not many hills) and took about 45 minutes to get out of the city. The scenery wasn’t overly exciting because I’ve grown quite used to the streets of Hohhot, but right on the edge of the city are the slums. I know I’ve compared my living area to a slum before, but the living area that I biked through today was the real thing. Sewage and garbage all over the ground, stray dogs running everywhere, the most disgusting smells, rundown homes and the closest thing to homeless people I’ve seen yet. Apparently its very dangerous to be in that area after dark, so we made a point to return to the city well before sundown.

It was quite a lengthy uphill ride to the bottom of the mountain after the slums, about 20 minutes, and I was already dying at the end of it. Once we got to the bottom of the mountains, we had to get off our bikes and carry them over the fence that surrounded the area. No one actually knows if we are allowed to be in that area, but Rob and Sarah have done it before and have never encountered any rangers or security. We left our bikes in a little cemetery at the bottom of the mountain, locking them together so that no one would steal them, and began our ascent!

I wont lie to you, I found the climb difficult. We climbed for just about 2 hours, straight up, stopping every 10 minutes or so. The view was incredible though! We could see the whole of the city from any point on the climb which was amazing, but I’ll admit the view was quite smoggy, as in lots of pollution. But by the time we climbed down, the sun was lower in the sky and we could see the city much clearer. Also, the higher we got the more expansive the mountains became. There was peak after peak as far as I could see. They were beautiful to look at, but I was in no mood to climb another one! Not after it took 2 hours to get up the first! However, once we got to the top of the peak it was no longer a steep climb up but nearly flat, so we basically walked from one point to another! The view from the very top was awesome, and even though I’m afraid of heights I risked taking a few pictures on the very edge! WORTH IT.

Remember when I mentioned the little cemetery where we locked our bikes? What’s interesting about the mountains is that there are actual burial sites all over them. There’s the small cemetery at the bottom with proper headstones, but on the climb we saw little clues that told us there is something more sacred about the mountains. There were temple-like shrines made from rocks scattered throughout the climb and up close I noticed that there were different coloured cloth that had Chinese writing printed across them, weaving in and out of the stacked rocks. So we assume that the figures were memorials or dedications to something or someone. What’s creepy is that there were actual empty graves here and there, as if someone had dug it but hadn’t used it…yet. Being immature, as usual, we made a few jokes about not surviving our brutal climb up the mountain and the graves were there for us, should we not make it down. But seriously, I’m sure that if I ever made the journey up there again but closer to night, it would be a very haunting, captivating experience.

So after spending about an hour at the top, taking photos and resting, around 3:30pm we made our descent back towards our bikes. I found the climb up the mountain intense and tiring, but the descent down was terrifying. I fell a few times, trying to find the best area’s to place my feet without falling to my death. After we made it down, we carried our bikes back to the road and began our trip back to the city. The ride back was so much easier and faster than the ride there, as it was mostly downhill. I barely had to peddle throughout the entire bike ride! We made it home just after 5 and now Tamlyn and I are watching a movie and taking it easy. Climbing a mountain is tiring stuff!! It’s some sort of lunar festival in China right now so we have tomorrow off of work (yay!) so I’m for sure looking forward to taking it easy tomorrow! Kyle said he wanted to do this again next week, and I was like “Ahhh no”. I want to go back before I leave, but I need a full recovery from this adventure before thinking about another.


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. maryanne
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 07:31:12

    sounds like you will be eco-challenge ready by the time you return to the west…..and kid-friendly….exactly what a young woman should be experiencing in life…

    i pumped your dads bike tires and adjusted his seat…and he’s off!!!!…haha


  2. Lois Christianson
    Sep 14, 2011 @ 23:21:35

    Hi Steph
    I think you have found your calling! Little You are such a great writer. just like your mom. Its your Dad’s birthday to-day…..
    The other day Cameron picked a dead mosquito off the window and said to his Dad “I didn’t dead it” Cute too eh.
    Your experiences fascinate me.
    I’ll check in again
    LOve Aunty


  3. Sara
    Sep 21, 2011 @ 03:12:57

    HAHAHAHA Aunt Lois… ‘to-day’. 😛 I love reading your blog Stepho, I’ll check it again to-morrow. 😉


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: