Huangshan; literally: "Yellow Mountains" is a mountain range in south Anhui province in eastern China.
It consists on many named peaks around a central but not flat plateau, and is well known for its fantastic scenery, sunsets, peculiarly-shaped granite peaks, Huangshan Pine trees, hot springs, winter snow, and views of the clouds from above. Trees grow up to the treeline at 1,800 meters, becoming more and more peculiar at higher altitudes. Their shapes are one of the inspirations for Bonsai tree shapes, with one or two long branches reaching out from the mountain sides in one direction only.
Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and definitely one of China's major tourist destinations.
The Huangshan mountain range has many peaks, some more than 1,000 meters (3,250 feet) high. The three tallest and best-known peaks are Lotus Peak (Lian Hua Feng, 1,864 m), Bright Summit Peak (Guang Ming Ding, 1,840 m), and Celestial Peak (Tian Du Feng, literally Capital of Heaven Peak, 1,829 m).
But one of the best lookout points is on Shixin peak, overlooking cloud valley.
The mountains were formed in the Mesozoic, about 100 million years ago, when an ancient sea disappeared due to uplift. Later, in the Quaternary Period, the landscape was shaped by the influence of glaciers. The vegetation of the area varies with elevation. Mesic forests cover the landscape below 1,100 meters, with bamboo on the lower slopes. Deciduous forest and the famous pines grow from 1,100 meters up to the tree line at 1,800 meters. The Huangshan pine is named after Huangshan and is considered an example of vigor because the trees thrive by growing straight out of the rocks. Many of the pine trees in the area are more than a hundred years old and have been given their own names (such as the Ying Ke Pine, or Welcoming-Guests Pine, which is thought to be more than 1500 years old and the union pine which consists of 9 pines that have grown intertwined into one strong tree. The pines vary greatly in shape and size, with the most crooked of the trees being considered the most attractive.
The mountaintops often offer views of the clouds from above, known as the Sea of Clouds (Chinese: 云海; pinyin: yúnhǎi) or "Huangshan Sea" because of the cloud's resemblance to an ocean, and many vistas are known by names such as "North Sea" or "South Sea." One writer remarked on the view of the clouds from Huangshan as follows: To enjoy the magnificence of a mountain, you have to look upwards in most cases. To enjoy Mount Huangshan, however, you've got to look downward. The area also is host to notable light effects, such as the renowned sunrises. Watching the sunrise is considered a "mandatory" part of visiting the area, if you are lucky enough to have a day that you are not stuck in the clouds as I was. A phenomenon known as Buddha's Light is also well-known but on average, Buddha's Light only appears a couple of times per month.
I came to Huangshan via Tungku town, and the cloud valley gondola (made in Asutria and Switzerland). The afternoon I arrived was very cloudy, so patience and lots of time are needed to get good photos but I think I managed some great photos. As the light changed later in the day, so the cloudswere lit differently and looked different.
The last 8 photos were taken at Monkey overlooking the sea and near the Beihai hotel. The former is a good example of chinese penchant for great name phrases!
The second day on Huangshan started completely closed in by cloud.
I started at the union tree - it is meant to be 9 trees that grew together.
As the day progressed, the clouds swirled and separated. so that glimpses of Xihai grand canyon opened up. I walked down to the bottom and then caught a funicular rail up to the opposite side where Turtle mountain is located. I walked back over 3 peaks including Bright Summit Peak (Guang Ming Ding, 1,840 m), and Celestial Peak back to the start of Xihai.
The paths are all concrete, it is estimated that there are 60,000 steps on Huangshan, I must have walked down and up about 20,000 in that one day.