Noilly Prattle: China 2017: 23 – 800+ marble steps to Moon Hill

Saturday, July 29, 2017

China 2017: 23 – 800+ marble steps to Moon Hill

aboard the #2 bus
Yulong Scenic Area
     Not too far south of Yangshuo there is a scenic area with various points of interest in the Yulong River area. The Yulong is a tributary of the Li Jiang. We decided to take the #2 bus that we had scouted out a few days earlier to Moon Hill, one of the points of interest along the scenic route.

Moon Hill
       Moon Hill is an unusual karst peak with a hole in it that, from a distance, looks like a half moon and, according to the tourist literature, can change shape from full circle to crescent as you change your vantage point. Well, perhaps whoever wrote the tourist brochure was a little over excited or, maybe, a little intoxicated. It looked mostly like a half moon to me.

almost there
800 steps is 800 steps marble or not
       Moon Hill was the third of my “hundreds of steps” challenges after Yellow Dragon Cave in Wulingyuan and the steps up to the pavilion overlooking the Dong Village in Sanjiang. A notice informed me that it was “about 800 stairs paved with marble” up to the hole in the wall called Moon Hill. Marble, granite, concrete or old railroad ties, 800 steps is 800 steps. Since we were there, there was no point in not climbing the 800 steps to reach the “moon”.

the view from the "Moon"

a fire to warm your backside
"Yeah, whatever, it's cool by me!"
       It was a slog but we managed to reach the threshold of the moon and were immediately accosted by some old ladies not much younger than me selling souvenirs and drinks. We marveled that these crones climbed that damned hill every day to make a little extra income while we were huffing and puffing—the stamina and hardiness of these people is impressive. It's embarrassing to admit how spoiled and soft we are. The old girls were good sports though. It was a bit chilly up there and they had a nice fire going, so I bought a Coke and sat by the fire and engaged in some good-natured bantering with them while they tried to sell their postcards and more drinks as we all sat and mugged for the camera. Guess I can still turn a few heads . . . as long as they're over 65. Great fun!

the 1500-year-old Banyan Tree
rope-man seems to be
 talking on a smart phone
branch braces are actually living tree trunks
 ingrown with the branches of the Banyan Tree

       After climbing back down the hill we walked a couple kilometers along the scenic road to a 1500-year-old Banyan Tree. Apart from its impressive size, the interesting thing about the tree is that it has living trees for supports that are actually grafted to the Banyan. The Banyan Tree is popular with visitors of all ages—mugging for the camera, taking a raft to a cave across the pond, entertained by a quartet of performing monkeys. . .

holes in the limestone are a common feature
of the karst mountains
bamboo raft and raftsman

performing monkeys . . . resting 
performing madames . . . tadaaa
"Let's see, what can I shoot next?"

       After leaving the Banyan Tree we continued walking another couple kilometers to the Yulong River bridge. Rafting on the Yulong River is a popular tourist activity and the People's Bridge is the terminal point for rafting trips. 

Yulong River rafting terminal from People's Bridge

any old port in a storm
       After all that walking and climbing the “marble stairs” we were tired and caught a bus back to town. After a no fuss no muss junk food fix at the local Burger King in Yangsuo we spent the evening resting at the Nana Hotel. I worked on my notes and photos while R.B. worked on her blog (she can log on to hers in China—it's not, unlike mine, blocked). 

No comments: