Hiking through a Chinese landscape painting
By Linda Mealey-Lohmann, vice president, US-China Peoples Friendship Association of Minnesota
It was a beautiful day (in September 2013) to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Yellow Mountain (Huangshan 黄山), a UNESCO world heritage site in Anhui Province, China, west of Shanghai. We took the tram from the bottom of the mountain to nearly its top, where we were told we would have to hike the rest of the way to our hotel. So, with our overnight bags slung across our shoulders, we hiked along a well-defined path while taking in the breath-taking beauty of the jutting granite peaks and the ancient Huangshan Pines. The sky was blue and we could see for miles. It was a perfect day for this US-China Peoples Friendship Association tour group of eight travelers who had traveled from all over the U.S. to come together at this spot.
The next morning brought us a completely different view of Yellow Mountain - it was raining, and all was shrouded in clouds. Disappointed, we nevertheless headed out that morning for a group hike to Bright Summit. Little did we know what awaited us! The mountains and pines re-created scenes we had only seen in Chinese landscape paintings in museums or books. Everywhere we looked, the scenery was breathtaking, and we found ourselves standing in awe, speechless, glued to one spot, trying to take in the grandeur that was before us.
We all came away with a deep respect of Yellow Mountain, a new understanding of Chinese landscape painting, and the bonds of friendship to last a lifetime.