Friday, March 20, 2015

The Travelling Nutmeg: 黑山谷 Black Mountain Valley

Black Mountain Valley is one the most popular tourist sites in the South West of China and probably the closest I'll get to a World Heritage Site for now. It is located in Wansheng city which actually was previously part of Sichuan. I, of course, only figured this out after travelling 6 hours and 4 buses to get there. You know saying that a good mountain is hard to find but totally worth it when you do? Yea neither do I, but obviously they need to make one.

After spending almost 5 years in China and speaking Mandarin, and being surrounded by so many international tongues, I can say with complete confidence the language doesn't cut it. There are some heights of creative expressions that language is not equip to climb, emotional depths of awe that cannot be captured in its five-dimensional phrases . But I have made peace with that. Because what language cannot achieve, nature does on its own. Black Mountain Valley does this in every carving and crevice, every dip and turn.

I felt insignificant yet part of something greater than myself. The sun chased us and the waters guided us pass many landmarks; The Wishing Tree where locals would visit every year and the Bamboo ledge where the legend of the healing bamboo sticks may come to life.

Wishing Tree

Bamboo Ledge

Each part of the valley presented a new face of creation. I couldn't help but reflect on age versus maturity. This valley was a clear revelation that only through life's experience can one flow with confidence and truly welcome every colour and hue that the sunlight brought out in you.

Suspensions bridges, arches, floating walkways added to the mysticisms and adventure along the
 15 km hike especially as the sun began to set.

Even the low water levels, due to the change in weather patterns, couldn't stop you from admiring the Yam Falls or any of the other 75 waterfalls along the valley. Formations like the Cow Head and Dragon Rock were easier to view and appreciate too.

I'd be lying if I said this hike was easy. Especially since I accidentally started at the bottom of the mountain, instead of the top (insert expected Drake reference here). But really, wouldn't you think the North Gate started at the mountain top too? Either way, the first 10 km or so were flat but then turned into a steep incline for 3 km. Then just like that I saw cable cars floating through the trees. A saving grace really, because it was 6 pm and we were about to be locked in. And then we would have to find out if the legend of the Dragon rock was actually true.

Are you sorry there is no food in this post? 
Don't worry! Look out for tips about eating while hiking in the future!