I think March is a wonderful month to visit Japan….perfect temperature for a big boy like myself. I flew to Narita and then onto Osaka where my good friend Moto Tanaka was waiting for me.
Nashville is a great city for music, restaurants and bar hopping, it has that feel of Biehl Street but a bit cleaner and safer. Not only is Nashville the Capital of Tennessee, but home to Country Music Hall of Fame, Johnny Cash Museum, Grand Ole Opry House and the historic Ryman Auditorium. We also celebrated Linna’s 47th birthday in Nashville and attending a Fleetwood Mac concert.
Our good friend Jim Darmiento was celebrating his 50th birthday in Winthrop, Washington and asked a few friends to come along. He rented Hazel’s Overnight rental right across the street from Copper Glance restaurant in the heart of Winthrop. In fact our first night we had dinner and drinks at the Copper Glance. Due to a late night, we headed out snowshoeing Patterson Lake next day, followed with drinks and appetizers at the Sun Mountain Lodge.
The cold air and heavy snow made this sweet basic Pilchuck hike into a cold ass kicker. Washington received tons of snow this year so every hike this winter has seen heavy snow pack. The winter route up to Pilchuck is steep and deep in snow…..but still very worth it.
My wife Linna, niece Chloe Wei and I got a late start at the base of Mt. Baker ski to snowshoe up to Artist Point.
It was time for a calorie burn after Thanksgiving, so my wife Linna, niece Chloe Wei and my good friend Matt Kerby hiked up Mailbox Peak via the old trail two days after stuffing our face with roasted duck, lamb and cold Chinese sliced beef.
We ascended and descended the old trail (red)…4,000 feet up in 2.5 miles. I have descended the new trail (blue) a couple of times, but the 5 miles one way down seems to take forever. My knees are tender and some of the larger step-downs send agonizing jolts of pain on the 2.5 miles old trail, but I will bear the pain to forsake the extended 5 miles.
We stayed in the Wuyuan County for a couple of days, known as the most beautiful countryside in China. Located northeast of Jiangxi Province and near Mount Huangshan that we just visited a couple of days ago. We were ending our China trip that started in Shanghai a week ago. My wife Linna Wei put together the perfect itinerary for twelve days.The beautiful drying racks in the ancient village of Wuyuan.
We stayed in the Hongcun village before and after hiking Mount Huangshan. The 900 year old village is located in the historical region of southern Anhui Province near the southwest slope of Mount Huangshan.
After a couple of days of playing around skyscrapers and dinning at fine restaurants in Shanghai we took a G series bullet train 417 miles southwest to Huangshan National Park. This was a relaxing 4 1/2 hour train ride. Also called the Yellow Mountains, not because they are yellow in color but the area renamed after the legendary Yellow Emperor (Huang Di) in 747 AD.
Linna chose November to avoid the tourist crowds, but beware it’s colder and you just might be hiking in snow. We had a bit more clouds then we wanted on this two day mountain visit, so Linna and I already decided to come back. Next time we will probably take the cable car up for a head start.
By the way, on your way up the mountain, don’t ask how much farther….because you will receive inconsistency replies from one hour to three hours.Huangshan is most well known for its remarkable pines and probably has inspired most Chinese paintings and drawings. Matt Kerby took most of these remarkable pictures.
Huangshan is known for its 60,000 stone steps, carved in the mountain. We might have hiked up 30,000 to 35,000 steps our first day. We didn’t utilize any cable cars like most people, but we started hiking from the bottom.
After 35,000 steps we reached our Huangshan Baiyun Hotel, yes…there are hotels on top of Mt. Huangshan. I headed to the bar area and sipped on a cold beer as Linna checked us in. After climbing all those steps, the private cozy room with shower was the perfect way to end the day.
Fall is a good time to visit China, weather is cool and a few less tourists to deal with. We asked our good friends Matt and Shelly Kerby to join us in China for some site seeing and indulging in wonderful food and drink. We spent two days in Shanghai before moving onto Huangshan Mountain.
Sitting comfortably on the G series bullet train heading to Huangshan Mountain. G is short for Gaosu Dongche meaning high-speed in Chinese. China has the world’s longest high speed railway network at 17,000 miles heading to 24,000 miles by 2025.
Linna and I were fortunate to be asked to come a long on a two night backpacking trip in the Enchantments, near Leavenworth, Washington. Linna’s Chinese friends were lucky enough to win the lottery for overnight camping in the upper Snow Lakes near the core of the Enchantments. We met up with the other 6 Chinese friends at the Snow Lakes trail-head on Friday morning and started around 8:00 a.m. on a cool sunny day.
Our group chose the very South end of upper Snow Lakes, which was 8.2 miles from the trail-head with 4,700 feet gain. We were completely surprised how low the lake was, it was difficult scurrying down the lake bank for water especially after carrying a 40 lb. pack all day.
One of the Chinese guys brought a liter of Bai Jiu liquor and Linna brought a pint of Scotch, which encourage a lot of loud obnoxious singing that I am sure the other backpackers around the lake could hear but not understand.
We spent all day Saturday exploring the core of the Enchantments and taking a zillion pictures of the beautiful lakes and Larches. After a long day of accent and decent from the core, we were in our warm sleeping bags right after a hot bag of Mountain House Chili Mac.
Sunday was another long day with heavy packs on the decent back to the cars, but cold beers and hot bratwursts awaited in Leavenworth for us.Our home for two nights, my 10 year old REI Half-Dome tent.
We hit the fall colors at the right time.
The larches in peak season.
Rick Freeman standing tall in the core of the Enchantments.
Linna got a great shot of a local goat.
Linna standing tall on Crystal Lake.