04. 20,000 Steps Up Mount Qingcheng

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A group of Shawn’s co-workers invited the new team to an overnight stay at Mt. Qingcheng (translates to Green City), just two hours outside of Chengdu. The mountain range has 36 peaks and is one of the most important places of Taoism in China. Friday night, the hotel cooked the group a large dinner consisting of many mystery meats, whole fish, rice and potatoes. I stuck to the rice and potatoes. After dinner, when the drinks were flowing, we all played the English and Chinese versions of Heads Up and a few games of dice. Once the majority of the group started to trickle into their rooms to rest up for the hike the next day, our team stayed behind to sing a few karaoke classic such as Spice Girls, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Disney’s Aladdin.

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We missed the larger group the next morning and our party of eight had to rely on vague directions and memory. So, of course our hike started in the wrong direction. We didn’t realize we were going the complete opposite way until about a mile in, where there were only local farmers and small, rundown residential buildings. Fortunately, we were able to wave down a buggy passing by and were dropped at the base of the mountain to begin the real trail.

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Originally, we thought the hike was only going to be a few hours and we would be back by lunch. We took the cable cars up part of the mountain and began to hike to the next cable station. Once we arrived and found they lost electricity to the next stop (because, China) we had to make the decision to walk back down to the base or hike the rest of the way. Since we were told the remainder of the climb was only 2km (~1.25 miles), we decided we would continue the trip on foot and meet the rest of the group at the hotel a little after lunch. Whoever told us the hiking distance was a BIG FAT LIAR. We spent six hours walking over four miles and climbing 200 flights of stairs. However, the views at each stop made all of the sore muscles worth it. Now if I could only convince Shawn to give me another massage…

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