|China National Park | Yunnan Lijiang Jade Dragon Snow Mountain Glacier Park|
To access the preserved national treasure, one has to take park's feeder bus in order to reach the cable car station situated at 3356 meters elevation. Weather was wet when we arrived, the summit of Snow Mountain cannot be seen at all but we was definitely getting closer to conquer it!
We were taken to the waiting terminal. It is very well-equipped; there are washrooms, counters selling oxygen kits and winter jackets. Also, some food counters selling candy bars, hot beverage, hot snacks such as sausage, steamed corns and instant noodles. Most of us took some finger food to kill time (and boredom too). We are told during the school holidays and peak season, waiting duration can go up to more than 5 hours!
Close to noon, our turn finally arrived. We were whisked to an area where park buses were already waiting. Upon arriving at the cable car station, we had to queue again. We waited for about 30 minutes before our turn to get onto a cable car. Phew!
Each cable car takes maximum 6 persons. I was rather nervous initially, thinking about the heights we were traveling at. However, due to the poor weather, we couldn’t see much view outside our cable car. Misty, foggy, blurred – these are the words to describe our limited vision. Had it not rained, I am sure there would be a lot of beautiful flora to admire at. Cable car journey took about 20 minutes.
Around 1pm, we reached final cable car station at 4506 meters, highest point reachable by cable car. This is where the Glaciers Park is located. As we were walking out from shaded area, we moved in the queue at the counter selling certificate and medal. They engraved your name on the spot. Had we knew this was optional; we would have avoided paying for this crap! (It cost close to 200 yuan for a certificate, medal and a VCD)
Going out, our guide kept reminding us to take it easy and not to walk too fast if we were not comfortable. At this height, one can feel oxygen is really thin. Walking faster, I felt as if my lung needed to work extra hard to support my pace. Few of our friends in the tour group especially the elderly began to show signs of lack of oxygen, they needed to sit down and rely on the oxygen spray.
My hubby and I decided to be more adventurous; we climbed up on the wooden walkway to take more photographs of the glaciers. After spending about half an hour at the Glaciers Park and snapping some photos, we began our descending. We saw our local guide, Leo waving at us. Apparently, we were the last couple to descend! We quickly made our way back to the cable car. Gosh, we really lost count of time at the mountain top.
To appreciate this mountain, I did some research on the 'Unique Selling Point' about Jade Dragon Snow Mountain:
• It is a snow-capped mountain all year round, making it the most southernmost mountain within the Northern hemisphere. If you are living in South East Asia, here is the nearest place to catch all-year-round-snow-capped mountain – chances are your flight won’t take you more than 5 hours (compares this with Europe).
• It has 13 peaks, the highest one being Shanzidou - 5,596 meters above sea level. This peak has never been conquered by any men. Among reasons cited is the mountain is an ex-volcano site with soft soil hence making expedition using nails and hooks not possible.
• Is a home to 19 glaciers spanning across 10 square kilometers, it is unusual to find glaciers in low latitude area. However, there is a claim recently that the glaciers are beginning to thin and disappearing due to threat from global warming.
Despite the wet and foggy weather, we enjoyed the glaciers experience and being on top of the world!
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