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Dangerous Hike and Freebies

Recently I received an e-mail with the subject line: Free lunch! Want to go? All our Thursday freebies and our thoughts about China that you'll read about below in our personal update made me take a second look at the e-mail. It was a series of outrageous pictures of a climb up a mountain in China, claiming that anyone who reached the top would eat a free lunch at a restaurant at the top. I checked with Snopes and found nothing to confirm or deny this claim. However, as I did other web searches, I found that there is quite a bit out there about the extremely dangerous hikes people can and do take on Mt. Huashan. Here are some of the pictures from the e-mail and from websites I found. I love to go hiking in the mountains, but I'm not sure this hike is my cup of green tea....

Here's a map to show where Mt. Huashan is located....

map with Mt. Huashan

Part of the climb is a pleasant ride in a gondola....

gondola ride on Mt. Huashan

Some of the sites I found stressed that the climb up Mt. Huashan is mountain hiking, not mountain climbing, which involves special equipment and knowledge. They also stressed that this particular hike is not for people not in shape, and Americans are surprised that the public is even allowed to do this - it's so dangerous!

Here are some pictures of what different parts of the "hiking trail" look like....

stairs cut into the rock

a walkway that seems to just float on the rock

Anyone care to go up this ladder...?

up a ladder

No one can say they don't warn the climbers....

standard disclaimers

Talk about walking the plank!

walking the plank

Watch your step! That's quite a drop!

girl walking the plank

guys walking the plank

I mean it - that's a really serious drop!

serious drop

Part of the climb is footholds cut into the rock and chains thoughtfully provided to hold on to....

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

footholds and chains

Be sure to stay on the staircase and hold on to the chains!

staircase to heaven

Since some parts of the trail make it difficult to pass people coming back down, someone has thought of providing two staircases - one for climbing and one for descending....

up and down stairs

As hard as this hike would be in nice weather, some people even take this hike in the winter, believe it or not!

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

climbing Mt. Huashan in winter

Those who make it to the top of the five peaks are rewarded with some breath-taking views (as if they could still breathe once they got there!)....

The South Peak...

the South Peak

The West Peak (called the Playing Chess Pavilion)...

the West Peak

For those who can't get enough of this stuff, here's a website with stories from people who have done this hike (I'm not responsible for everything said on that site) - http://www.ssqq.com/ARCHIVE/vinlin27d.htm

So, anyone going to add this hike to your future travel and vacation plans?


Last Thursday we took advantage of several freebies or almost-freebies. First, we went to McDonald's for lunch. They were giving to each customer a free Southern style chicken sandwich with the purchase of a medium or large soft drink. We had eaten some vegetables before leaving the house to help round out our lunch. After lunch we took off for Costco - they were offering for several days the opportunity for non-members to get in for free. What I hadn't reckoned on was that the time of our shopping coincided very nicely with all the free samples of all kinds of things that further helped round out our lunch.

That evening after dinner at home, we made the mistake of taking Dunkin Donuts up on their offer for a free iced coffee. Dunkin Donuts coffee is one of my very favorite coffees, but their iced coffee was worth every penny I paid for it. The girls took only a couple of sips of theirs, but after doctoring mine up to the point it was palatable, I finished it off. After all, it was FREE, right?! I regretted it as I thought about that semi-wretched iced coffee off and on until 1:30 a.m. Did I mention that they weren't offering decaf iced coffee?

Did anyone else take advantage of any of these freebies last week?

Many have been asking if Becka and are going to China this summer to teach English again. Earlier this school year we rattled two different door knobs, thinking the Lord might open at least one of the doors. But that did not happen, so we know that He wants us here this summer. The dean at the university where we've taught two summers before said that they would love to have us come teach in 2009. So we will plan that way.

If you're new to my blog, you might want to check out some of our adventures from the summers of 2005 and 2006 that I chronicled on the blog. You can get to those posts by clicking on the China link in the tag cloud in the sidebar. There are many pages of posts to explore about our time over there.

People have been asking me for an update on the wren's nest in our bird house. Below is a shot I took this evening. You can see several little eggs in there.

house wren eggs in our bird house


"Politics is not a bad profession. If you succeed there are many rewards, if you disgrace yourself you can always write a book." - Ronald Reagan

=^..^= =^..^=

Sign on high school bulletin board - "Free: every Monday through Friday. Knowledge. Bring your own container."

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18 Comments on “Dangerous Hike and Freebies”

  1. #1 Ellen
    on May 19th, 2008 at 11:40 pm

    I went by McD’s and DD for their freebies as well. My DD gave out decaf iced coffee, which it must have been since I drank it at 9:00 and still went to sleep at the normal time. However, I’m pregnant and the mother of 3, so I may have been able to drink “full octane” coffee and still gone to sleep! :o)

    BTW: I’m all for hiking and getting exercise, but regardless of the view from the top or the amount of money I would get paid, nothing would motivate me to take this kind of hike!

  2. #2 Laura
    on May 19th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    No thanks, it made me dizzy. I’m going on an adventure this week and told my students I will sit at the bottom and watch them climb. I’d rather go to the strawberry patch that you went to last week.

  3. #3 Rob
    on May 20th, 2008 at 5:32 am

    @ Ellen,
    Ah to be young, but not necessarily pregnant! 🙂 I used to be able to drink caffeine in the evening and not have it bother me, but I’m becoming increasingly sensitive to it – even to the point of my heart racing, sometimes surprisingly and unpredictably. Glad you were able to take advantage of the freebies!

    @ Laura,
    Are you sure you don’t want to try to go on that hike? It would be a lot closer for you to get to than for us. Maybe it’s just as well that we’re not going to China this summer – the temptation to check out Huashan might have been too great. Maybe we’ll forget about it by summer 2009.

    Hope all’s well with you. Greetings to J & ML!

  4. #4 Kathy Sorensen
    on May 20th, 2008 at 6:43 am

    I took a look at the Mc’D’s chicken sandwich, but it was 9AM and fried chicken just didn’t interest me at that hour.
    Re: climbing the Chinese mountain … I’m forwarding the blog to my son John who climbed Mt Fuji at my insistence when he was stationed in Japan with the Navy. He acknowledged that the view was great … but there are great views that don’t take several days for the trip up, then down. He slept on boards with the rest of the Japanese tourists to be able to see the sun rise from the top. Happy knitting!

  5. #5 Michael Murphy
    on May 20th, 2008 at 7:46 am

    If having coffee and doughnuts appealed to me a lot, I probably would have attempted the “be there in the morning when the new store opens” thing in order to get a free breakfast combo each week for a year. If a Chick-fil-a were opening, I’d get there the night before and camp out. That would be worth it.

    And, I do like hiking quite a bit, but I draw the line at planks attached to the side of the mountain and having to use chains to hold on. Also, if those staircases and chains and all were installed during the Mao regime, I’m surprised they still work. The sites when you get there do look impressive, though.

  6. #6 Rob
    on May 20th, 2008 at 8:13 am

    @ Kathy,
    Our McD’s didn’t offer the chicken sandwich until after 10:30. Was the offer where you are for the Southern style chicken? We were wondering how widespread this offer was and if all McD’s in the US now have the Southern style chicken.

    This hike sounds like something your son would like! 🙂 A reader who lived in Korea wrote me an e-mail to tell me that hiking with people lined up must be an Asian thing. He pointed out the here in the US we go hiking to get away from people!

    @ Michael,
    The offer for the free iced coffee was throughout the DD chain, not just at the one that had the grand opening on Wade Hampton.

    I’m glad to know that you draw lines in your hiking. As much as I love to hike, I don’t really see myself doing the one on Mt. Huashan. I can think of better ways to depart this life and go to heaven than doing a free-fall over there!

  7. #7 Vikki
    on May 20th, 2008 at 8:36 am

    I think I’ll pass on that hike… Personally, I think you would have to be nuts to even consider it – planks and chains on a sheer cliff?!?

  8. #8 Greg
    on May 20th, 2008 at 9:43 am

    The views from climbing the mountain are indeed spectacular, but someone either has to be insane or have a death wish to want to attempt such a climb. :-))

  9. #9 Dan
    on May 20th, 2008 at 10:53 am

    I got a free iced coffee from DD and actually liked it. (of course I’m not a purist like you). I went to the link you gave for anecdotes about the hike. The guy who hiked it in 2003 and almost died several times needs to get a grip. Don’t blame the Chinese!

  10. #10 Steve
    on May 20th, 2008 at 11:26 am

    Hey, Rob! Always good to read your blog! Forget the restaurant meal; it sounds to me like an easy way to get you to do the Mt. Huashan hiking thing would be to offer you a free McD’s chicken sandwich and DD coffee at the end of it! Am I right?

  11. #11 Rob
    on May 20th, 2008 at 12:01 pm

    @ Vikki and Greg,
    Sounds like you share the same views I do on attempting this climb. It’s really crazy when you compare this to the inconsequential little things that are declared unsafe here in the good ol’ US of A, isn’t it?!

    @ Dan,
    More power to you on the DD iced coffee. I think it may just have been the DD I went to – the one by Cherrydale. They asked if I wanted cream and sugar, to which I replied yes. I got the cream, but there can NOT have been anything in it to sweeten it – purist or not! 🙂

    @ Steve,
    Sti-beve! Good to hear from you. Nope – it would take far more than a Mickey-Dee’s chicken sandwich to lure me to those gorgeous summits! And DD iced coffee – GACK!

    Thanks for commenting!

  12. #12 Dan
    on May 20th, 2008 at 1:56 pm

    @ Rob
    re: DD coffee – That’s what my wife said. We both supplemented with extra sugar packets. I won’t tell you how many she put in hers. 😉

  13. #13 Rob
    on May 21st, 2008 at 8:05 am

    @ Dan,
    I used Splenda when I got home. It worked, and actually the DD iced coffee was not bad at all – sweetened.

  14. #14 Sherry
    on May 21st, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    I didn’t pick up any freebies, but I did just read about that hike up Huashan. No thanks. The Great Wall was bad enough, and I didn’t even get to the top of that! My heart was racing just thinking about it–and now even the office chair I’m sitting on seems a little high. Ick. I HATE heights. I HATE hiking.

    I may have nightmares tonight. 🙁 But thanks for sharing nonetheless. 🙂

  15. #15 Carrie
    on May 21st, 2008 at 5:04 pm

    Yikes! I think I’m already too old to have fun with that.

  16. #16 Becky Hein
    on May 22nd, 2008 at 7:52 am

    What I like most about IV man is the personal updates and what I like as well are the quotes. Yeah, the IV part is always good too, but I never skip the personal info.

  17. #17 Lynnette
    on May 22nd, 2008 at 10:30 am

    My sister and I stopped by D’n’D on the way back from the library. We were incredibly thankful that the coffee was free. It was interesting.

  18. #18 Deb
    on May 31st, 2008 at 8:22 am

    Rob, thanks for sharing the hiking pics! Our family went hiking on Memorial Day, altho I sat and knitted and watched the waterfall while they hiked. So, you can see I wouldn’t do well on the hiking trails in the pictures above…the gondola maybe would be fun though. 🙂