the snow angel

 

“The train came out of the long tunnel and into snow country” ~ Yukiguni (Yasunari Kawabata)

 

It was the opening line of the epic novel by Kawabata. And that’s exactly the chilling narration that I heard playing inside my head as our cable car climbed through the tunnel of grey cloud up to Huangshan mountain.

 

Foreboding and idyllic, the disappearing cable line only few meters ahead of us was swallowed by the thick suspended cloud—we were blindly flying up to heaven.

 

The clouds slowly dispersed and a frozen kingdom appeared right in front of us, it could be what Kawabata described as the snow country.

 

We thought we were all layered up and ready for our first snowy trek. Until we stepped outside the insulated station. The chill crept immediately up our spines making us spring instantly back inside the covered building.  It was -10°c

 

But we were determined. Grinning and bearing it, we head out with faux bravado and did what we were bound to do as seasoned travelers—-GROUP PIC!

 

 

In a group of six travel bloggers, getting lost is the last thing that could happen. As weeding our way across any labyrinth comes as a natural survival reflex, plus we have a map that shows that our hotel is more or less just few kilometers away from the cable car station. We should be fine.

 

We heigh-ho-heigh-ho’ed our way towards what looked like an impending snow storm.

 

We walked and talked, took photos and laughed our way for nearly an hour. 

At that point our collective excitement started dwindling and the air of uneasiness hangs with the thick fog.

 

It all started making sense to us when we realized that the terrain is nowhere near how the map looked like, unless we crumple it. Of course, Huangshan is not a flat surface, in fact, it is a complex network of paths running as random as the trail of rain water across slopes, cliffs, ascends and deep crevices of an untamed mountain.

 

Officially lost!

 

 

Temperature was dropping, daylight was slowly dimming and our hope was reducing to a critical level when someone will start blame-storming.

 

Whoever thought of putting the signs and directions lower than the knee is a complete douche and deserves to be fed to the white walkers.

 

Passed the second hour mark, we can hear nothing but the snare of snow against our boots, howling wind from the invisible distance and anxiety so strong it is almost audible. I was ready to huddle with the pack and sleep inside the next portalet we will chance upon.

 

I started smelling fear.

 

Just when we were starting to give up, someone appeared along our path. We asked him and we knew it was throwing a punch in the dark “Hi, do you happen to know where this hotel is?” We were pointing at the brochure in case he doesn’t speak english, chances are he really don’t.

 

“You going the wrong way, I stay there too.”

 

What are the odds of bumping into someone who speaks perfect English in the middle of Anhui and happened to stay in the same hotel we’ve been looking for? If he’s not a guardian angel then I don’t know what is.

 

We caught sight of the hotel just in time for the day’s total darkness and our limbs’ complete numbness. We ran towards the lobby and jumped onto the comfortable warm couch. I set my foot on dry floor, stretched my back on the seat, inhaled deep and exhaled the biggest sigh of relief.

 

We looked for the guardian angel to thank him. He disappeared without a word, like a snowflake touching the soil.

 

“Because you cannot see him, He is everywhere.” ~ Yasunari Kawabata

 


  • http://www.pandelicious.com/ Pandelicious

    This was amazing Ron. You know, I never thought how close we actually were to becoming a headline and a statistic until now. In the moment, I thought cool, mild snow storm, psssh, golf weather! But if it wasn’t for Mr. Apparition-Or-Not-Thank-You we would’ve bitten off Paul’s leg to survive in the wild. :(

  • http://www.siteinfoz.xyz web headers

    was there last spring & it was still coldish…I cringed looking at those snow photos