Out of expectation, massively colourful, deep in autumn, this hiking trip happened on the best occasion. The trail in Tianmushan is entirely hidden, even for Chinese, and I decide to share our experience for those who might be interested.
The first thing needs to be clarified is that Tianmushan we went is not the Tianmu Mountains to the north-west of Hangzhou, close to Lin An. Both mountains own the same pinyin and are both situated in Zhejiang, and both close to Hangzhou. Quite confusing, isn’t it? This one we went to this weekend was to the south-east of Hangzhou, closer to Shaoxing, a famous watertown style city.
It took us 3 hours to drive from Shanghai to Shaoxing on Friday night. Tianmu Mountain is closer to Xin Chang, a county under Shao Xing, which is another hour of drive on Saturday morning, and 20 minutes to Banzhu Village, the start hiking point of Tianmushan. Although it would be effortless to get public transport to there, with the brand new roads and buses we saw passing by.
22.5 KM of Hiking
After a night of rain and the long drive, we couldn’t wait to stretch out our legs in the still moistured earth. Tianmushan has a stone made gate with marks on it, and it’s free entrance for the newly established hiking trail. Crossed Banzhu Village, clear signals are showing the hiking trail. However, we challenged ourselves and chose the way upward while the hiking trail indicates the smooth direction in the front.
Apparently, we chose the local’s daily routine. The track was quite rough and steep, covered with bushes and mixed with muds from time to time. Not long after, we arrived at some tea farm. The view there was already pretty good, even though the sea altitude was not high yet. The track stopped at some point at the tea farm, near which a small hut was set up for a break I guess.
We had to descend back and went back the flat way. Bulks of leaves of various deep colours cover our path, Platanus, maples trees, bamboo, peach and pine trees. They are mostly yellow, gold, orange or even marron, paving out a long carpet, along with our shoe print. The mixture of the trees created interesting lines of the mountains as if som sewed needlework.
We hiked up until a hotel called Tai Bai Shan Zhuang, 2.2KM away from the camping site. It was pretty exciting for the next camping trip for us. We decided to head back by then, as it was close to sunset. Ending up walking in the dark, we caught a snap of sunset when the sun decided to take a break from dense clouds for a second. It was pretty safe though.
Roller Coaster but in Real
We wanted to drive back to the spot where we ended the previous day but didn’t manage to. We ended up parking all the way up to a mountain of around 800 meters high. But it was a real challenge that we didn’t expect. The upward hill began with approximately 45 degrees, but it just went steeper. When we climbed the third hill, it might go up to 70 degrees, and I had to crawl with my hands and stop to rebuild the confidence… But we managed to overcome five hills and rip off some trousers as we need to engage our butts during the roller coaster like hike.
A must revisit in Tianmushan!