Emeishan – Hongchun Temple to Elephant Bathing Pool Temple

18 October 2009
Emeishan – Hongchun Temple to Elephant Bathing Pool Temple

In the morning we ate a wonderful breakfast of fried eggs with
tomatoes and rice, a chocolate banana pancake, tea, and two vitamin
drinks at the Hard Wok Cafe (all for for 50 RMB). We started hiking
at 9 am and shortly ran into a Chinese family that was heavily
traumatized. They had been attacked by monkeys.... later that day we
found the crime scene... personal belongings were torn apart and
strewn everywhere. Luckily the monkeys were long gone. Later we ran
into a trio of backpackers (an Indian guy whose name we can't begin to
spell... his Chinese girlfriend Alien (I don't understand the choice
of her English name either), and a Brit named Gary) who had stayed at
our same hotel but had gotten an earlier start on the trail. Gary
wanted to summit that day and after talking to us about the distance
he took off running up the trail (luckily he was traveling very
light... making the trip much easier). The Chinese and Indian couple
hiked with us the rest of the way... luckily with no monkey
sightings... until Elephant Bathing Temple (however, said Indian was
very afraid of attacks the entire way and kept saying that he smelt
the monkeys coming). The hike was very foggy and cold... with a
Seattle like drizzle coming down the whole hike.

We made it from Hongchun to Elephant Bathing Temple in 4 hours and 20
minutes... but we probably could have made it in less than 4 hours if
we weren't held up by the interesting conversation with our new
friends. Over the day we had an absolute ascent of 900 meters, but we
are guessing that we climbed over 1000 meters in total due to the up
and down terrain. Upon arriving at the Temple, we pondered why the
Temple would be called Elephant Bathing Temple... as one was very
unlikely to get an Elephant to climb such steep steps to the Temple's
location. I surmised that they must have marched more willing baby
elephants up the mountain (note that there are no actual elephants at
the temple). The views from the temple down into the valley below
were magnificent (especially at night, as you could see the lights
from the city below)... but the room rates were less so. We had to
pay 160 RMB for double room (400 RMB will get you the luxury room).
Our room had a TV (which we couldn't' confirm worked), two beds, and
electric blankets. Again, public gym style showers were the norm...
but you had to strangely wait till 5 pm before any hot water was

For dinner we ventured into the Temple's dining hall to see what was
up available. The temple was serving a set veggie meal for 10 Yuan...
or there was an option of ordering off the menu (which unfortunately
was written all in Chinese). As the set veggie dinner didn't look
appetizing and we couldn't read the menu we decided to eat at a
restaurant located outside the temple grounds. One point in favor of
the restaurant was that the room was heated (… it was really cold that
night). We ordered chicken and chilis (very very hot) (40Y), rice (4Y
for each bowl), noodles with fried egg (8Y), a beer, tea, and a yogurt
drink (to calm my burning mouth). During the whole dinner one of the
two employees kept motioning two bent thumbs which he'd put
together... we'll need to figure out what that means. While we ate
dinner the ChinIndian couple continued hiking into the dark, hoping to
reach the next temple so that they could then reach the summit for the

- Scott