Workers, Yellow Mountain, China - Part 2

A worker, with the job of sweeping the mountain trails of Huangshan free of ice and snow, descends from a break and prepares to, once again, face the elements.

"A Working Class Hero is Something to Be." So sung the great John Lennon on the trials and tribulations of the average man, the worker, in his song of the same name. This is my second post on the workers on China's famous and arguably most beautiful mountain Huangshan (Yellow Mountain).

After greeting one of the workers during a snowstorm on a high, windswept mountain pass I found myself singing the words from that very emotive song. It therefore seemed appropriate to quote the great man's lyrics in this post. After coming from a humble, working class background John Lennon was able to touch the hearts and minds of millions of people around the world with his songs about love and peace.

It's nice to think that all of us have the potential to live extraordinary lives, despite our backgrounds or current mindset. Ordinary people who live largely selfless, life-affirming lives are my heroes.

The image at the top of this post features one of the numerous sweepers I met while traversing the top of the mountain. Their job is to keep the paths clean and, during the colder months, free of snow and ice. It makes a difference, because I found myself on paths both newly swept and otherwise. Snow is one thing, but having to move up and down some of the stepper paths is a bit scary when the steps are covered with ice.

Exploring the paths of Yellow Mountain early in the morning can be tricky in the middle of winter before the workers, whose job it is to sweep the paths, have had time to do their work.

I purchased several pairs of cheap, slip-on studded sleeves to wear underneath my gore-tex shoes. While each pair only lasted about a day before they fell apart, they really helped on those slippery, icy paths. I did see some folk with more professionally made versions with, what looked like, hard rubber spikes that I'd definitely purchase for my next winter trip to the mountain.

The above pic illustrates a part of one of the long marches tourists, sweepers and carriers alike traverse up, down and across the mountain top.

A porter, loaded with goods, walks a windy and exposed path on Huangshan (i.e., Yellow Mountain), China.

The final image illustrates one of the workers with, I'm sure, the hardest job on the mountain. These are the poor souls who cart heavy loads of supplies to the hotels, restaurants and shops situated across the mountain top. As you can see from the image, they are expected to work under all but the harshest conditions.

Yellow Mountain is a most beautiful place that brings one into direct contact with nature and some of the countries harder working folks. Certainly such experiences should encourage us to contemplate our relatively fortunate lives and, hopefully, allow us to re-centre ourselves and obtain a better understanding of our place and purpose in this world.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru