It’s been a long time since I moved to Dalian, but it took me most of that time (unfortunately) to go and hike in the local national park. The park, which is within about 20 mins by taxi from where I live, is the home to Big Black Mountain (大黑山). So it is a bit shocking that it took me as long as it did to get around to climbing it, and there are some good and some not so good reasons as to why, but for now the important thing is that I did. Twice now.
The first time was foggy so we couldn’t see anything, but there is still something magical about climbing up and up and up into the clouds and it was a great day, so I’ll take it. The view on the way to the top:
The second time was a sunny day and clear (by Dalian standards), so I was able to visit the temple that is about half way up that we can see from the road on the way to work that has been calling to me to visit since I first noticed it and taunting me each Monday morning after I didn’t. It’s a bit tricky to get a good picture from the car to show the temple from below, but I managed to get one while on the mountain.
The first time I went, I didn’t know where the trails were and so we ended up taking the road up. The second time I was with people who had been before, so we took the scenic route up steps through a canyon. The canyon was great, with small temples, a mountain spring and such. The fall views were amazing.
The view from ~500 steps above one small temple.
A temple at the bottom of the mountain.
All told, it’s about 2 hours to climb the mountain, and it’s well worth it. The temples are beautiful and (mostly) well maintained. The canyon route has a spring that comes straight out of the mountain where tons of locals go to get some ‘mountain fresh’ drinking water. Getting out of the city and up high above it gives a nice new perspective on things, and the exercise does a body good. Rounding out the hike with what has now become a the traditional spicy hot soup (Ma La Tang) back in town makes for a pretty perfect Saturday.