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Web Exclusive – December 2018

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The Wild Valleys' Glassless Cable Car System
A system of small, simple cars helps give visitors to this picturesque spot the best possible experience.

The vast Taihang Mountains stretch their northeast wings out to meet the Yanshan Mountains to the west of Beijing, embracing the capital city with joint arms. Little was known about the Wild Valleys (Ye-san-po) until the late 1980s, when a filming team spotted an ideal scene in there for the TV series The Three Kingdoms based on Luo Guanzhong’s famous novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms regarding political and military warfare between, roughly, 190 and 235 AD. The novel is regarded as one of the "Big Four" of the ancient Chinese literature.

Lying hidden in the deep mountains about 80 mi. southwest of Beijing, the Wild Valleys feature varied geological wonders and rarely seen plants among its multiple tourist attractions. The mountainous landscape with picturesque shapes of narrow gorges, uniquely formed rocks and plenty of waterfalls can rival those of Wulingyuan in Zhangjiajie.

Two visiting routes zigzag separately along the 10-mi.-long gorges: Hai-tang-yu in the east and Shi-xuan-xia in the west. A part-wooden, part-stone trail provides a walking link between the ends of the two touring lines. The more than 2,800 wooden or stone steps make an enormous rise, presenting great physical challenges for most visitors and pedestrians.

A cable-car system operating in the mountains offers a wise solution for exhausted visitors by providing them with an easy option over the pedestrian route. The cable line is divided into two sections with a changeover station on top of a mountain peak between. Visitors can command a marvelous view of the vast mountains all around them before continuing their journeys in the colored cabins without glass panels. The system automatically turns the tourist routes into a closed loop.

Distinctive from the cable cars in other mountainous parks in China, those in the Wild Valleys are small and glassless. This provides the greatest convenience for photo taking — large enough for only two people and devoid of glass panels. Attendants help you board the tiny cabin and then lock it from the outside. Upon arrival, they open the door and give you a hand to get off — simple and all safe.