This hike takes us along a trail that connects several villages in the hills of Changping—a good way to get a look at the countryside way of life. And at this time of year we might get a look at locals ice-fishing on a frozen reservoir.
The hike starts off mostly flat, but there’s a bit of hill-climbing to do near the middle.
We begin on the outskirts of Nanzhuang Village and quickly crest a low hill. A dirt trail takes us down into a broad, flat valley of chestnut orchards. Halfway down the valley we make a quick climb over a low ridge, and then continue on paths through more chestnut orchards.
Our path takes us up another valley, and then to the first big hill on this hiking trail. The climb up and over the ridge is the toughest part of today’s hike, a climb of approximately 200m over 1.5km of trail.
At the top of the hill is one of the main landmarks of the hike: an old, old pine tree, alongside a more recently-built shrine to the Tiger God. It’s said that this type of pine tree usually marks a temple site, although we haven’t been able to find any sign of a temple here.
We’ll then continue on to Lily Village, following narrow dirt trails through more orchards on the way down to the village road and passing a few houses on the outskirts of the village before walking up a paved road to the village reservoir.
Our regular trail behind the reservoir has been ruined by the construction of a new road right through the middle of it, so we’re switching on to an older trail we used to use way back in the day.
The new-old/old-new trail follows ridgeline trails over the hills to finish at Shangzhuang Village. There are a couple of steep bits to start, as the trail comes up on to the ridge from the reservoir, and then it turns into a most pleasant stroll through scraggly forest before opening up on to a previously well-trodden track along a ridge.
We then hike down to a concrete road that will bring us down to Shangzhuang Village for the finish of the walk. From the village it’s a short drive to a roadside restaurant where we’ll fill up with a hot meal before heading home.