On this visit to Big Camp Plate we did an easier version of one of our good tough hikes, following a stretch of wall that loops around an old village.
It was a long drive out, and we ended up crossing the Beijing-Hebei border about thirty minutes before arriving at the trailhead.
To begin the hike, we walked up a recently concreted road until we found the Great Wall. The concrete road was finished off last year, and is meant to make life easier for the people who live in tiny Big Camp Plate village. Before it was finished, it was a narrow dirt and gravel road. Only jeeps, adventurous car drivers, and the little blue three-wheel trucks could get up there.
We followed the Great Wall in a loop around the village, aiming for a high point with views of a Water Pass, an arch in the wall designed to let water from a stream flow through. There’s not much water these days, and the area hadn’t yet started to show signs of any greenery for spring.
We walked through Big Camp Plate village on the way back to the bus, and we were invited by one of the few remaining residents to look around her house. After she showed us around – and sold us quite a few pounds of dried hawthorn berries! – we headed back to the bus, and then back to Beijing.