Special trip photos – Bashang Grasslands, 2012/07/20
In July we headed north to Hebei Province for two days of hiking in the rolling hills of the Bashang Grasslands.
We arrived late on Friday night, and settled in to our guesthouse after dinner.
On the Saturday, we did a loop hike, getting up to about 1,400m above sea level and encountering a bit of rain. The hike took us through a small village on the way back to our guesthouse. After hiking, we had free time until dinner.
The dinner on Saturday night included roasted lamb, a performance of traditional Inner Mongolian song and dance, and mandatory toasts of fermented mare's milke "for good luck". That's what they said, anyway!
The good-luck mare's milk didn't stop us from getting in another hike on the Sunday, and it was a good, interesting one, too: strong winds, and all sorts of weather on the way up to what's known locally as a "spirit pile", a cairn of rocks on the highest point in the area.
Huijie was giving background information about a fortress called "Lonely Rock Barracks", a Ming Dynasty-era fort that we passed on the way to Bashang.
Horses are a common sight on the grasslands.
One of the many types of flowers we see at Bashang.
We passed by this mudbrick house while hiking about.
Big clouds came and went with the wind.
A shepherd with his herding equipment: a hoe that's used to fling sods of earth at errant sheep.
Whole roast lamb for dinner!
Huijie introduces the performers, who are from western Inner Mongolia.
A group photo, after a few cups of fermented mare's milk for good luck.
The hike on the second day started from our guesthouse.
Strong winds up in the hills.
Smile for the camera!
Inspecting a locust he'd acquired as a passenger.
From the cairn at the highest point we saw a forbidding sky of thick cloud …
… but then the sun came out!