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Heituo Mountain, 2017/4/15

Heituo Mountain, 2017/4/15

The Heituo Mountain hike is one of the more recent additions to our repertoire of hikes, and it took us a little while to find all the trails. This time we walked all the trails we planned to instead of making off-track adventures, and can report back that it is a solid Level 5+ hike.

Click through to see the photos from the steep hike up to the top, our high-altitude picnic area, and the long walk through the wild valleys around the back of the mountain.

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Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town, 2017/4/09

Cypress Wells Canyon and Yongning Town, 2017/4/09

The Cypress Wells Canyon hike follows an old track through a canyon and into a broad and flat area in the midst of the hills. There is an old village hidden in there, uninhabited for a few years now.

Click through to see the photos – canyon cliffs and flowers, old houses, mountains, and great scenery.

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Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall, 2017/4/02

Walled Village to Huanghuacheng Great Wall, 2017/4/02

The skies were blue and the flowers were blooming at the Huanghuacheng Great Wall – perfect for a hike.

Click through to see seventeen photos of Great Wall, mountains, and the flowery scenery.

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Gubeikou and Jinshanling Great Wall camping, 2017/3/25

Gubeikou and Jinshanling Great Wall camping, 2017/3/25

The weekend before this camping trip the weather was lovely and mild, and we were looking forward to getting out for a night on the Great Wall.

But then the weather turned cold again, and it even snowed the day before we were going to go out.

Did we still go? Of course ... but with two sleeping bags per person!

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Silver Pagodas to De Tomb, 2017/3/25

Silver Pagodas to De Tomb, 2017/3/25

After a late fall of snow closed the mountain roads to Shuitou Village, we had to change the plan for the hike. The new plan was a combination of a few trails, making it the ‘Silver Pagodas Plus’ – half of the Silver Pagodas hike, plus the two big hills between the pagodas and the Ming Tombs area.

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Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Lovely mild weather and reasonably clear skies meant this was a most pleasant hike up into the hills on the border of Beijing.

We walked up from the main road, then turned into the hills to hike up to the Great Wall. The hike down the wall took us into a narrow canyon, then out into the fields below Big Plate Camp village.

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Jiankou Big West Great Wall, 2017/3/11

Jiankou ‘Big West’ Great Wall, 2017/3/11

The wall on the west side of Jiankou is a little less extreme than the steep and broken sections on the east side, but the views are just as good and you don’t need bouldering skills to make it through. It’s still steep in a few places, though.

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Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs, 2017/3/12

Longevity Village to the Ming Tombs, 2017/3/12

We have a few trails that go from Longevity Village over to the Ming Tombs area, and on this hike we did a longer version that took us past mines and quarries into a wild valley where we walked through abandoned village.

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Walled Village to the Little West Lake, 2017/3/09

Walled Village to the Little West Lake, 2017/3/09

On this hike we followed part of the Huanghuacheng Great Wall towards the reservoir at the Little West Lake. We hiked field trails to get on to the wall at Zhuangdaokou, and then followed an unrepaired section up into the mountains. Click through to see the photos!

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Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall, 2017/3/08

Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall, 2017/3/08

The Jiankou to Mutianyu Great Wall hike is popular because you get a look at both repaired and unrepaired Great Wall.

We start off at Jiankou, with dramatic views of steep and unrepaired Great Wall, and finish at Mutianyu, where the wall has been repaired and looks like it might have when first built way back in the Ming Dynasty.

On this visit we had clear air and blue skies, which is great for photography – click through to see the shots!

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Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes, 2017/3/25

Rolling Hills and Empty Lanes, 2017/3/05

We’ve been doing this walk since the early days of Beijing Hikers, and we know the area pretty well. That’s lucky, because it seems like there’s a surprise waiting every visit – a new fence, a new road, a trail so overgrown you can’t see it any more ... all kinds of things that require a detour to get back on track.

On this visit we found one new fence blocking the usual path, and the beginnings of a new road cut through the middle of a section that is usually heavily overgrown. There was also a nice surprise – a new trail up to a high point with excellent views.

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Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop, 2017/2/25

Zhenbiancheng Great Wall Loop, 2017/2/25

There’s a line of Ming Dynasty-era (1368-1644) Great Wall that runs through the mountains in the northwest of Beijing, and Zhenbiancheng is right at the far western end of it.

The wall here is fairly rough; weathered since initial construction, damaged during war, and parts of the wall here were also visited by people who ‘borrowed’ bricks to build houses in nearby villages.

Click through to see fifteen photos from a late-winter visit.

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Hemp Village and the Gubeikou Great Wall, 2017/2/18

Hemp Village and the Gubeikou Great Wall, 2017/2/18

After the long walk into Hemp Village we hiked up into the hills to get a look at the Great Wall, following field trails beside the wall before climbing up on to it at Gubeikou. With lovely clear skies and long views this was a great day out on the Great Wall.

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Unveiling the Buddha at Labrang Monastery, Gansu, 2017/02

‘Unveiling the Buddha’ at Labrang Monastery, Gansu, 2017/02

The Great Prayer Festival is an important date on the Tibetan calendar, and the ceremonies at Labrang Monastery in Xiahe are particularly well-attended. We mixed in with the crowds of pilgrims at the festival to see the ‘unveiling of the Buddha’, plus performances of the Cham Dance and various temple rituals.

With the monks in full costume, and the crowds of locals all there for the festival, the trip was colourful and exciting – click through to see all the photos.

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Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain, 2017/2/11

Zhuangdaokou to Moss Mountain, 2017/2/11

We made our Moss Mountain hike a little longer by starting at Zhuangdaokou instead of walking right up to the Walled Village. Hiking a bit further was the right choice on this day, because the weather was perfect.

Click through to see the photos of hills, mountains, cliffs, and the stairs to nowhere.

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