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Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

In Brief: Twenty-six photos from the long loop hike around Big Camp Plate village, through the hills, valleys, and farmland to the Great Wall.

Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Long views from the highest point in the area.

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. At altitudes above 1,000m, the hills here hadn’t yet started to green, making the landscape seem rather bleak.

Mountain trails took us up to the highest point in the area, where we climbed up on to the Great Wall. The wall here can be dated to the early Ming Dynasty, and after hundreds of years of weathering is in rather rough condition.

We hiked down the wall, and then off the wall and down into a canyon where a stream used to run through a big arch in the wall.

The hike took us up and out of that canyon and into the fields below Big Plate Camp village – high-altitude meadows filled with crabapple trees and cornfields – and we then walked out through the village and back down the road to complete the loop.

Up the concrete road into Big Camp Plate village - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Up the concrete road into Big Camp Plate village.

A shot of the old wall on a bluff, with villages far below - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

A shot of the old wall on a bluff, with villages far below.

One of the houses on the outskirts of Big Camp Plate village - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

One of the houses on the outskirts of Big Camp Plate village.

We followed this track for a while and then hiked up into the mountains - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

We followed this track for a while and then hiked up into the mountains.

Views of the wall in the distance - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Views of the wall in the distance.

A lonely figure carrying a load of sticks up the road - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

A lonely figure carrying a load of sticks up the road.

Hikers on a gravelly saddle - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Hikers on a gravel saddle.

Heading down the wall - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Heading down the wall.

The view from the top section of the Great Wall at Big Plate - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

The view from the top section of the Great Wall at Big Plate.

Back the other way: more wall, with the jagged peaks of Bijia Mountain through the gap - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Looking back the other way: more wall, with the jagged peaks of Bijia Mountain through the gap.

We hiked further down the wall - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

We hiked further down the wall.

This tower was where we stopped for a lunch break - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

This tower was where we stopped for a lunch break.

Great views - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Great views.

The bricks on the outside have fallen away to reveal the rubble fill of the tower foundation - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

The bricks on the outside have fallen away to reveal the rubble fill of the tower foundation.

We hiked by the Water Pass, an arch in the wall - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

We hiked by the Water Pass, an arch in the wall.

In the fields by Big Camp Plate village someone has set up picnic tables - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

In the fields by Big Camp Plate village someone has set up picnic tables.

More of the wall nearby - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

More of the wall nearby.

The Great Wall here is right on the edge of big cliffs - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

The Great Wall here is right on the edge of big cliffs.

Hiking on - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Hiking on.

Bluffs and long views west - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Bluffs and long views west.

Hiking up the wall - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Hiking up the wall.

Different colours in the hills - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Different colours in the hills.

Looking back towards the picnic tables - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Looking back toward the picnic tables.

Back on the concrete road - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Back on the concrete road.

The hike is finished, time for the picnic - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

The hike is finished, time for the picnic.

Mr Feng from the village - Big Camp Plate, 2017/3/18

Mr Feng from the village.

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