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Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

In Brief: Photos from the wild Great Wall in a remote rural area in Hebei Province.

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.

tiny Big Camp Plate village,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

We followed this stretch of Great Wall around the tiny Big Camp Plate village. The wall here was built in the early Ming Dynasty, which means it probably dates back to the fourteenth century.

The wall,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The wall here follows a bluff in the hills along Beijing’s border, and was built to control the pass at the top of the valley seen far below.

the tumble-down wall,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

Hikers stepping carefully down the tumble-down wall.

The wall follows the line of a cliff,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The wall follows the line of a cliff that is quite high!

The Great Wall,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The Great Wall continues in a loop around the line of the cliff.

Hikers,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

Hikers climbed up to this high point.

We kept following the wall,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

We kept following the wall.

It was a windy day,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

It was a windy day, so we picked a spot in the sun for a lunch break, using the wall to shelter us.

a tower,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The remains of a tower.

The hills,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The hills remain very dry, with all the grass flattened by heavy snow during winter.

house,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

We were walking by this house when the owner appeared and invited us in for a look. Outside, corn is drying, and will be used to feed their donkey.

the house,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

Inside, the embers in this brazier are used to warm the hands as well as the rest of the house.

The chef reveals a feast!,Beijing Hikers Big Camp Plate Great Wall, 2012/04/11

The chef reveals a feast!

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