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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.

a military castle, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

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.

Little pony, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Horses are a common sight on the grasslands.

Unknown flower, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

One of the many types of flowers we see at Bashang.

house, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

We passed by this mudbrick house while hiking about.

the sun, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Big clouds came and went with the wind.

Sheep herders, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

A shepherd with his herding equipment: a hoe that's used to fling sods of earth at errant sheep.

Roast lamb, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Whole roast lamb for dinner!

performers, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Huijie introduces the performers, who are from western Inner Mongolia.

Group photos, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

A group photo, after a few cups of fermented mare's milk for good luck.

guesthouse",

The hike on the second day started from our guesthouse.

Wind, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Strong winds up in the hills.

nice shot, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Smile for the camera!

a locust, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

Inspecting a locust he'd acquired as a passenger.

The 'prayer pile', Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

From the cairn at the highest point we saw a forbidding sky of thick cloud …

dark clouds, Beijing Hikers Bashang, July20, 2012

… but then the sun came out!

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