In August we headed out again to the Bashang Grasslands for a weekend in the rolling hills of Hebei Province, just 80km from Inner Mongolia.
The grasslands are at a much higher elevation than Beijing, and temperatures are often 5-10°C cooler – a perfect place to escape the heat and humidity of summer.
On our two-day, two-night visit we rode horses and motorbikes, had a bonfire and BBQ lamb, and did two great hikes in the rolling hills of the prairie.
Our first hike began from our guesthouse, seen in the background of this photo.
Our local guide's dog followed us for a while.
We hired two horses (and their owner) to accompany us, in case anyone preferred to ride instead of walk.
Great photos from any angle.
We hiked through the rolling hills, spotting farm houses in the valleys below.
We saw a herd of sheep while hiking. Just around the corner were a whole lot of cows.
After a cloudy day, the skies cleared in time for sunset.
Hikers relax and drink beer as they sit around the bonfire.
We took over a kitchen table for the preparation of a specialty item for our breakfast: cheese!
The last day of the trip saw beautifully clear blue skies.
We placed stones on top of a cairn at the summit of a hill and made wishes, according to local custom.
Up by the cairn was a very comfortable place to rest.
We saw a lot of wild flowers while walking about.
Our second hike featured some good ridgewalking.
We made our way down this valley to a small village, crossing a deep rill that was caused by erosion.
We rested in the shade of a big tree before we continuing to the village.
In the village we saw pigs, and these cows.
If you guessed that this was a toilet, you guessed correctly!
We walked past these fields of squash just as the villagers were making their harvest. Not coincidentally, squash featured in several dishes in the meals we had at Bashang.
We climbed up and over a hill to get back to our guesthouse. It was a good climb, with several false peaks to get past.
Rolling hills, wooded areas, and the big blue skies of the grasslands.