Huangcaoliang, or Yellow Grass Ridge, is a point along our longest route. Its gorgeous views of the mountains in Mentougou have made it a popular attraction. Unfortunately, unenlightened visitors to Huangcaoliang leave much of their garbage there after they leave. In order to celebrate Earth Day, we went out to pitch in by picking up and packing out some of the litter we found.
Huangcaoliang makes up part of a beautiful plateau in the Yan Mountain Range, which forms a semicircle around Beijing from southwest to northeast. Being so far west of the city and situated at over 1,600 meters above sea level, there is a major difference between the climate there and in the main urban area.
After driving out through the tourist village of Cuandixia and an interesting gulch, we started our hike along a road at the foot of the plateau we’d eventually climb. The road terminated, and we started walking up a trail that led gently upwards through some orchards. Eventually, we began ascending in earnest as our route took us along a cliff face and up a beautiful gully before reaching our destination.
The weather was somewhat cloudy at the start of our hike, with a cold drizzle. As we went higher, it got colder. The cold drizzle turned to freezing rain, and then to snow. By the time we reached the highest point for the day, we were in a blizzard! We picked up whatever trash we could spot, and when we decided to head down again. As we descended, the skies cleared, the temperatures rose rapidly, and the snow melted as quickly as it had fallen!
Thanks to the hikers who supplied these photos!