After spending a few minutes walking through Flower Wood village, our starting point, we arrived at a broad valley which was bordered by lush, green, rolling hills. Much of this land is cultivated, and we followed trails through chestnut and walnut orchards, cornfields, and patches of soybeans at the beginning of the walk.
After a while, our route brought us to the trail which leads uphill to the high point of the hike. The weather was sunny and unusually clear for the summer, so we were able to get good views of numerous hills and their summits, as well as a clear view of the Huanghuacheng section of the Great Wall, which ran along and on top of hills in the distance.
At the highest point of the hike, we rested in the shade at a small shrine next to a tall pine tree. Although the shrine is modern, it was built in traditional style and is dedicated to a mountain spirit which is supposed to protect the villagers who live in the valley below.
After taking a rest and snack break at the shrine, we headed down to the town of Lily Village and continued along a broad path which led through extensive chestnut orchards to the end point of our hike, along a road that's not far away from the Silver Pagodas. From there we got great views of the rocky peaks that form the backdrop for these ancient pagodas.
Our group gathers at the small village at the starting point of the hike.
A lot of elderly farmers still live in the village, which only takes a few minutes to walk through.
After leaving the village, we entered a broad valley with sweeping views of distant, verdant hills.
We took rest breaks in the shade where possible – a good idea on a hot day!
The summer rainy season and high temperatures leave all of the hills in the area covered with lush vegetation.
Hikers enjoy the views from a lookout point along the trail.
The skies were lovely and clear that day, allowing us to see far off into the distance.
Flowering plants grew high against a backdrop of fluffy white clouds.
Beautiful flowers were in bloom too along the trail. There are different species of flowers in bloom every month of the summer.
After hiking up to the shrine, which was at the highest point on the hike, we took a much deserved rest break and had some snacks. This new shrine was recently rebuilt on the former site of an ancient shrine. It's thought that dedicating a shrine to the mountain spirits will help protect the locals who live in the area.
The descent into the valley below starts with a relatively flat section of trail.
Colorful fungus grows on an old log.
The trail passes near a reservoir where locals can be seen fishing all year round.