Every year we do a Great Wall Christmas hike, and follow it up with a dumpling-making competition. This year Santa visited a little early, with the Saturday before Christmas the best day to do the hike.
The weather was clear and not too cold, and we had a very enjoyable hike, with blue skies and a bit of snow on the ground making the views very pretty.
After hiking, we had a Chinese Christmas feast, and then the dumpling-making competition—congratulations to the winners, who each received vouchers for a free hike, a copy of our hiking book, and a bottle of wine!
We started our day at Gubeikou and hiked up to the wall, just visible in the background of this photo. A beautiful clear day for us!
There was still a little bit of snow on the ground.
After a little climb on a hill trail, we were up on the wall.
This brick bears an imprint that identifies where it was fired – an ancient quality control technique.
Hikers on the wall.
We followed the wall up to this tall tower.
Hikers preparing for the tricky part of the hike – a slippery descent down a hill trail.
Towers on the Great Wall between Gubeikou and Jinshanling.
After the hike, we headed to a countryside guesthouse for our Christmas feast. The cats of the house are normally the outdoor types, but they were allowed in for the festivities.
Another of the cats.
Huijie demonstrates how a dumpling is filled and shaped.
The dumpling-making competition begins!
We had prizes for ‘Most Beautiful Dumpling’ and ‘Most Dumplings’, judged by the proprietor of the guesthouse.
The contest continues.
Winner number one, with the spoils of victory.
Winner number two, demonstrating the prize-winning dumplings.
The dining room in the guesthouse, with a couple of curious countryside kids checking out our dumpling-making skills.