Intelligence Valley in Huairou District is our easiest route: it is almost entirely flat and only about 6 kilometers long. However, today’s walk was made a little more challenging by warming temperatures that started to melt the frozen stream that flows along the valley. A layer of snow on top of the ice made it difficult to judge its thickness, and so some of us got our feet wet at stream crossings when the icy crust over the shallow water gave away beneath our feet. We took our time, stopping at interesting points along the way to enjoy the area and play on the thicker ice. About two and a half hours after we began our amble down the canyon, we came to the hike’s end. We got on the bus, which brought us to the guesthouse of one of our local guides, Mr. Mao. Since we had some extra time, some of us took the opportunity to explore a nearby, unrestored section of the Great Wall. After examining a few of the towers, we met up with the bus again and returned to the city.
Statistics: Approx. 3 hours in total, with 2.5 hours of walking over approx. 7km; start height 286m, finish height 218m. Estimated 1023kCal burned.