This hike started in a small hamlet known as “Longevity Village”, which we quickly passed through before starting our first uphill climb of the day. We wound our way up through the forest to emerge at the top of a hill almost directly across from a striking, rocky summit which provides the backdrop for the Silver Pagodas, a set of ancient Buddhist pagodas that date back about 300 years.
Heading down the other side of the hill, we made our way through a brushy section, emerging near the top of the mining area. On the way down past the mines some hikers collected interesting looking rocks. A beekeeper appraised them for us - he said the pink-coloured stones were worth 6–7,000 RMB a ton. We decided to collect wild raspberries instead of rocks, for a more immediate payoff.
At a shady place at the bottom of the mining valley we stopped for our lunch break before starting the second uphill section of the day. The top of this hill opened out onto views of lush valleys and rolling hills which were very different from the ones we had seen at the first summit.
From there, we made a descent into another valley and hiked in its shade for a while, passing abandoned villages before starting the third and final uphill of the day. The final summit we reached was just above the hills closest to the Ming Dynasty emperors’ tombs.
We hiked past two of the closed tombs en route to the village at the end of the hike, where we enjoyed cool beverages, snacks and refreshments in the town square before heading back to the city.