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Hiking photos - Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, 2011/04/06

At the start of this hike in Huairou County north of Beijing, our group met Mr. Mao, our guide, near a village and started hiking toward a ridge. The hike is short, but still includes a decent uphill climb which soon brought us on top of a ridge from whence we enjoyed fantastic views of the surrounding hills.

As we made our way up the ridge, we encountered a variety of different natural phenomena which were explained by our resident naturalist, Betsy Taylor.

We continued hiking along the top of the ridge and later descended into a shady valley. We had some snacks there before continuing to the end of the hike. After having a hearty, filling lunch at a restaurant in a village not far from the base of a section of Great Wall, some members of the group hiked up a nearby section of the Great Wall for about 20 minutes to take in more of the fantastic scenery before heading back into the city.

Donkeys, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Donkeys are still used in the countryside as pack animals.

Donkeys, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

In some parts of the countryside donkeys seem to be more commonly used than mechanized forms of transport and farm machinery.

Locals , Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Many of the locals also raise goats.

The numerous fruit trees, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

The numerous fruit trees in bloom were beautiful.

Many barren orchard terraces, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

There were many barren orchard terraces nearby.

Some of the fruit tree, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

In spite of the dry winter, some of the fruit trees had already started blooming.

Flowering tree, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Many hikers found the flowering trees to be one of the highlights of the hike.

, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

In spite of the hazy skies that day, there were good views of distant peaks.

Betsy Taylor, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Betsy Taylor, our resident naturalist, was there to explain some things about the flora and fauna of the area.

, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

In this region cherry, peach, and apricot trees are in bloom.

The second part of the hike, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

The second part of the hike took the group from the top of a ridge down along the bottom of a valley.

Different types of small flowers, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

There was also a variety of different types of small flowers blooming along the trail.

The group, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

The group taking a rest and snack break on the valley floor.

Beijing Hikers’ guide, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Beijing Hikers’ guide Yanjing carrying a cut log for one of the villagers.

 A few areas, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Even in April there were still a few areas at the bottom of the valley with thick ice and snow.

Frog eggs , Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Frog eggs on the way to developing into tadpoles. They could be found in some of the small ponds in the valley.

A string of bright yellow flowers, Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

A string of bright yellow flowers brightens up the dry landscape.

,Magnolia flowers Beijing Hikers Mr. Mao’s Chestnut Orchard, April 6, 2011

Magnolia flowers in bloom.

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