We had nice weather for our Spring Valley Loop hike, a shady hike through the woods that gradually works its way up and down the hills and across a ridge that's crossed by a broken down section of Qin Dynasty Great Wall.
We started our circuit hike in the village of Sancha, which is situated in a valley at the base of some high, forested hills. The hike is not very steep, but the trail continues uphill for most of its distance until it reaches the top of a ridge. Visibility was quite good that day and everyone enjoyed the views as they basked in the sunshine and had lunch at the ruins of a corral at the summit.
After lunch and a rest, the group headed downhill, traversing a hillside with flowers in bloom before arriving at a valley behind the Sancha's back hills. Afterwards, the group started uphill again toward the second high point of the day. From there, we were able to see the route along the valley that they'd follow on the way back to the village.
Our group started the hike at the sleepy village of Sancha.
The first part of the hike was fairly flat.
This horse didn't want to let us pass. Our local guide took it aside.
The foliage in this area is very lush and much of the walk is shady, a welcome relief in the summer.
The group makes its way through the forest.
On the way we passed abandoned houses. Many of the locals left these isolated villages due to a lack of water or facilities.
Things commonly used in daily life in the countryside include a saddle for donkeys or horses, farmers' shoes, and a bag full of crops.
Our rest break at the highest point of the hike, at a corral built by out of Great Wall bricks by Japanese soldiers in the 1930's.
These are the views in the direction of a section of Ming Dynasty Great Wall. Most of the peaks in this area are about 800m above sea level.
The trail led us out down this long valley.
Donkey and David eye each other.
Donkeys are still commonly used in the countryside to transport goods and help farmers plow their fields.
Lots of beautiful flowers were in bloom along the trail. Every month from April through October has different varieties of flower in bloom.
Beijing Hikers' countryside courtyard house, available for rent at attractive rates!