Two days of hiking, both very different - one rather tough hike on a cloudy and misty day; and one very easy hike on a day with sunny weather, ending up with a police escort!
Walk Like a Pilgrim - September 19
This hike follows an old pilgrim trail in the mountains to the west of Beijing, and passes two temples. The day was cool and misty; for a lot of the hike we were walking in clouds.
Statistics: 4 hours hiking over 14km (5 hours total time); start height 192m, highest point 1,066m, finish height 780m, approx. 900m going up, 300m going down. Estimated 2047kCal burned. Bonus statistic: approx. 19,287 steps in total.
Coffin Village - September 20
First populated in the Qing Dynasty, Coffin Village features ancient Ming and Qing Dynasty architecture as well as a temple and approximately 100 courtyard houses containing 600 rooms.
The name of the village is a reference to an old local tradition that your coffin should be prepared in advance, and stored in one of the many rooms in the courtyards and temple.
We had enjoyed great weather on this trip, the village was very interesting, and we arrived in time for a special performance. Because of the upcoming 60th Anniversary celebrations, the village leaders were a little 'politically sensitive,' supplying three people to keep an eye on us at all times, and organising a four-car police escort to make sure we didn't take a wrong turn on our way back to the motorway ... about an hours drive from the village!
Statistics: Thought it sensible to keep the GPS out of sight during this trip.
* Approximate translation.
** That's what they said, anyway.