Northeast of the main urban area, the White River empties into the Miyun Reservoir. Starting up river in Huairou District, we made our way downstream along the river, into Miyun County and towards the large body of water that keeps the capital from going thirsty.
During the summer, we are able to swim at the rocks where we took our lunch break. As most of the river was frozen over, swimming was not part of the plan for this hike! The ice varied in thickness, clarity, and consistency. At some river crossings, we had to step very carefully across a fragile crust on top of a thicker layer. At others, we could slide and run around on clear ice that was over a meter thick.
One of the most interesting things we observed were the aquatic plants moving in the current that flowed underneath the thick, clear sections. Looking above ice, we could also see frozen cataracts that feed into the river. Around some holes in the ice, water splashed up and froze, forming interesting and oddly shaped icicles. Nobody had any major slips, and so we were able to head back to the city safely after another satisfying day.
On most of our hikes, we look up to the mountain scenery above us. On this one, we admired the ice and water beneath our feet.
Part of the route followed railroad tracks that were part of the set for the movie, “Let the Bullets Fly.” On hike back in the summer of 2009, we actually saw them filming here!
Ducks and geese gathered around holes in the ice.
It was a great day for photography!
The geese and ducks were a major attraction.
People have gone swimming in the White River during the summer. During the winter, we leave the water for the birds!
Some of the ice was very solid, and we could walk as a group over it without breaking through.
As the water accumulated and froze on slopes over the course of the winter, impressive icefalls formed. These were one of the features of the hike’s outstanding scenery.
Holes in the ice allowed us to see interesting formations on the bottom of the ice layer where there were gaps between the ice and the water.
The color, consistency, and clarity of the ice varied dramatically. Here, a solid patch and a mostly clear patch formed right next to each other.
Some sections of the frozen river were not completely flat on the surface, which made walking on the slippery ice a little tricky.
Interesting icicles formed where water splashed up underneath the ice layer.
We took our lunch break at a spot that is popular for swimming during the summer hike. Today, though, it was completely frozen over.
A seat with a view!
The ice falls seem much larger than the waterfalls in the summer, because the flowing water keeps freezing on top of itself.
Along some stretches, the ice had started to melt, forming puddles and slush on the surface. We had to walk carefully at these parts.
An icefall flowing out of a cave.