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Hiking photos - Zhangye, May 2011

Large areas of northwestern China are sparsely populated, and contain stunning scenic locations unheard of by outsiders. On this trip, the highlight was the magnificently multi-coloured mountains, valleys, hills, and cliffs of the Zhangye Danxia.

Danxia landforms are sandstone formations, known for being very dramatic and colorful, and those of Zhangye are no exception. Danxia refers to isolated peaks, steep pillars, ravines, mountains and hills that have formed after a long period of erosion by wind and running water.

On this trip, we did two days of hiking in the hills, fitting in a visit to Jiayuguan on the way home. Jiayuguan is a large fortress at the western-most end of the Great Wall built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644AD)

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We spotted a rainbow as we started hiking on the first day.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Taking a break amongst the colourful hills and valleys.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

The colours are almost unbelievable!

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We took a break to do a group shot.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

More of the colourful hills.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Hikers with Yanjing.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

These are the flowers of Suoyang, a root with medicinal properties.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

A huge rock formation in the Zhangye's Binggou.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We had a fit group of hikers, and were able to do more trekking than originally planned – always a good thing!

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

The coloration gives way to regular hills.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Over time, the rock has been weathered by rain and wind, making strange shapes.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We hiked up to a lookout.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

One of our group took a break from hiking to ride a camel.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We went hunting for interesting rocks, hoping to find some jade.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

More hiking.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

A spectacular view of the stunning colours.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

A weirdly-weathered rock outcrop.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

A group shot at a look out

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Rock formations.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Another type of flower.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

The Great Wall at Jiayuguan.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

The group at the Jiayuguan Great Wall.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

We visited a museum that had exhibits about the history of the Jiayuguan area.

, Beijing Hikers Zhangye, May 27, 2011

Not sure what this is, but it looks like fun if you’re mouse-sized.

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