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Hiking photos – Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, 2012/10/04

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Out in the far west of Beijing is the Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, a stretch of unrestored wall from the Ming Dynasty-era (1368-1644 AD).

It's quite far from the city, and difficult to access, which means that we don't often see anyone else out there when we visit.

On this trip during the big October holiday, we didn't see anyone else on the wall. What we did see was a lot of beautiful autumn colours, and a remote area of countryside China – quite a different feel from the main sections of Great Wall, which were sure to be super-crowded during the holiday.

a long valley, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We started the hike with a long walk up a long valley. In the background of this photo can be seen the distinctive jagged peaks of Brush-rest Mountain.

countryside, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

Autumn colours in the countryside.

We hiked in this area, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We hiked in this area a few weeks later, and these leaves had already fallen.

the Great Wall, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

At the top of the valley, and after quite a climb: the Great Wall.

We all took a break, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We all took a break before heading on.

tower, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We followed the wall up to the tower in the background, and on further.

The wall, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

The wall is built on the highest ridgeline in the area, and we had good views of the hills and more Great Wall on the other side of the valley.

The village in the valley, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

The village in the valley below is called Shuitou, and it's a difficult, rough road to get there – best visited by jeep.

Autumn colours, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

Autumn colours in the valley below the wall.

built with rocks, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

The wall in this area was first built with rocks.

A steep section of wall., Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

A steep section of wall.

The wall here is old, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

The wall here is old, and unrestored – after 400 years, it's not in such good condition.

the Great Wall, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We followed the Great Wall along the ridgelines.

It looks quite flat here, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

It looks quite flat here, but this was the highest point of the hike.

the high point, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We took a break at the high point.

After a break, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

After a break, we headed on along the wall.

This tower, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

This tower is constructed with bricks, which likely means that it was added in a second round of building – probably in the 15th century.

a forested valley, Beijing Hikers Zhenbiancheng Great Wall, October04,2012

We followed a steep hill trail down from the wall, passing through a forested valley and heading back out to the nearest road.