We recently scouted out a new trail that would take us through mountains and valleys to Shuitou Village, a remote farming area way out in Hebei Province.
For the walk we had beautiful blue skies and cool weather, and we hiked through a great mix of scenery: farmland and isolated villages, zig-zagging hill trails, lush and leafy valleys, with views of rough and rugged Great Wall.
Crossing a ridge, we came down a gravel road into a long valley.
Around the corner we’d find fields of millet, corn, sunflowers … as well as some Great Wall.
The Great Wall here dipped down to block off a pass. It’s stripped bare of bricks here, which were used by villagers used to build houses.
The foundation of a large tower. Hidden by the leaves and grass is a large archway through which water used to flow. This is the Shuitou Great Wall, ‘Shuitou’ roughly meaning ‘Water Head’.
This road took us down to Shuitou Village.
A more modern house in the village.
The main street of the village. We spotted Great Wall bricks in the houses on the right side of the lane.
Just one of the many herd of goats we spotted.
This van didn’t look like it had see action in a while...
A white horse in the fields on the other side of the village. A line of Great Wall runs along the ridge in the background, which we were aiming to cross over later in the hike.
A mule keeping a close eye on us.
We’ve almost reached the Great Wall. This photo was taken on the outside of the wall, and it was a tough slog to get up there. Olden-day attackers would have faced the same climb, but with the added difficulty of having soldiers shooting arrows down.
Up on the Great Wall in the middle of the mountains.
This line of Great Wall continues over the hills.
To finish the hike, we’d walk down through this forested valley.
The beginning of the trail down the valley.
A leafy valley filled with wildflowers.
A huge puffball mushroom. For scale, the foot in the photo is a size 45.
Big clouds over the mountains.
A short walk along the road to finish the hike.
We set up our snacks in the middle of a small village, right beside a bunch of gaffers who were puffing away on pipes filled with home-grown tobacco.