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The Great Flood hike, 2013/07/28

In Brief: Photos of mountains and water on a blue sky day in Beijing.

Views down a canyon, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

A pool of water deep in the hills.

Huije was leading this hike, and she hadn't been out here for a long time. Our local guide was very happy to see her, and we were happy to see him again as well – he'd been ill for most of 2012, but now he's in better shape and has regained his health with a lot of walking and working on his fruit trees. He told us that the trail we'd follow today was one he used to walk when he headed over to the next village to watch opera performances.

The first part of the hike went up a long, bouldery canyon. There are lots of loose stone and rocks in the valley, and we had to be careful about where we were putting our feet.

It had rained a lot the day before, and all the streams and pools were full of clear water. Usually there's just a trickle of water coming down the canyon.

Because it was a hot day we took it slow, stopping for a rest several times on the way to the top. The trail down from the top was shaded, and we made better time heading down to a little hamlet where we stopped for our lunch break.

At this tiny, mostly-abandoned village we spotted some sheep, and counted seven donkeys still living with the local farmer's family.

After following a bushy trail through the hills we finally arrived at the Yunmeng Gorge, another rocky canyon. The canyon is larger and wider on this side, with tall cliffs. We crossed the river and hiked out through a park.

On the way to the end we spotted some other people swimming in the pools of water. It was too much for some of us to handle, and quite a few of our hikers threw off their boots and clothes and jumped right in!

Village reservoir, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

We walked past a village reservoir at the beginning of our hike.

Rocks and a canyon,Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

The trail lead up through the canyon.

Boulders in the canyon, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Big rocks and boulders in the canyon.

A pool of water and hikers in the shade, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

The shade (and cool water) were very nice to find.

Water flowing over rocks, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Water pouring down from the rocks.

Canyon trail, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

We kept heading up the canyon, under beautifully clear blue skies.

Views down a canyon, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Beautiful scenery in the canyon.

Overgrown fields and terrace ,Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

The scenery on the other side of the ridge is very different: broad terraced fields full of hawthorn trees and weeds.

Fallow fields, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Corn used to be grown here but no one farms these fields any more.

Donkeys, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Donkeys sheltering from the sun.

Lambs, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

A flock of tiny lambs.

Lambs, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Cute little lambs.

Lambs, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

The lambs weren't shy, and posed for photos for us.

Roosters, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

Roosters and an old grinding stone.

Boulders, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

We used these big rocks to cross the river.

Swimming, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

A good way to stay cool.

Great Wall tower, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

A Great Wall tower up on the canyon cliffs.

Pool of water, Beijing Hikers The Great Flood hike 2013/07/28

A nice big pool of clean water.

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