On what was set to be very hot day in Beijing we set off in search of cooler climes up in the mountains to the north of the city.
After a pleasant and scenic bus ride we were all set for the start of our hike.
Once we’d topped up on the sunscreen and packed a few extra bottles of water for the 14km hike we set off along the valley to find the start of the trail.
As the first part of this hike was in a park area we soon saw a few family groups also enjoying the warmer weather floating down parts of the river in inflatable boats and generally having fun.
As we followed the river through the valley away from the crowds the temperature started to rise, and we were looking forward to getting our feet wet. Our first crossing came earlier than expected, as we encountered something very similar to a moat, soon to be spanned by a toll bridge.
Further down the valley we were able to escape the crowds, and it was soon time to switch the boots for sandals and stroll down in the cool ankle deep water. Deep canyons and spectacular cliffs as well as the sight of a few herons kept everyone's cameras busy.
After a few kilometers of passing in and out of the river we had another unexpected surprise! A metal walk way that we usually use to walk out on over was partially covered in barbed wire, resulting in the army commando-style finish with a short crawl to escape.
Once we had safely negotiated this it was a short hike out to the bus to find our bus and our picnic gear with chilled drinks and a watermelon.
The only disappointing part of the hike was that we had to leave the cool water behind and travel back to the city.
Sunscreen applied and all stocked up with water for the hike.
A short walk beside some cornfields took us down to the riverside.
A lot of locals enjoy this part of the river during the hot weather, even a few fishermen.
Heading further into the valley, we followed a trail beside the river.
We crossed a small and wobbly suspension bridge, whilst others floated below.
The first change of footwear in preparation for a little river crossing.
The fellows here have dug a channel in the road, planning to build a bridge with which they can extract a toll of passersby. Cheeky!
A quick rinse to get rid of the sand and then back to the hike.
We saw impressive rocky walls as well as lots of wildlife during our walk down the canyon.
The river bends around to the right at the cliffs in the distance.
Testing the water … just right for a hike down the river.
No bridges here, so time for a change of footwear.
We spent around 15 minutes walking down through the river.
No need to roll up the trousers as they will soon be dry again!
Turning the corner and heading into the quieter part of the valley
We stopped to cool off in the shade, and to have a few snacks and a chat before heading on.
Surrounded by the steep cliffs.
Even time to try skimming a few stones.
Getting the hang of it!
After lunch we were back into the river.
This area is often seen in various film productions … it's obvious why. Superb scenery.
Crystal clear water.
Back onto the dry trails for a while.
Sadly the last river crossing of the hike.
Savouring the cool water.
Looking back at the impressive hills we had walked between.
Taking the path less travelled.
Still the scenery didn’t disappoint.
Good spot for a few photos.
An interesting cave.
This cave had also been used for film, done up with fake vines and even a little prehistoric artwork.
The last view of the river before we rounded the corner out of the valley.
Time for the great escape … This is another local money-making scheme – by stopping people coming this way they are able to collect a toll on the other side of the river.
A lovely location.
The last part of the escape …
Heading back along the road after a great hike, not far from the bus … and the cold beer!
Snacks and drinks in the shade.
Time to discuss the hike whilst relaxing.
A few empty bottles … we didn’t quite drink all of them, despite the heat.