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Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

In Brief: Twenty-seven photos from a challenging walk along the Great Wall, up to a high tower in the hills, and then down a wild valley.

Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Up at the High Tower, the tallest tower in this part of Beijing.

The Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower trail is one of our favourite long walks in Beijing—about 17km long, with a lot of climbing up and down, and great views the whole way.

We lucked out with the weather on this visit as well, coming through a big fog on the drive there and then out into clear skies just in time to start the hike.

On the Beijing side of the hills the weather was clear and blue, but as we passed Badaling the fog piled up and we started preparing for a cold day up in the hills.

But by the time we got to the trailhead the sun was out again, and it stayed out all day – perfect!

On the hike we saw the first of the autumn colours just starting to show. Some of us also saw some of the seldomly-seen sort of Beijing’s wildlife: a tiny field mouse, and, later on, a huge wild pig!

Up into the hills to the trailhead - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Up into the hills to the trailhead.

Getting ready to start walking - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Getting ready to start walking.

A rough line of Great Wall up in the hills - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

A rough line of Great Wall up in the hills.

Looking back down a steep and rough section - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Looking back down a steep section.

A quick sip of water and we’re off again - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

A quick sip of water before we head off again.

The wall here wraps around a few high-up meadows that are still farmed - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The wall here wraps around a few high-up meadows that are still farmed.

A low line of Great Wall - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

A low line of Great Wall.

The wall here is narrow and rocky - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The wall here is narrow and rocky.

The remains of a round tower, with more wall beyond. The people on top of the tower were local workers, taking a break from their work on a tree nursery in the valley below - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The remains of a round tower, with more wall beyond. The people on top of the tower were local workers, taking a break from their work on a tree nursery in the valley below.

Fitted stones make up this part of the wall, which dates back to the early Ming Dynasty - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Fitted stones make up this part of the wall, which dates back to the early Ming Dynasty.

The foundations of a tower - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The foundations of a tower.

Looking back down to that same tower foundation. In this area, the towers are mostly found at dips, and on higher peaks where there are views down a valley - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Looking back down to that same tower foundation. In this area, the towers are mostly found at dips, and on higher peaks where there are views down a valley.

We stopped here for a lunch break. The High Tower can just be seen in the far background, atop the highest peak - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

We stopped here for a lunch break. The High Tower can just be seen in the far background, atop the highest peak.

We hiked on after lunch - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The Fast Three.

Starting the hike up to the High Tower, now a lot closer than before - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Now it's the Fast Five, starting the hike up to the High Tower.

Views of mountains on the way to the top - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Views of mountains and cliffs on the way to the top.

The High Tower - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The High Tower.

Another angle of the tower - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

A closer shot. See the pockmarks in the bricks? Bullet holes.

Clouds pushing up against the mountains - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Clouds pushing up against the mountains.

All up at the top - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

All up at the top.

The foundations of a round tower. A little bit further down is where we ran into the big wild pig - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The foundations of a round tower. A little bit further down is where we ran into the big wild pig.

Looking back up to the High Tower - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Looking back up to the High Tower.

The last part of the hike took us down a gravel road - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The last part of the hike took us down a gravel road.

Further down the road - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

Further down the road.

At some point over summer heavy rain had washed out a lot of the track. This used to look like the previous two photos, but now looks more like a river bed - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

At some point over summer heavy rain had washed out a lot of the track. This used to look like the previous two photos, but now looks more like a river bed.

We were thinking how much water must have come down here to wash out all the dirt and gravel - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

We were thinking how much water must have come down here to wash out all the dirt and gravel.

The post-hike picnic, and then back to the city - Yanqing Great Wall and High Tower Challenge, 2016/09/24

The post-hike picnic, and then back to the city.

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