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Saturday, March 15, 2003 - 09:00

Outing: A Late Winter Ramble Upcountry

Lesley Walter

In this dusty northern capital where the urban skyline celebrates cars, not people, there is one big antidote to winter blahs. One outdoor activity takes full advantage of the mountains, the new roads, and the history surrounding Beijing - country walks, or rambling, or day-hiking. Winter is when the suburbs are blue and clear. Visibility is downright breathtaking, given what we are used to seeing from town. Walled villages, and reservoir and woodcutters’ trails are there to explore, let alone the Great Wall. Winter trails are also clear of the bush that makes getting lost too easy from June to September.

Here is your chance to enjoy the clarity of the late-winter light and to explore a little-known piece of nearby countryside. On this occasion Lesley Walter, a former BIS committee member who lived in Beijing for over 11 years, will be our guide. Lesley will take us through, not onto, the Ming Wall at Huanghua Cheng, and then hike past the site of a former 1930's Japanese blockhouse, a tiny but ancient wall village nestled into the hills, and the deserted ruins of a Daoist temple. Soon to be commercialized with a paved road and: tourist upgrades, this bucolic byway is slated for a major makeover in 2003.

Expect hilly terrain for the first 45 minutes: the rest of the way is fairly flat. The entire walk will take a leisurely 4 hours including a picnic lunch. Hiking shoes are strongly recommended (no sneakers). Please feel free to call our guide Lesley (8046-4947; 13693361445) with particular questions about the walk. Suitable for beginner as well as more experienced hikers. We will be back to Eurovillage and River Garden area by 4 pm, so please bring your own lunch.