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Stepping it up with Beijing hikers

By William Wang (CRI Online)

11:10, May 14, 2013

Five pagodas and two stupas at Yinshan Mountain’s Fa Hua ruins. ( Wang)

The claustrophobia of life in the grey capital has been known to suffocate the outdoorsy types who end up living in Beijing. But on a clear day, the mountains just beyond still coax and call, their little explored ridges and trails beckoning some away. I'm not talking about the Badaling and Mutianyu Great Wall sections, rammed with tourists. Somewhere out there are actual escapes, quiet valleys to clamber and peaks to summit.

Since 2001, Beijing Hikers has been organizing multiple trips every week to hiking destinations which would be tricky for the average Joe to discover. In addition, some particularly unique trips help fill the roster such as a hike by the light of the full moon, or a winter river hike where at points fish can be seen through meter thick ice.

Last Wednesday, I joined the group to check out their Silver Pagoda Loop, a nine kilometer ramble past two towns, a quarry, a Buddhist shrine and an impressive series of six-century-old Buddhist stupas.

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