The village's location is breathtaking, surrounded by mountains, terraced orchards, and small temples. Helen, Nicki, Therese and I intended to spend the day hiking the area. After lunch at the highest spot in this sloping village, we asked for hike recommendations. Difficulty was no concern, as we all were craving some exercise. A five minute walk out the back of the village led to scrambling up the side of a mountain, an exhausting 30 minute ascent. Our reward was a panoramic view of the city and valley.
This took us to a dirt road which passed some mining sites, and these jolly guys riding comical three-wheelie cars.
... before entering peaceful plains, woods, gorges, a cave, and a tiny, decrepit, uninhabited town deep in the mountains. Our 2+ hour hike took us through some of what lies in the country beyond bustling Beijing, and reminds me how vast China is. Although Cuandixia is a popular day trip destination, and a *must see* in most guide books, we didn't see another person until we emerged from the wilderness once again. After being in Beijing so long, Ace and I just babbled on about how we were reminded of Colorado. It was stupendous. The only thing it lacked was a cool stream, but it's just too dry in the spring. I will be returning in the fall, no doubt.