In our new city, new country, working at new jobs and meeting new people, Scotty and I often find we are overwhelmed by long work hours and the struggle to fit more than 24 hours worth of things into a day. On top of that, the Beijing pollution this Sunday was nearly at AQI 400 (“Hazardous”), and all physical activity outdoors was strongly discouraged by the US Embassy’s air quality website. For context, today Toronto’s air quality reads in at AQI 14.
So this past weekend, we ran away to the mountains.
Our trip was a guided tour of Double Stone Village, Chuandixia and Baiyu. All three are ancient rural villages in the mountains west of Beijing. What’s more, in the winter season very few people sign up to go hiking in the cold. But our lovely guide (Sonia) loves to hike, so she went anyway even though it was just the two of us!
I am incredibly glad we went on this trip. I couldn’t believe how surprised I was when I stepped out of the van and heard… quiet. Birds chirping. Nothing. The cold just served to wake me up, and the air was crisp and clear. In Beijing, I’ve gotten used to getting short of breath more quickly than I would normally… and on this trip, I walked and climbed for hours without feeling tired!
Here are a few shots from our explorations.