Near and Away From Beijing: Golden Week Getaways II
    2012-09-20 14:54:16     CRIENGLISH.com      Web Editor: Duan
Living in pancake flat Beijing, it' easy to get the itch to stretch your legs. For those who are looking for something more, Lingshan Mountain is should definitely be in the running. It's Beijing's highest peak, and it doesn't fail to provide the stunning vistas worthy of that title.

As the national holiday of Golden Week races towards us, Beijingers brace themselves for the hordes of visitors who always accompany it. Chinese from the vast breadth of the country seize the one week holiday to visit the capital, adding a particular crush to local life. Beijingers also seize this time to escape from the grey confines of downtown and, you know, get reacquainted with Mother Nature.

CRI presents you with a handful of destinations where you can avoid most of the crowds, deeply inhale the fresh air, and slow down enough to fully appreciate autumn's onset.

The view from Lingshan Mountain are worthy of Beijing's highest peak. [Photo:CRIENGLISH.com/Williamwang]

Lingshan Mountain: The Highest of Beijing's Heights

by William Wang

Living in pancake flat Beijing, it' easy to get the itch to stretch your legs. Yes, Fragrant Hills is always within easy reach of downtown, but for those who are looking for something more, Lingshan Mountain is should definitely be in the running. It's Beijing's highest peak, and it doesn't fail to provide the stunning vistas worthy of that title.

Upon arriving at the base of the hike, visitors will quickly note the chairlift that disappears over the summit of a rounded hill not so far away. Many people have been deceived into thinking that that unimpressive height is the extent of the journey, whereas the true peak of Lingshan lies much further beyond.

The chairlift putters away, tugging people up the mountain at a leisurely pace. For others who are more inclined to commune with nature, a host of sturdy horses lie in wait, ready to navigate the way up or down the mountainside. Tibetan horse riders lead the horses up the slopes, and can also offer folklore tidbits. Prices may vary depending on distances covered, but the horses and their masters all work hard to make their living.

Like all of China's official "hikes", a staircase leads the way from the bottom to the top, so that even ladies in high heels stand a slim chance of attaining the peak (although this author highly recommends proper footwear).

Many hikers reject the staircase, opting to climb the horse trails that branch out to the right of the staircase. Some find the trails easier to climb than stairs, while others prefer the earthiness of navigating one's way up through a maze of roots, stones and piles of horse manure.

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