On Saturday, I met up with some other Beijingren to hike Dragon Cloud Mountain. The bus ride was about 2 1/2 hours so I had some time to listen to a couple NPR podcasts on the way while taking in the scenery outside the window.
The story behind Dragon Cloud Mountain (as I remember it):
A dragon lived in the heavens and came down to the mountain one day. He thought the scenery was so beautiful that he wanted to stay and help the villagers there. But the dragon also wanted to see all of China so he decided to have one of his nine sons stay at the mountain. This way, the dragon could always come back and visit his son. The son's name was Mr. Bai. Bai means 'white' in Chinese which is how the river at Dragon Cloud Mountain got its name - White River.
Some of our hike was on dirt trails, some on rocks, and some on metal paths stuck into the wall.
A kung-fu movie was filmed on this mountain and they decided to leave some of the set in place - a house and a fake tree.
Our local guide brought along his scythe to point out interesting things.
We also saw several creatures on this hike. I didn't take a picture of the spider that was as big as my palm or the cicada that was stuck in its web, but I did snap the snake and praying mantis.
After our snack break, we took off our shoes and socks and crossed the river. The water was about knee deep at the deepest and was a refreshing end to our hike.
After the river crossing, we walked through the village to have lunch at a local restaurant before heading back to Beijing. More photos from the hike here.
Also, we've had a few thunder and lightning storms since I've arrived back here. One night, the thunder was so loud and the lightning so bright that it woke me up. I took a little video but it doesn't quite show how crazy it was - especially being up on the 30th floor and seeing the lightning outside the window!