Routes: Badaling Expressway – Beijing-Zhang highway – Zhang City exit – Wuyi Road toll station – Wuyi Road – North Outer Ring – 406 County Road – Shizhuizi Country – Yima Town – Shancha Village.
I had planed to take pictures with the northern characteristics of dry-style terraces during my short weekend. We departed on Friday, and thinking that the time was enough, so we stayed in Zhangjiakou and had a sound sleep.
The next day, we headed for the Shancha Village from Zhangjiakou, but the road condition was so poor that we needed to be very careful. The only accommodation was the small Longquan Holiday Village for non-development. This is one of the key poverty counties, so you can imagine the accommodation condition is not very well.
Shancha Village is connected to a prairie at Zhangbei County. It has an elevation of 1,600 meters, surrounded by mountains. There is winding road, tall standing windmill, layers of terraces and larch dancing with the wind. September is the primetime here, and the varying sizes of terraces are dyed with a variety of colorful grain flowers. Oat, wheat, potatoes, beans, and flax bloom with brilliant color.
The weather was bad that day, and it began to rain in the afternoon. I drove around in order to find a suitable location to take pictures. There was dirt road and paved road, every cross would lead to some block mountain or village, and there would be some unexpected views. The locals were very simple and friendly, and they would warmly greet to me and show me the direction.
Despite the rain dropped on my face from time to time, I could still capture a glimmer of light from the thick clouds, which projected on the haystack. The ditch extended straight forward under my foot.
Clouds in the sky dotted the terraced fields, flowing, and running forward, and I was also holding the camera to take these beautiful pictures. The grandpa was the first person I shot today, he led a mule, and this mule was particularly easy to feed and work hard. The locals had a special love for the cattle, whenever talking about the mule, they would just like talking one of members of their family, happy and proud. You can imagine in such a barren land, people mainly rely on livestock farming, what’s the life they live?
On the way, I encountered this Feng grandpa. At that moment he was gathering oat in the fields. He patiently taught me how to use the sickle, and let me have a try. This old man did not take any picture in his life, when he heard that I would send him the pictures to him, he told me his address happily in a dialect I did not know.
Many towering wind turbines spread along the hillside, filled with people’s sight. The wind on the peak made whistling sound, and the large windmill was also hard to swing with the wind. On the way back, I was surprised to discover that this small hill, where I could overlook the colorful red roof village in rows of terraces. It was close to noon, I could even smell the rice fragrant from curl smoke. There was a young man sitting on the hill, looking at the crops, full of the joy of harvest.
Passing a farm, we found two grandmothers, wearing a blue scarf, and smiled to me. The left was 79-year-old, the right one was 83 years old. Their husbands had passed away, and the children worked outside home, the two help each other. They saw the film I shot and though it was good, then they called their neighbors to come out to take pictures. Thus you can see this grandpa and other grandmas.
In this picture, the mule was pulling roller, leveling the land, and the farmer was holding a ladle of water and sprinkled to the ground from time to time, to make the land hard and dry grain.
I found this poppy grown in the crevice, beautifully display of its last and best youth. I lied on the side of the road, and quietly took a picture.
After finish shooting terraced fields, I directly head for the Prince Lake without lunch. Prince Lake was a small place in the northwest of Shancha Village, and could not be found by GPS. There was absolutely no tourist, only a few locals fishing.
To treasure this rare good weather, I droved to the next place: Huapi Ling. Huapi Ling is located in the east of Zhangbei County, 90 kilometers north from Zhangbei County. The main peak of Huapi Ling has an elevation of 2128 m, eighty meters higher than Mount Tai. The average annual temperature here is only 4 degrees, and it is 15 degrees in July. Summer is the best season. The back of the mountain is full of lush trees and all kinds of wild flowers: yellow flowers, Golden Lotus, wild rose, peony flower, chrysanthemum, mushrooms and other three hundred kinds of wild plants over.
You don’t need to buy ticket here, because there is really nothing to see, only several fairy tale cottages and layer fields in the distance. It was nearly five o’clock. The last light of sunset fell on the ridge.
Zhangjiakou terrace is a place with the story, the scenery just as people here, true and without repair.
Hebei Travel Guide: http://www.tourdechina.cn/ChinaGuide/Hebei/