China Environmental and Adventure Photographer || 探险中国 || Speak Chinese to Protect Nature @kyleobermann

Updates

The price to drive to the start of the trek is now 200RMB. Also, the hike into the first campsite, if you aren't feeling the altitude or taking your time, is more like 45minutes to one hour.

Great Hike

This is a really nice hike, and a much better option than the other popular Great Wall site, Badaling. To get there by public transportation from Beijing, take Bus 916快 from Dongzhimen station to Huairou Beida Jie (怀柔北大街) where you should easily be able to find a driver to take you to the ticket entrance of the wall for 20-30RMB. Beijing has tons of traffic, so I'd say be prepared to spend 3 hours one way on transportation on any normal day. Total ticket price we paid for the entrance ticket and cable car up was 160RMB/person.

Poor Photography Angle

Awesome waterfall, but access was disappointingly restricted by a boardwalk and gate that does not let you go closer to the waterfall or on the shore for a better angle to shoot!

Easy Hike

Pretty easy and quick hike, took us about 1 hour to make it to the top! Would make a fun and challenging trail run, the path is in great condition!

Sunrise/Sunset

Catching sunrise and sunset here is really nice! As dawn breaks you get to see the sun light up the canyon walls and the bats come out to feed! But be wary, after the sun rise and the bats go away the biting flies come out!

Good Views, Take Scott's Track down

The views on top are pretty good, and it makes a great introductory hike to NZ tramping. The last 100m-200m to the summit are quite intimidating with some very narrow parts and drop offs that would not be good for an inexperienced hiker afraid of heights . Don't think of attempting in bad weather. If you have another day and more experience, consider descending that back side and connecting this with the Crow Valley. Since Scott's track is less steep, I'd suggest taking it down so it's easier on the knees. The views are better as well.

Amazing Lesser Known Hut

This hut is one of my favorites in New Zealand. Absolutely spectacular views! As you plan your trip here, make sure you leave time to climb to the summit as this adventure suggests and also circle across the scree to the glacial lake at the foot of the glacier on Mt. Armstrong! Make sure you have a good weather gap. If it rains and the Haast River floods you will either be stuck on the mountain or not able to start ascending it.

Great for the Beginning

It's certainly a great experience to get along the surface of the water and view the karst peaks from below close up. However, after about 30 minutes the wander starts to wear on you and the loud humming of the diesel-engine boat really detracts from the natural and surreal feel of the river. It's also worth noting that as it is illegal for them to use bamboo for rafts now these boats are only made out of plastic that is shaped to look like bamboo. Another option you could do is take the bus to Xingping and then the next day take a boat 1hr or so up the river and hike back to Xingping

Stunning for the First Time

The size of this thing is massive. It's (obviously) a must see in Beijing. My one tip would be to make sure you also look out for and explore the side passageways and courtyards which deviate off to the east and west of the main halls which tourists normally see. Some of these side courtyards are quite majestic and offer you a space to get away from the crowds. There is also now a quota for the amount of people allowed to visit each day, so try to go early.

Worth it!

This is a little more "out there" for non-Chinese speaking travelers in China but definitely worth the iconic views! For a clear sunset/sunrise it's simply amazing. For photographers, I'd suggest going in winter when they have not planted the rice yet (Jan-Feb, although avoid the weeks around Chinese New Year). This way you can get the famous "glass like" pictures of the sky and clouds reflecting upon the unplanted clear waters of the terraces. Once the rice is planted it is just not the same. The only other easily accessible similar views in China that would rival these are probably the Yuanyang Rice Terraces in Yunnan Province.

OK Experience

You won't escape the tourists crowds of Hong Kong, but it is cool to see the Buddha if that's what you're in to. Nothing else like it in the West. If you don't want to hike or pay for the cable car there is an air conditioned bus leaving from the Tung Chung MTR stop as well, No. 23. It takes about 45 minutes but you get to see a lot more of the island. I didn't spend much time at the Big Buddha myself, but I'd recommend pairing it with a hike up Lan Tau Peak (HK's second highest) to make it a worthwhile day! The trail up Lan Tau Peak begins in the same area as the Big Buddha (post forthcoming...)

Ridiculous Hike, Awesome Views

This hut really is spectacular; it easily lives up to its name as one of the best in New Zealand. However, the hike to get there is quite a slog. It's about 22km up from Klondyke Corner if you beeline straight across the Waimakariri River which is much much quicker and easier than taking the high, bumpy, and dry(ish) O'Malley's Track up the valley if the Waimakariri is high. However, if you do want to beeline up the Waimakariri River valley give up on the idea of dry shoes. It is also probably not worth your time to change shoes every river crossing since, if you take the most direct line, there are about 15-20 of them (however the water can feel quite nice on a hot day and it gets quite enjoyable after the first dip!) It takes about 3-4 hours from Klondyke corner to the Carrington Hut this way. From Carrington you can then slog another 3-4 hours across rock and through shoulder high scrub to reach Barker Hut but I don't recommend it - spend the extra day, stay at Carrington Hut the first night, and then make the trip to Barker on the morning of the second day and spend the afternoon exploring the beautiful ridges and glaciers around Barker - trust me, you don't want to arrive exhausted and have to leave the next day. Use your third day to hike out from Barker back to Klondyke Corner. Finally, some last thoughts: this hut rocks, but the effort required to get there should give you pause if you're on a tight time schedule (consider the Brewester Hut in Haast for a easier option), you need to have advanced route finding experience, you need to have a clear weather window, and for bonus points try starting the hike by with a summit of Avalanche Peak and then drop down its west scree face into the Crow Valley below (details on the DOC website). Here's some more information on the route to Barker Hut (although unless you have superhuman strength don't pay attention to the times... http://tramper.nz/1561/)

Great Hike

This is a must do if in Big Bend. Emory Peak is the highest peak in the Chisos Mountains, the peak is 7,825ft.

Favorite Hike in Texas

This is absolutely worth it and a little know gem in Texas - much less busy than Big Bend. I'd suggest doing a hike to the top of the peak to catch sunrise if you can! There is also some primitive campsites on the way up to the top of the peak. Make sure you bring plenty of water.

Awesome Stop

This is a great stop, if you decided to stop and sled the dunes make sure you wear sunglasses (or goggles) to save the pain of getting tons of sand in your eyes!

Sweet Hike - OK Hut

This is a great, tough hike and only gets better as you go up and have to scramble more! During sunset the color on Mt. Aspiring in the distance is awesome. However, the hut's views are much worse than many other huts in NZ and was disappointing given how amazing the views were on the way up.

Great Hike - Side Trips Worth While

This trek is not as challenging as many others in NZ, but the views are spectacular. It's definitely worth the side trip to Iris Burn Falls and also the cave near Luxemore Hut. When descending into Iris Burn, the trail has some of the most beautiful, moss-covered old-growth forest I encountered during my five months in NZ. The way out from Iris Burn to the car park is a long day but you have the option of breaking it up at the Moturau hut in-between. Compared to the other lesser-known, less expensive hut routes however, I wouldn't recommend paying peak season price for this route.

One of my favorite places in Texas.

Incredible geological structure. There are campsites at the base with water access and primitive camping around other parts. There are also many trails going all around these massive rocks that offer some great running!

Great Exploring Close To Austin

This is a spectacular getaway not so far from Austin. Because Texas is often in drought I recommend checking to see if the falls are flowing in advance online or by calling the park. Also be aware of going here when rain is in the area as it is prone to flash flood.

Local Tips

Once at the top head down to your left and stand on the stone picnic table (and maybe put your tripod on it) for great sunset/sunrise views of downtown. For a romantic and great get away, head down right (north) from the summit and sneak away on one of the tiny paths leading off towards the cliff on left for some secluded and spectacular views!