Click here for the main Shibanxi
Holiday 2009 page.
If you are familiar with the 2009 recommendations then read the More Hiking Round Bagou 2010
section (added 6th March 2010).
sketch map with clickable links appears in most of the linked pages - there
are a few extra walks described below beyond Jiaoba.
Many of my readers will have been to
Shibanxi more than once and will know that there are days when it is better to
park the cameras than fight the non-existent light. We all have our own
particular solution to the problem - this was our balcony at the end of our
And the best way to work up that thirst is to go hiking in the hills and see the real China at first hand. All
you need is at least one day since it last rained, an open mind, a couple of
bottles of water and a smile for when you need to ask the locals how to get
home. Here is an initial (graded) list of my suggestions, I would greatly
welcome suggestions from other visitors.
Mifeng to Caiziba - Fed up
with walking up the track to the horseshoe? Mr.
Chen, 'Mine Host' at Mifeng will show you the back path which is a
gentle walk through the rice paddies and probably quicker. And, if you
take a wrong turning, it doesn't matter because you will only end up on
the truck road from Yuejin to Caiziba. See if you can spot the old coal
mine workings on the way.
Jiaoba to Xianrenjiao - Fed up with walking through the
tunnels? Take the path up to the viewpoint above the big curve, bear left
on upwards and turn left past between the two houses past the other view
point. Continue along roughly parallel and above the railway before
descending to the concrete path which joins the railway after the second
tunnel. Not easy to work out in the opposite direction!
Bagou to Jiaoba - Got an extra
hour to spare to get to the big curve and fed up with the tunnels? See our
account of the Jiaoba Jaunt.
Bagou to Ma Miao - Ever
wondered how the trucks get to Bagou? Take the path down east out of Bagou
past the 1990s former school (now a chicken farm) and you can't go wrong.
If you get tired/bored then just retrace your steps or walk up another
valley to join the Mamio
Meander although eventually
it's a great day out. Click here
for more information on the Long March to Mamiao.
Caiziba to Jiaoba - Did you
ever wonder what happened in the deep gorge west of the railway? On the
truck road from
Caiziba village ignore the new road on the left and follow it past the school and down into the gorge. If in doubt turn left at the
two junctions (the roads to the right lead to various open and closed coal
mines). At the bottom stay on the road as it passes an open coal mine, it
is now only used by the bamboo collectors.
The road becomes a path - in 2010 the appearance of road
vehicles at Jiaoba suggest it has been extended up the valley - at the
site of another coal mine but is easily followed up the valley. Just follow
your nose and according to how you persevere, you will find yourself
climbing back to the railway either between the tunnels or just after the
second one. Coming from Jiaoba, it's much easier as if you turn left before
the first tunnel you can follow the path down and the route is self evident.
Best bring your swimming costume:
Caiziba/Mifeng to the 'Water
Heart Village' - one for the athletic culture vultures, see
our account, it can be combined with the Caiziba to Jiaoba walk above.
Chen, 'Mine Host' at Mifeng can show you this walk too.
Bagou to Huangdan - Ever
wondered what happened beyond Huangcun and its coal mines? This is a
significant all day hike but well worth the effort - see
Jiaoba to Huangcun - This one
is on our wish list, from Jiaoba, go down to the valley below and follow
it to the watershed. We have been told there is a path down to Huangcun...
More Hiking Round Bagou
I would hesitate to say that we have the hikes in this area
'cracked' but we now have an even better idea of the possibilities in the
Bagou area. Recommended new walks (added 13th March 2010) are:
For the masochists, you could probably do the entire
circuit of the ridge around Bagou in about five hours. I wouldn't fancy it
myself as there's not a single beer shop anywhere along the way...