央视国际 2003年05月13日 10:09
The slopes and valleys around Beijing provide an inviting escape from the congestion and concrete of the metropolitan area. Nearly every weekend since August of 2001， 40－to－50 people take advantage of these natural settings to go hiking. They breathe the clean mountain air and purge their lungs of the polluted city. Foreigners comprise the majority of this group of intrepid hikers. They all belong to a club known as the BJ Hikers. A British man named Gary Pinegar and his Chinese wife Huilin are the founders of this club.
Gary's beauty salon is in the Holiday Inn Lido Hotel in the northeastern part of Beijing. Having been in the business for more than ten years， Gary has built a solid reputation in Beijing as a hairdresser. But his real love is the outdoors －－ cycling and hiking. These are common topics of discussion with his customers.
Ten years ago， when Gary was working in the China World Hotel， he met Huilin. A native of Beijing， Huilin was a painter at the time they met. Gary said he was immediately attracted to her.
A common interest bound them together. They joined a cycling club primarily for foreigners in Beijing. In 1992， with two other friends， Gary and Huilin embarked on an adventurous and arduous bicycle journey from Beijing to London. In one year， they traveled across 20 countries. Each said they learned a lot from their experiences on the trip that helped strengthen their relationship.
Both Gary and Huilin have had a lifelong love of sports and nature. Beijing was getting more and more congested， so their solution was to explore nearby rural areas. Each week， they would drive out of the city in search of hiking trails.
Huilin and Gary would time their hikes and draw maps for future reference. They decided to share their love of nature with others. They believe that people who like hiking tend to be good－natured， interesting people. For Huilin and Gary， hiking is more than just exercise.
In August of 2001， Huilin and Gary formally established the club and named it BJ Hikers. The concept proved extremely popular with their friends and others who heard about the trips through the expat network. Nearly every weekend， Gary and Huilin make the arrangements for a hiking trip into the mountains.
For foreigners who stay in Beijing， the club provides a convenient method for them to hike， offering them an access to the beautiful， natural scenery around Beijing. Most of the members are accustomed to hiking in their own countries. But they had no idea how to arrange hikes in China. Transportation， language and trails can be big problems. So Huilin and Gary do the organizational work， and everyone else just gets on the bus … and hikes.
This is really a good exercise.
Especially when the city is getting so crowded.
After working hard for the whole week in the city， the hikers get an attitude adjustment in the countryside. Fresh air， bubbling streams and green trees refresh the soul. And they commune with old friends while making new friends along the trails. Sometimes， hikers even experience the unexpected.
Even the snake seemed to have no intention of disturbing the peace of the group. It soon disappeared into the bushes after checking out the invaders.
Another big attraction for hikers is the chance to meet local villagers and learn about their lives. And the villagers seem genuinely interested in the hikers. These mutual exchanges， frequently with Huilin serving as interpreter， are often the highlights of the trips for hikers.
At the end of a long day of hiking， Huilin is ready with refreshments. Tired and foot－weary after hours of hiking the slopes and valleys， this is a time to share stories of the day and commiserate. And， frequently， hikers have kind words for their host.
The hike is over for this day. But the memories of villages and fields， trees and streams， tired muscles and mellow conversations will sustain the hikers for another day and another trail……